Simple, delicious, dangerous: The Southside. Photo by Donna Turner Ruhlman.

Excited about our Chicago trip to promote the new book, Salumi, I tweeted for a Chicago cocktail and got a few suggestions (only a few), including one for an actual Chicago (which I’ll save for later).

But the suggested Southside proved to be easy to prepare with ingredients at hand and uncommonly refreshing. I was able to make use of a wonderful gin I hadn’t known of, Nolet’s Silver, which truly rivals my beloved Beefeater’s (thank you, Sally Alfis!), slightly more fruity and flowery, but still wonderfully dry. And the mint is still growing in the garden. So, The Southside it is! (Yes, Southside is one word for the cocktail, though the actual area, referred to in the Jim Croce song of my youth, is officially called the South Side.)

This cocktail can be made using any clear spirit, but gin is my fave for The Hour. You could also use a lime, with a little more simple syrup. I make a 1:1 (sugar-to-water by weight) simple syrup, juice half a lemon, muddle the mint, combine the liquids in a shaker, shake like the Dickens to release more minty goodness, and pour.

Donna quickly shot the above and said, “Let me taste that!” At first she puckered (it’s tart, and should be) but then the mint came through and her eyebrows lifted and she said, “Mmmmmm.” I promptly took the glass back. Very refreshing. I’m drinking it now!

Hope you join us at the Butcher & Larder (held at Floriole Cafe & Bakery), The Publican, or EL Ideas. The middle event, at the wonderful Publican, is FREE, but learn how to butcher a hog, Italian style—hoping Brian brings samples to taste! Please note that at The Publican Event there will be NO books, so please bring your own if you want them signed. We do accept beer offerings but keep them away from Brian until after he cuts the pig! The other two events require reservations, but book and food are included. Zampone demo and tasting at EL Ideas! Hope to see you in Chicago!


The Southside

  • handful of mint leaves
  • 60 grams gin
  • 10 grams lemon juice
  • 10 grams simple syrup
  1. Muddle mint in shaker.
  2. Add ice, then the rest of the ingredients, shake, and pour into a chilled cocktail glass.
Serves one.


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© 2012 Michael Ruhlman. Photo © 2012 Donna Turner Ruhlman. All rights reserved.