Bitter Southside


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Bitter Southside_001

## Introduction

The Bitter Southside cocktail is a sophisticated twist on a timeless classic. **Refreshing and herbal**, this drink combines the crispness of gin with the zesty tang of lime, softened by sweet simple syrup and enriched with a hint of bitters. It’s a cocktail that promises complexity in every sip.

Whether you’re a gin aficionado or new to the world of cocktails, the Bitter Southside is a must-try. Its **balance of flavors** makes it a versatile choice for any occasion. Let’s dive into the details that make this cocktail a standout choice for your next gathering.

## Key Facts About the Bitter Southside

– **Alcohol Volume**: Approximately 14% ABV (28 proof)
– **Calories**: Around 178 calories per serving
– **Glass Type**: Chilled cocktail glass
– **Garnish**: Mint sprig

## Interesting Facts about the Bitter Southside

– The Southside is often dubbed the ‘Mojito of the North’ due to its popularity in the speakeasies of Prohibition-era Chicago.
– The addition of bitters to the Southside recipe is a modern twist, adding an extra layer of flavor complexity.
– Mint, beyond its garnish role, is essential in releasing essential oils that are key to the cocktail’s signature aroma.

Bitter Southside Cocktail

## Tasting Notes

The Bitter Southside is a dance of flavors on the palate. **Herbal notes** from the gin and mint meet the **sharpness of lime**, while the simple syrup provides a **subtle sweetness**. The bitters bring a **spicy depth**, making the drink complex yet approachable.

This cocktail is perfect for those who appreciate a drink with a **bold character**. It’s ideal for summer afternoons, garden parties, or as a refreshing aperitif. The Bitter Southside is a versatile cocktail that suits a wide range of tastes and occasions.

## History of the Bitter Southside

The Southside cocktail has its roots in the Prohibition era, where it gained popularity in the speakeasies of Chicago. The original Southside is a simple mix of gin, lime, mint, and syrup. The ‘Bitter’ variant is a contemporary take, introducing bitters to the equation.

The cocktail’s name is said to have come from the South Side district of Chicago. It was a favorite among the city’s elite, including the notorious gangster Al Capone. The Bitter Southside retains the classic’s spirit while adding a modern twist.

## Bitter Southside Ingredients

– **Gin (2 oz)**: The base spirit, providing a botanical backdrop.
– **Fresh Lime Juice (3/4 oz)**: Adds a crisp, citrusy punch.
– **Simple Syrup (1/2 oz)**: Balances the acidity with sweetness.
– **Angostura Bitters (2 dashes)**: Introduces a layer of spice and complexity.
– **Fresh Mint Leaves (6-8)**: Infuse the drink with a refreshing herbal aroma.
– **Ice Cubes**: Chill the drink without diluting the flavors too quickly.
– **Mint Sprig**: For garnish, adding visual appeal and aroma.

## Did you know?

> “The Southside cocktail was a favorite during the Prohibition era, symbolizing the spirit of rebellion and the quest for quality in a time of scarcity.”

Preparing Bitter Southside

## Bitter Southside Method

### Muddling the Mint
Start by gently muddling the mint leaves with simple syrup in a shaker. This process is crucial for releasing the mint’s essential oils, which are key to the cocktail’s aroma.

### Combining the Ingredients
Next, add the gin, fresh lime juice, and Angostura bitters to the shaker. The quality of gin can greatly influence the drink’s botanical notes, so choose wisely.

### Shaking and Serving
Fill the shaker with ice and shake vigorously. Strain the mixture into a chilled cocktail glass and garnish with a mint sprig. The shaking not only chills the drink but also ensures a harmonious blend of flavors.

## Serving Suggestion

The Bitter Southside is traditionally served in a **chilled cocktail glass**. The glass’s shape allows the aromas to concentrate, enhancing the drinking experience. A sprig of mint is not just a garnish; it’s an aromatic invitation to the senses.

## Elevating the Bitter Southside

– **Use Premium Gin**: A high-quality gin can transform the drink.
– **Fresh Ingredients**: Always opt for fresh lime juice and mint for the best flavor.
– **Proper Chilling**: Chill the glass beforehand to keep the cocktail at an optimal temperature.

## Substitutions and Alternatives for the Bitter Southside

If you’re out of gin, vodka can be a neutral substitute. For a non-alcoholic version, use a gin alternative like Seedlip. Similar cocktails include the Mojito or the Mint Julep, which share the minty freshness.

## Add a twist

– **Cucumber**: Add muddled cucumber for a refreshing twist.
– **Spicy**: Infuse the simple syrup with jalapeño for a kick.
– **Fruity**: Muddle in some berries for a touch of fruitiness.

## Preferred Liquors for the Bitter Southside

For the Bitter Southside, a gin like Tanqueray or Hendrick’s, known for their botanical richness, works beautifully. These gins complement the cocktail’s herbal profile.

## Similar Cocktails to the Bitter Southside

– **Mojito**: Shares mint and lime, but uses rum.
– **Gimlet**: A gin and lime juice classic, simple yet delicious.
– **Tom Collins**: Another gin-based favorite, with lemon and soda water.

## Food Pairings to go with the Bitter Southside

Pair the Bitter Southside with light appetizers like ceviche or cucumber sandwiches. For a twist, try it with spicy Thai dishes to contrast the cocktail’s coolness.

## Bitter Southside FAQs

– **Can I use bottled lime juice?** Fresh lime juice is always preferred for the best flavor.
– **What if I don’t have a cocktail shaker?** You can stir the ingredients with ice, but shaking is recommended for the right texture.
– **How can I make it sweeter?** Adjust the simple syrup to taste.

Bitter Southside Cocktail Served

Bitter Southside_001

Bitter Southside

A refreshing twist on the classic Southside cocktail, the Bitter Southside incorporates a dash of bitters for added complexity and depth, marrying the herbal notes of gin with the tartness of fresh lime juice and the sweetness of mint.
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 0 minutes
0 minutes
Total Time 5 minutes
Course Cocktail
Servings 1 cocktail
Calories 178 kcal


  • Cocktail shaker
  • Muddler
  • Strainer
  • Jigger or measuring tool
  • chilled cocktail glass


  • 2 oz Gin
  • 3/4 oz Fresh lime juice
  • 1/2 oz Simple syrup
  • 2 dashes Angostura bitters
  • 6-8 Fresh mint leaves
  • Ice cubes
  • 1 sprig Mint for garnish


  • In a shaker, gently muddle the mint leaves with the simple syrup to release the oils.
  • Add the gin, fresh lime juice, and Angostura bitters to the shaker.
  • Fill the shaker with ice cubes and shake vigorously until well-chilled.
  • Strain the mixture into a chilled cocktail glass.
  • Garnish with a sprig of mint.
  • Serve immediately and enjoy responsibly.


To make simple syrup, combine equal parts sugar and water, bring to a boil, and stir until the sugar dissolves. Let it cool before using.
Always use fresh lime juice for the best flavor.
Adjust the amount of simple syrup to your desired sweetness.
Keyword Bitter Southside, bitters, Classic Cocktail, Cocktail, Gin, herbal, Lime Juice, Mint, Refreshing, Simple Syrup, Sweet, Tart

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