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When you drink, it’s best to drink with a purpose. It’s why toasts are so popular; drinking just isn’t as fun when you’re only drinking to be drinking and not to celebrate or commiserate about something. It adds a ceremonial element to any night of drinking, no matter how dingy or boring the venue. And of course, one of the most unifying toasts — one that can pull in strangers and enemies alike — is a toast to a common homeland.
Cocktails to Match Your Heritage (Slideshow)
But a drink to the homeland needs to be paired with the proper drink. A toast made with red Solo cups full of Miller Lite doesn’t mean all that much unless you’re toasting to Miller Lite and Solo cups, which you absolutely shouldn’t be doing under any circumstances.
A proper toast to Queen and Country, to the Fatherland, or to your Home Sweet Home is a drink that needs to be both symbolic of the country itself and also contains elements of the homeland within it. A Scotsman is never far from Scotland with a glass of Scotch in his hand. Not only is he drinking a spirit that is interchangeable with his own demonym, but he’s drinking ingredients that originated in Scotland.
And naturally, it’s even better if you can cut the liquor with other native ingredients into a full cocktail representation of your country’s drink offerings. Lime and tequila are Mexican staples, but are both a bit harsh on their own. Throw them together and you’ve got a delicious Margarita, a perfect drink to represent the great land of Mexico.
This is why we’ve put together a list of perfect cocktail and country matches. These are what you should drink if you’re a Brazilian attempting to drink away the woes of a humiliating World Cup, or if you’re an American trying to recreate the Great Melting Pot in mixological terms, or if you’re French and are celebrating the natural superiority of all things French.
Slainte, Kanpai, and Salud. Now drink up!
There are a lot of reasons to be drinking if you’re a Brazilian right now. The World Cup is over, and it ended for the hosts in what was probably the most painful-to-watch rout ever in international soccer. Fortunately, the choice of Brazil’s most patriotic drink is easy: It’s the caipirinha. The caipirinha is Brazil’s national cocktail, and when translated into American English, it basically means “little hillbilly.” That name alone is victory enough for Brazil.
Puerto Rico: Piña Colada
The piña colada (“strained pineapple”) was allegedly invented by the pirate Roberto Cofresí, who was known to offer his band of buccaneers the cocktail when morale was low. The piña colada is the official drink of Puerto Rico, and even has its own holiday on July 10. The piña colada earns extra points for inventing what is probably the definitive Caribbean drink, containing, as it does, such quintessential tropical ingredients as rum, pineapple, and coconut.
Matt Hershberger is a contributing writer to The Daily Meal. You can follow him at @MattHershberger
Location: 59 W. Hubbard Street, Chicago, IL
Bartender: Chef Doug Psaltis and staff
Cocktail: Matcha Bees Knees ($11) with matcha-infused yuzu bourbon, lemon and honey.
Chef Psaltis and general manager Amarit Dulyapaibul wanted to create a refreshing and approachable matcha cocktail since customers were often turned off from the powder's strong, earthy and bitter flavors. This variation of the classic Bee's Knees solved that problem.
Hurt said a champagne cocktail is a great way to ring in the new year. Her recipe, from Sheana Davis of the Epicurean Connection, is simple: Combine 4 ounces of champagne or sparkling wine with 1.5 to 2 ounces of liqueur.
Hurt recommends any of the fruit liqueurs by Great Lakes Distillery, including the cranberry and Door County cherry, or Twisted Path's chai liqueur.
Garnish the cocktail with a few cranberries, cherries, or whichever fruit you choose to flavor your liqueur.
Summer Cocktail Recipes From Heritage Distilling
It’s summer! And we’re here to share three summer cocktail recipes from Gig Harbor’s Heritage Distilling.
It’s only as recent as 2008—75 years after Prohibition—that Washington State paved the way for a craft spirits movement by passing legislation to allow the distillery licenses. In June, 2011, Justin Stiefel decided to take advantage of this. He drew up a business plan, and Gig Harbor’s Heritage Distilling Co. was born. Justin has both a Chemical Engineering degree and a law degree two components that have served him well on his endeavor. (He was a little ahead of the curve he distilled his first batch of spirits in 1987 when he was in 7th grade.)
They installed Nonna (“grandmother” in Italian), an Italian-made whiskey still, specially designed for the company, in September of 2012. They opened their doors to the public just two months later, although they didn’t release their first product, Elk Rider Whiskey, until a year later in November, 2013.
Today, they’ve added stills, and have an extensive line of whiskeys, gins and vodkas, including a long list of naturally flavored vodkas.
“The” Award Winning Craft Distillery
Are the spirits well-received? They are, indeed. This year, they were awarded their top award yet their Brown Sugar Bourbon won the award for best flavored whiskey at the 2018 World Whiskies Awards. That’s big news. Heritage Distilling has also won more awards than any other craft distillery in North America by the American Distilling Institute five years in a row.
Visit the Distillery and Tasting Rooms
Heritage Distilling products are currently available in 20 states. But if you’re able, make a trip to the Tasting Room at the Gig Harbor distillery or the downtown Gig Harbor tasting room. At the distillery, a large picture glass window looks down on the operation so you can sip, look, and ask questions. Or, stop by at one of the three other tasting rooms, located in the Ballard neighborhood of Seattle, Roslyn, Washington, and Eugene, Oregon.
Heritage Distilling offers tastings of their spirits at either their downtown tasting room or their distillery location.
