Southside Recipe: How to Make Al Capone's Favorite Cocktail
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Southside Recipe: The Minty Gin Drink Believed to Be Al Capone’s Favorite Cocktail

This sweet-and-sour cocktail is made with gin, mint, lime and simple syrup. While its exact place of birth remains uncertain, the Southside is popularly associated with Al Capone. (Photo: Marker Photography/Pixabay)

The Southside is a Prohibition-era cocktail that effortlessly combines gin, mint, simple syrup and citrus. Born out of the need to mask the harsh taste of homemade bathtub gin, this classic drink’s two most popular origin stories suggest it was first made in either Chicago’s South Side district or the Southside Sportsmen’s Club on Long Island.

Beyond its uncertain beginnings, there’s popular speculation that the drink was favored by famous bootlegger Al Capone, whose influence extended over Chicago’s South Side. According to Mental Floss, Capone’s gang regularly consumed a harsher gin that needed additional sweetening to make it enjoyable, leading to the preference for the Southside cocktail.

Other common interpretations of the minty drink include the Southside Fizz, which integrates a hearty splash of soda water, and the International Bartenders Association’s version, which suggests adding egg white.

Let’s make a Southside!

Southside Cocktail Recipe

  • 2 oz Gin (recommendations here)
  • 3/4 oz Fresh lime juice
  • 1/2 oz Simple syrup (1:1 ratio of sugar to water)
  • Small handful of fresh mint leaves
  • Garnish: Mint sprig

In a shaker, muddle the fresh mint leaves gently to release their oils and aroma. Then, add the gin, fresh lime juice and simple syrup to the shaker and fill it with ice. Shake well for about 15 seconds before straining the mixture into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with a sprig of mint and enjoy immediately.

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Candie Getgen is the managing editor for Gin Raiders. Before immersing herself in the world of spirits journalism, Candie has been many things: a bartender, a literary journal editor, an English teacher — and even a poet. Now, Candie shares her passion for gin with the world and hopes to help others fall in love with it, too (if they haven't already!). When not writing, Candie enjoys sipping a Negroni while drawing or relaxing by the pool with a campy mystery novel.