May is a month when vegetal world starts to flourish. So this month’s Mixology Monday event has been awarded with an appropriate spring-related theme. It was cleverly called «Witches’ Garden» by Mark Holmes who hosts the event at his Cardiff Cocktails tumblr.
Here is an excerpt from explanations that Mark gave in his announcement post:
As far back as we can look, the use of fresh herbs have been prevalent in the world of mixed drinks. From the early days of the julep, through Williams Terrington’s 19th century Cooling Cups and Dainty Drinks, to Don the Beachcomber’s ahead of their time Tiki drinks, fresh herbs have always been at the forefront of mixology. So lets take influence from the bartenders that once ruled the world of mixology, raid your herb garden that too often gets neglected, and start mixing.
The topic is very close to me. In my cocktail adventures I often get inspiration in using various herbs in attempts to get something new in taste and flavor. Thyme, rosemary, basil and mint were among others who went in my shaker in its time. For this event I decided to be commonplace and to choose a herb everyone enjoyed many times in Mojito or Julep. That’s mint, a strongly scented plant which is widespread all around the world.
The second, a cocktail. Since I’m die-hard gin lover, my choice is obvious. Gin, lemon, sugar and mint – that’s all I need for this time to mix Southside Cocktail (or South Side Cocktail as it’s written in The Savoy Cocktail Book).
- 2 oz. №3 London Dry Gin,
- 0.75 oz. lemon juice,
- 0.75 oz. simple syrup,
- 4-6 mint leaves (one big sprig).
Gently muddle mint leaves with simple syrup in your shaker tin. Or just press leaves lightly several times if you want to get less mint-flavoured drink. Add gin and lemon juice, then fill the shaker with ice and shake it hard to mix and chill your drink properly. Double strain in a cocktail coupe and garnish the cocktail with single mint leaf.
My Southside Cocktail is a cross between South Side Cocktail mentioned in «The Savoy Cocktail Book» and Southside from «The PDT Cocktail Book». It offers smooth sour and a bit sweetish taste with delicate minty palate and dry gin-and-citrus finish. Refreshing and quite strong, Southside Cocktail became my favorite drink for summer nights.
Giving the recipe for Southside in «The PDT Cocktail Book», Jim Meehan refers to Hugo Ensslin’s «Recipes For Mixed Drinks». I’ve searched through the book and found only one Southside recipe in a chapter dedicated to fizzes. So I thought I should try Southside Fizz too. As Mr. Ensslin wrote that «South Side Fizz made same as Gin Fizz, adding fresh mint leaves», I’ve made it in the way I love to made my Gin Fizzes.
- 2 oz. Beefeater London Dry Gin,
- 1 oz. lemon juice,
- ½ oz. simple syrup,
- 6-8 mint leaves,
- soda water.
Gently muddle mint leaves with simple syrup in your shaker tin. Add gin and lemon juice, then fill the shaker tin with ice and shake it. Strain into an ice-filled tall glass, top with soda water and stir carefully. Garnish with a sprig of mint.
The first sips made me think that this refreshing drink is much better than Mojito for my taste. It was a refreshing bomb – sparkling, cool, tart and sour with nice mint, juniper and citrus notes.
Thanks to Mark Holmes for hosting current Mixology Monday event, and wait for more fun in his «Witches’ Garden» round-up.