Sunday, September 9, 2012

Local libation: The Southside at NOPA

Fittingly, I'm a little tipsy while writing my first post! (You have to taste the cocktail before you write about it, right?) I figured the inaugural entry should be a 'local libation' - a drink I consumed in my new home of San Francisco - because living in this cocktail-obsessed city is a big part of what inspired me to start this blog. So last night I went to NOPA in the Western Addition (known for their local, seasonal California fare), sat at one of the communal tables and requested a light, refreshing beverage. The waiter served up one Southside - traditionally made with gin, he subbed in vodka for me (I am not a big gin drinker but I am going to make more of an effort to embrace the liquor- ever to excel!) 

A little backstory on the cocktail itself: It is rumored to have been born in prohibition-era Chicago where South Side gangsters invented it to mask the taste of the bootleg gin they were selling. Another camp claims it was created at Jack and Charley's speakeasy in New York City (which later became the '21' Club). A recent Wall Street Journal article did its best to debunk those origin stories and claimed the Southside was spawned at the super exclusive Southside Sportsman Club on Long Island.

My take? It doesn't strike me as a particularly snooty drink. Besides, it's delicious - and just the kind of crisp, light cocktail you crave during these dwindling days of summer. Here's how to make it:

Muddle a handful of mint leaves in the bottom of a shaker.
*I will be blogging about tools and techniques in future posts so stay tuned!

Add ice, around two ounces of vodka (I used Hangar One, which - in typical Cali style - is a 'farm to bottle' handmade liquor), one ounce of simple syrup (1/2 sugar, half warm water, shake it up), one ounce of freshly squeezed lemon juice. 

Shake, strain and pour into a martini glass or a 'stem glass', which is what I used. Just check your teeth for mint slivers that may have slipped through the strainer before you flash a big smile. Cheers! 




  1. Sounds like the lovechild of a mojito and a lemon drop. deeelish