A QUICK NIP OF GIN HISTORY
The history of the southside is fairly hazy, with competing theories on how the cocktail first came about. While all accounts agree that it was invented during the Prohibition era, some believe the punch has a dark past. In the more sinister camp, it’s believed the drink was conceived in Chicago’s south side, where it was imbibed by the mobsters who ruled the streets and who used citrus and sugar to mask the unpalatable taste of their bootleg gin.
On the other side of the tracks, others claim the southside cocktail was first created at the Southside Sportsmen’s Club on Long Island, where wealthy businessmen would enjoy the sweet lime sipper during hunting and fishing trips. This, in turn, inspired other country clubs to create their own versions. And others maintain that the cocktail originated out of Jack & Charlie’s, now the 21 Club, a former speakeasy in New York, where it’s still the signature cocktail to this day.
After slipping into relative obscurity for much of the 20th century, the drink has experienced a revival in recent years, thanks to the craft cocktail movement, and a renewed interest in gin.