Southside Cocktail

Meet the sophisticated Southside Cocktail, a sweet summer sipper that exudes style. With botanical gin, zesty lime juice and fresh mint, you’ll love this elegant libation.

A clear cocktail in a coupe glass garnished with a mint leaf, with a cocktail shaker and more mint leaves in the background on a white surface.

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Southside Cocktail recipe

Every year, my garden overrunneth with fresh mint. And every year, I try to think of new things to do with it. I can only make so many mint juleps and mojitos before I get tired of them!

This year, I’m adding the Southside cocktail into the mix. This drink combines London Dry gin with mint and lime for a refreshing libation.

It’s easy to make with just a few ingredients and it’s a great way to enjoy gin in the springtime. If you’re a fan of both gimlets and mojitos, you’ll love this cocktail — it is like a marriage between the two.

Learn about its origins and get tips for crafting your own perfect version at home, whether you’re a seasoned mixologist or a cocktail newbie.

More gimlet recipes: French GimletElderflower Rose GimletVodka Gimlet

Overhead view of a fresh mint garnished cocktail in a textured glass, with a cocktail shaker and mint leaves scattered on a marble surface.

Why you’ll love this recipe

You’ll love this easy mint gimlet recipe, for a few reasons:

  • It’s a great way to use up that leftover gin in your bar cabinet!
  • Mint, citrus and herbal gin make for a herbaceous combo.
  • This drink is easy to whip up with just four ingredients.
A hand garnishing a clear cocktail with a sprig of mint in a coupe glass, set against a white background.

What is a Southside cocktail?

The Southside drink is a classic cocktail made with fresh mint, gin, lime juice and simple syrup. Served in a coupe glass, it tastes like a mint gimlet.

Like many cocktails, its history is a little murky. Some say the name hails from Chicago’s South Side neighborhood or the Southside Sportsmen’s Club on Long Island.

A recipe for the “South Side Fizz” was first published in Hugo Ensslin’s 1916 book, “Recipes for Mixed Drinks,” featuring for gin, lemon juice, lime juice, sugar, mint and club soda.

Liquor.com reports that the drink was popularized by the 21 Club in New York City, which opened in 1922.

Today, some recipes include lemon juice while others include lime — a nod to Ensslin’s legacy. The club soda isn’t added in modern renditions, either.

A cocktail in a stemmed glass garnished with fresh mint leaves, with a blurred background showing more mint and a gold cocktail shaker.

Tools & glassware

To make this drink at home, you will need:

  • Cocktail shaker, for preparing the drink
  • Muddler or the back of a spoon, for mashing the mint leaves
  • Hawthorne strainer or fine-mesh sieve, for removing bits of mint and citrus pulp
  • Coupe glass, for serving
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Ingredients

Here’s what you’ll need to grab at the grocery store to make this recipe:

  • Gin: London Dry gin works well for its crisp and botanical notes, which complement the fresh flavor of the mint. I used Hendrick’s Gin here — I love its botanical flavor for herbal-forward drinks like the Southside.
  • Mint leaves: Make sure to choose fresh, aromatic mint leaves for the best flavor. Save the prettiest sprigs for the garnish, though!
  • Simple syrup: This easy syrup can be made by combining equal parts water and sugar. You could also take a shortcut and make mint syrup, but you will lose some of the freshness that muddling brings to this recipe.
  • Lime juice: Fresh juice is best if you have the time, but the bottled concentrate will work in a pinch.
  • Orange bitters: Orange bitters add depth, complexity and a touch of sweetness to the cocktail, complementing the tart citrus notes from the lime juice.

Garnishes

The Southside is a simple cocktail with a simple garnish: Fresh mint. Finish off the drink with a mint leaf floating on top or tuck a sprig on the edge of the glass.

Two glasses of a pale yellow cocktail garnished with mint leaves, accompanied by a cocktail strainer and a jigger on a white surface.

Variations & substitutions

Care to mix things up? Try one of these variations:

Lemon Southside: My version below uses lime juice, but you can try it with lemon instead.

Simplified Southside: Instead of lime juice and simple syrup, use sour mix or margarita mix. You can make a batch of homemade sour mix to keep on hand, especially if you make these regularly or plan to serve a crowd.

Eastside Cocktail: This spin on the Southside cocktail adds muddled cucumber into the mix for a truly refreshing drink.

Southside Mocktail: In place of the gin, add a 1:1 zero-proof spirit that emulates herbal gin, such as Ritual gin alternative or Seedlip Garden 108.

How to make a Southside cocktail

Here’s how to make this easy Southside cocktail recipe:

A hand placing fresh mint leaves into an empty textured glass on a white surface.
Pouring a clear liquid into a glass with ice cubes, over a white background with fresh mint leaves at the bottom.

