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The Southside cocktail is an easy and refreshing gin drink made with mint, lemon and lime: think of it like a gin mojito!

Southside cocktail
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Every time we make another cocktail, I say it’s our new favorite. But this one really is our new favorite! Meet the Southside cocktail. It’s minty, fresh, and botanical, made with lemon, lime, and gin. It’s sweetened just enough: crisp, cool and refreshing. It’s perfect for sipping on a cocktail night with friends, or an afternoon cocktail on the patio. Alex and I recently made them for cocktail night with some dear friends, and they got a chorus of “Wows!” (thanks, Lauren!). Really: there’s no better time to make yourself a Southside than now! Ready to get started?

What’s a Southside cocktail?

A Southside is a classy cocktail made with mint, lemon, lime, and gin. The best way to describe it? A Mojito with gin! It’s also similar to a Tom Collins, but it’s not carbonated and has lime and mint. The oldest known printed recipe called “Southside” was from 1917. This classic cocktail is on the list of International Bartender Association’s IBA official cocktails, meaning it has an official definition: Here’s exactly what’s in a Southside cocktail:

  • Gin
  • Lime juice (or both lemon and lime)
  • Mint
  • Simple syrup or maple syrup
Southside Fizz

Add soda water = Southside Fizz!

A fun variation on the Southside is the Southside Fizz! All you’ve got to do is add soda water, and you’ve got a whole new drink. This version is ultra refreshing and bubbly. Adding the soda water also waters down the alcohol a bit, so it’s more suitable for daytime sipping as a brunch drink.

Another variation? Try the Sake Southside Cocktail, a spin with this iconic Japanese rice wine.

How the Southside got its name

There are so many intriguing cocktail names: if you’re like us, you’ll want to know where they come from! (For example: GreyhoundSalty DogHanky Panky… ) There are a few theories on the Southside cocktail: here are the most prominent (source):

  • Some people say the name came from the Southside Sportsmen’s Club on Long Island.
  • A more interesting theory is that the term refers to the South Side of Chicago. It may have been a favorite of Al Capone, whose gang dominated the South Side!
Southside cocktail

How to muddle mint

This Southside cocktail requires muddling the mint before making the drink. Muddling is gently mashing herbs or fruits to release their juices. This helps the flavors incorporate better. There are a few tips to the right way to muddle mint:

  • Step 1: Place the mint leaves in the bottom of a cocktail shaker. If you don’t have one, you can use a large metal cup or bowl.
  • Step 2: Using a wooden cocktail muddler or unfinished wooden spoon, gently mash the mint a few times to release the juices. The key to muddling is a light touch, so don’t go overboard.
How to muddle mint
Here’s right way to muddle mint

What type of gin should I buy?

Use the highest quality gin you can for this Southside cocktail. Here’s the key: The better the gin, the better the drink. The easiest way to tell if a gin is high quality? Don’t buy the cheapest gin you can find. Invest in a mid-price range gin: the drink will only taste as good as the gin you invest in! You could also be on the lookout for local gin, if you have distilleries in your area. (Our favorite is 8th Day Distillery in Indianapolis.)

Smack the mint garnish!

For the garnish for this Southside cocktail, you’ll smack the mint leaves before adding them to the drink. Wait, smack it? Here’s the thing: Giving the mint leaf a gentle tap between your hands releases the essential oils in the mint. This gives the drink a much more herb-forward flavor! It’s perfect for garnishes in drinks like this one, or a Mojito or Basil Gimlet. Here’s more about smacking herbs for cocktails.

Bottle of gin

When to serve a Southside

The Southside cocktail is crisp, cool, refreshing and minty. It’s perfect for sipping as a:

  • Poolside, lakeside or beach drink
  • Happy hour drink
  • Dinner party drink
  • Summer patio drink
  • Late night drinks drink
  • Guys or girls night drink
  • Cocktail hour drink
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Southside cocktail

Southside Cocktail

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4 from 1 review

  • Author: Sonja Overhiser
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 0 minutes
  • Total Time: 5 minutes
  • Yield: 1 drink 1x


The Southside cocktail is an easy and refreshing gin drink made with mint, lemon and lime: think of it like a gin mojito!


  • 6 mint leaves
  • 2 ounces (4 tablespoons) gin
  • ½ ounce (1 tablespoon) lime juice
  • ½ ounce (1 tablespoon) lemon juice*
  • ½ ounce (1 tablespoon) simple syrup or maple syrup
  • For the garnish: Lemon twist, mint leaves


  1. Add the mint leaves to a cocktail shaker and muddle them.
  2. Add the gin, lemon juice, lime juice and syrup to cocktail shaker. Fill it with ice and shake until cold.
  3. Strain the drink into chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with an additional mint leaf (smack it between your hands to release the oils) and a lemon twist.


*You can also drop the lemon and do 1 ounce (2 tablespoons) lime juice total.

  • Category: Drink
  • Method: Shaken
  • Cuisine: American
  • Diet: Vegan

About the authors

Sonja & Alex

Hi, we’re Alex and Sonja Overhiser, married cookbook authors, food bloggers, and recipe developers. We founded A Couple Cooks to share fresh, seasonal recipes for memorable kitchen moments! Our recipes are made by two real people and work every time.

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  1. Sara says:

    Added a little more sugar syrup and was much nicer. Tasted quite gin heavy to start with

  2. Alex M says:

    Way too tart at first, but doubled the simple syrup for a total of 1 oz and the result was smoother, while still retaining the sharpness of the lemon and lime