Southside cocktail recipe & history

Garnish with a mint sprig.


History of the Southside cocktail

Similar to many other cocktails, the Southside has a history shrouded in mystery. It can be difficult to pinpoint all the details about its origins, especially regarding vintage, prohibition-era cocktails. It is also interesting that the drink became popular in Chicago during prohibition. Al Capone and his gang controlled the illegal alcohol business on the southern side of Chicago, while another gang controlled the northern side. The gangsters in the northern part of the city had access to superior spirits. They drank a gin that was quite mellow and supposedly pretty good, which was well suited to a cocktail with ginger ale –  a cocktail known as the gin buck. Gin smuggled in by Al Capone’s gang was notably harsher and less pleasant, so they mixed it with mint, lime and sugar to mask its harsh taste. 

Creating cocktails with it, therefore, required more ingredients, such as lemon and sugar. This cocktail became very popular, and Al Capone and his associates called it the Southside.



The Southside cocktail recipe is simple and easy to make, but there are a few variations you can try out if you want to spice things up. Try substituting one of the ingredients with something else. For example, if you like your drinks sweeter, add more simple syrup or grenadine syrup instead of lemon juice. If you want something more bitter, try adding soda water or tonic water. You can also experiment with different types of gin – there are many different kinds on the market. 

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