Among the official IBA Gin Cocktails, the Southside is something of a rarity. Unless you run a gin bar of feature the cocktail in your bar program, it’s rarely ordered.
Though the IBA lists it as a “new era” drink, it’s origins date back to the time of Prohbition, where it might have been drank by the infamous bootlegger Al Capone.
Well whatever its original story, today modern Canned Cocktail giant Crafthouse makes their own version of the Southside. It starts with a juniper-forward classic style London Dry Gin. It then adds lime juice, sweetening and mint— or to be hyper specific “natural mint flavors” and “real citrus.”
One of my favorite things about the Crafthouse line of cocktails is that they much more closely resemble their source material than other brands which bottle at ABVs well below what you’d make if you were making it at home. The Crafthouse Southside is canned at 13.8% ABV.
Color: Attractive, pale straw with a hint of sea foam green.
Aroma: Moderately pronounced wet, muddled spearmint leaves
Flavor: Sour throughout, becoming more sour towards the finish. Early some sweetness with lime, and lemon oil. The mid-palate of Crafthouse Southside has some slight hints of juniper. It’s muted, but clearly there.
The base gin itself doesn’t contribute a ton more beyond the juniper note. The finish of the Crafthouse Southside is tart and long. Slightly bitter lime zest and hints of green cantaloupe linger amidst a restrained sweetness.
While good straight from the fridge, I find the overall balance improved when served as suggested— “over ice.” The subtle carbonation aspect is secondary to the overall experience. While I find it adds texture and body, I don’t know I’d say it’s a “fizzy” cocktail.
Overall, Crafthouse Southside
The Southside is a bit of an underrated summer cocktail— or Kentucky Derby day alternative to the ubiquitous whiskey mint julep.
Crafthouse executed the cocktail well. While I wouldn’t say it exactly resembles the minty gin sour that is the original, judged on its own, the Crafthouse Southside is quite excellent. Balanced flavor, notes of gin are present, and it’s deliciously easy-to-drink.
As long as you are expecting a quaffable lime and mint cocktail with only a small hint of juniper, the Crafthouse Southside delivers.
Highly recommended in its category.