The beauty of this recipe is the simplicity of the South Side. And the “texture” that you get from using fresh lemons, added to the punch of fresh mint.
There is much variation in the exact recipe for a South Side, or Southside, depending on where you look. Some recipes call for citrus, some specify lemon juice, some suggest lime juice. I learned this drink with lemon, which is how it’s prepared here. For the lime version, I refer you to the Key West Side, which is specifically delicious if you use key limes.
But lemons here. And for your choice of gin, you absolutely can’t go wrong with Tanqueray’s Rangpur. Yes, it’s a citrus gin. And it’s lovely and smooth and part mandarin and part exotic citron. It’s perfect for the lemon and mint.
The South Side
- 2 Oz. Gin
- 1 Oz. Simple syrup
- Half a lemon, sliced up
- Some mint – start with about 6 or 7 leaves.
- Garnish with some more fresh mint.
- In your mixing glass, combine your lemon slices and mint.
- Muddle lemon and mint, then add ice, gin, and simple syrup.
- Shake well, and double strain into your glass.
- Top off with some fresh mint.
Pro tips for making the best South Side.
Don’t skip on the fresh lemon here. About half a lemon will do, and you can leave the skin on as you muddle to infuse some of that intense lemon flavor. The oils from the lemon peel really make this drink what it is.
Also – a note about the mint. Once you muddle it, the flavor can get INTENSE. Use more or less mint, skip the muddling of the mint, or use a mint simple syrup to impart some of the mint flavor for this drink.
Don’t worry about the seeds when you muddle, when you strain your drink, those will be caught. Using a fine-mesh strainer takes care of that. You can also double strain, using a Hawthorne strainer on your strainer, and pouring into the fine mesh strainer.
Make it a fizz. If you skip the coupe glass and want to make your cocktail a bit more bubbly, use a collins glass and just add some soda. Think of it as a minty Tom Collins.