The Origins Of The South Side.
The most popular origin story for the south side is named after Chicago’s Southside and was invented to mask the poor quality of the prohibition-era gin. This history is gripping because it ties the south side to famous prohibition mobster Al Capone who famously supplied Chicago with his “bathtub gin.” Unfortunately, this story is most likely more fun than it is true. Every city has a southside area, and the canon version of this cocktail from the Club 21 is located in lower Manhattan. So is the south side’s name referring to the Southside of Manhattan or Chicago? Who knows. Was it invented in Chicago and then popularized in New York.
To give extra weight that it is from New York, the oldest printed recipe I could find for this cocktail comes from the 1946 Stock Club Bar Book by Lucius Beebe. Their recipe is essentially a gin mojito identical to the Bar La Florida’s Mojito #2 recipe from their 1935 book. Both even serve the drink in a highball glass with ice. Granted, the south side fizz is a regular collins style cocktail, so it’s not unreasonable to think that two people just happened to come up with each drink independently of the other. I did not find this cocktail in any books coming out of Chicago in the 1930s or 1940s. I may not have checked all of them, but I matched some major ones and did not find a South Side cocktail.
Serving A South Side.
The most common way a south side is served in a cocktail glass resembling more of a sour than a highball fizz. I prefer this way, and even though the 1946 Stock Club recipe calls for it being served in a highball glass with ice. I’m going to go with the more daisy-like serving because I want to make it different from the older Cuban gin mojito mentioned above. I don’t see a point in having the same cocktail with different names so I will give that honor to the older recipe. The other reason is it’s just delicious as a daisy, and the mint makes it unique from other daisies. However, it is right and depends on whether you want a nice cool sipping cocktail or a short, strong sour.
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