I’m not sure if this one qualifies as a “famous” pre-prohibition cocktail, but it’s definitely from the prohibition era, if not sooner. As with most cocktails this old, the story of its origin is hazy at best. Wikipedia claims that there are two distinct theories:
- It was named by the Southside Sportsmen’s Club on Long Island
- It’s an homage to the South Side of Chicago.
Proponents of the latter story sometimes also claim it was Al Capone’s favorite drink – because his gang imported lower quality gin and they needed more sweetness to cover the rough edges. (As compared to the North Side gangs’ gin, which was apparently consumed with ginger ale.)
I’m not going to claim to know any better than Wikipedia, but I will say one thing: it’s a fairly straight forward “sour” style recipe, so it’s very likely that multiple bartenders in multiple places independently “came up” with a recipe similar to this one. It tastes good, so we all win!
By the way, if you’re looking for a lighter, fizzier variant, go ahead and strain into a collins glass and top with club soda. You just made a Southside Fizz!
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