Begin by washing the mint leaves. Clap them between your hands to release their essential oils before adding them to the cocktail shaker

Pour the gin over the mint leaves in the shaker. Using a muddler or the back of a spoon, gently crush and bruise the mint leaves against the bottom of the shaker. This helps release the essential oils and flavors from the mint, infusing them into the gin for a refreshing taste.

A hand pouring a yellow liquid into a glass filled with ice cubes, against a white background.
Pouring a clear liquid into a glass with ice cubes, set against a white background. fresh mint leaves are visible in the foreground.

Allow the gin and mint mixture to rest for a few minutes, allowing the flavors to meld together.

Next, add the simple syrup and freshly squeezed lime juice to the shaker.

Fill the shaker with ice cubes and shake it up. The ice will chill the ingredients and help dilute the cocktail slightly, balancing the flavors.

A cocktail shaker with a golden top filled with a clear yellow liquid, displayed on a white background.

Strain the cocktail mixture into a chilled coupe glass, using a Hawthorne strainer or fine-mesh sieve to catch any small mint leaves or ice chips. Add a couple of dashes of orange bitters to the shaker.

Finally, garnish it with a fresh mint sprig. Spank the mint sprig gently between your palms before garnishing to release its aromatic oils, adding an extra layer of aroma to the drink.

make it a mocktail

Want to make it non-alcoholic? Here’s what to substitute:

  • Simply swap the gin 1:1 for a non-alcoholic spirit. I like Ritual gin alternative or Seedlip Garden 108.*
  • Or omit the gin entirely — substitute with a little more sour mix.
A glass of clear mint cocktail garnished with fresh mint leaves, presented in an elegant stem glass on a bright background.

Tips & tricks

Here are some tips and tricks for making this recipe:

  • Use fresh ingredients. Freshly squeezed lime juice and muddled mint leaves will give this cocktail the most refreshing flavor.
  • Don’t over-muddle the mint. Aim to bruise the leaves gently to release their aromatic oils without pulverizing them.
  • Give it some time! Allowing the gin and mint mixture to rest for a few minutes before adding the remaining ingredients gives the flavors extra time to meld together, enhancing the overall taste of the drink.

Food pairings

These elegant cocktails are delightful for a dinner party or as a Friday night porch sipper.

Serve it at a gathering alongside other springy dishes like mint mozzarella melon salad or a simple crostini.

It’s also a great choice for a dinner party. Enjoy them with salty appetizers like a cheese board or some baked brie.

FAQ

Can you make the Southside a mocktail?

Yes you can! You can either omit the alcohol entirely or substitute a zero-proof spirit for the gin. Ritual gin alternative and Seedlip Garden 108 would be perfect here.

What kind of glass do you serve it in?

A coupe glass is standard for the Southside cocktail, but you could use a martini glass (without ice) or rocks glass (with ice) instead.

More gin cocktails

— Did you make this recipe? —

Please leave a ★★★★★ review or comment below.

A glass of clear mint cocktail garnished with fresh mint leaves, presented in an elegant stem glass on a bright background.

Southside Cocktail

Yield: 1 drink
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 0 minutes
Total Time: 5 minutes
Shake up a Southside Cocktail, a zesty and minty fresh drink that exudes sophistication.
5 from 1 vote
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ingredients

  • 2 ounces London Dry gin
  • 8 leaves fresh mint
  • 1 ounce simple syrup
  • 1 ounce lime juice
  • 2 dashes orange bitters
  • mint sprig for garnish

instructions

  • In a cocktail shaker, muddle together gin and mint leaves. Allow to rest for a few minutes.
  • Add simple syrup and lime juice to the shaker. Fill the shaker with ice and shake vigorously.
  • Strain the mixture into a chilled coupe glass. Add a couple dashes of orange bitters.
  • Garnish with a mint sprig. Serve and enjoy responsibly.

notes

Don’t over-muddle the mint. Aim to bruise the leaves gently to release their aromatic oils without pulverizing them. 
Give it some time! Allowing the gin and mint mixture to rest for a few minutes before adding the remaining ingredients gives the flavors extra time to meld together, enhancing the overall taste of the drink.
You can use 2 ounces of sour mix instead of the simple syrup and lime juice. 

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nutrition information

Yield: 1 drink

amount per serving:

Serving: 6ounces Calories: 224kcal Carbohydrates: 24g Protein: 0.1g Fat: 0.02g Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.01g Sodium: 18mg Potassium: 54mg Fiber: 0.1g Sugar: 21g Vitamin A: 31IU Vitamin C: 9mg Calcium: 9mg Iron: 1mg
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