If you enjoy the products — and you will — keep the fun coming by taking one of the My Batch classes, joining the Cask Club, picking up one of the “Here It Ages” kits, or joining the Spirits Club.
Summer Cocktail Recipes Are Here
Here, we share a few of Heritage’s summer cocktail recipes. We think these cocktail recipes will be a hit at your next gathering. Cheers!
BSB (Brown Sugar Bourbon) Churro
- Rim glass with cinnamon sugar and fill with ice.
- Pour in ingredients, stir and garnish with a skewered churro slice.
And remember—you can’t spell baseball without BSB!
The BSB Churro (Photo by Erin Lund, courtesy Heritage Distilling)
- 3 cups HDC Citrus Vodka
- 3 cups Limeade
- 3 cups Cranberry Juice
- 3 cips Club Soda or Sprite
- 1 sliced lemon
- 1 sliced orange
- 1 sliced lime
- 1 cup sliced strawberries
Party Punch from Heritage Distilling (Photo by Erin Lund, courtesy Heritage Distilling)
- 1 ounce HDC Peach Vodka
- 1/4 ounce simple syrup
- ¼ ounce lemon juice
- ½ ounce orange juice
- In a shaker, add ice and all ingredients.
- Shake hard until fully cold, strain over ice into a tumbler over plenty of ice.
- Garnish with a preserved cherry.
Peach Jalopy with Heritage Distilling Peach Vodka (Photo by Erin Lund, courtesy Heritage Distilling)
- Heritage Distilling Co., https://heritagedistilling.com/
- Gig Harbor Guide, https://www.gigharborguide.com/
- On our site: More on Gig Harbor and Heritage Distilling Co. here.
– Cocktail photos, including cover photo, by Erin Lund, courtesy of Heritage Distilling. Distillery photos by Nancy Zaffaro.
This Texas Designer Wants Your Dress to Match Your Drink
Claire Cormier Thielke, Dr. Yvonne Cormier
Diane Lokey Farb, Jeff Shell
Gina Gaston, Lela Rose, Dr. Sippi Khurana
Models posed in looks from Lela Rose collection at Dress for Dinner fashion show at Neiman Marcus.
Bob Devlin, Theresa Roemer
Ally Shell van Koolwijk, Martijn van Koolwijk
Ebony Goudeau, Sharon Sanders, Jackie Fair
Fritz Lucio McDonald, Chris Goins, Martijn van Koolwijk
Lela Rose black and white off-the-shoulder evening gown
Lela Rose crimson dress with painted flowers
Lela Rose awning striped day dress. Photo by Priscilla Dickson.
Jason Volz, Rachael Volz. Photo by Priscilla Dickson.
Leisa Holland-Nelson, Kendra Rohrer, Bob Devlin. Photo by Priscilla Dickson.
Lela Rose has long believed that fashion and food go together. The noted fashion designer has authored a book, Pret-a-Party: Great Ideals for Good Times and Creative Entertaining, and often adds a food element to her New York runway shows, holding them in restaurants or in Washington Square Park, where the cocktails and food matched the color palate of the collection. Rose even featured a “Haute Dog” cart with gourmet offerings.
“I have always said that as a brand, we’re all about fashion, food, and fun. And every event that we ever do mixes all of those elements,” Rose says. “I love to entertain, so I always say match your drink to your dress and your dress to your table. You know, the reason you’re wearing clothes like what I design is that you’re going somewhere or you’re doing something, and your calendar is filled.
“There has always been a link between fashion and food. And that is how we show our clothes.”
So Rose seemed a natural as the featured attraction at the latest Recipe for Success Dress for Dinner series, held at Neiman Marcus. For the past 14 years, Recipe for Success co-founder Gracie Cavnar has brought in noted designers to showcase their latest collection at a fashion show and dinner afterwards to raise funds to support the organization’s efforts to combat childhood obesity through heathy eating habits.
“We’re big believers you can cross all kinds of cultural and social divides by bringing people together around a table. We like to do that and Lela likes to do that too,” Cavnar says.
After a question-and-answer session with Houston Chronicle fashion writer Joy Sewing, Lela Rose unveiled her spring/summer and resort collections in a runway show, featuring breezy day dresses in bright colors, sleek lace tops and buttoned trousers, and off-the-shoulder evening gowns. The Dallas born-and-bred designer still considers herself a Texan even though she’s lived in New York for decades and that Lone Star heritage shows up in her creations.
“I have always said that Texas women are some of my greatest inspirations. I design in a color palate of bold strong colors. Black has never been my go-to palate for most things. Yellow, and oranges and pinks and fuchsia (instead),” Rose says.
“I also really credit the Texas woman for knowing that being dressed is key to greeting the day in a better way and in a way that you feel good about yourself. And who feels good in sweatpants? You might feel good at home but you never feel good running into anyone in sweatpants. I don’t like going out when I look sloppy.”
Gina Gaston, Lela Rose, Dr. Sippi Khurana.
Before the fashion show began at Neiman Marcus, guest sipped a special “Lela’s Rose” cocktail and nibbled on light bites prepared by A Fare Extraordinaire executive chef Ryan Bouillet from vegetables grown at Hope Farms, an urban garden in south Houston run by the Recipe for Success team members and volunteers. The innovative nibbles included radish crostini with hijiki butter and cucumber with beet puree.
For dinner afterwards in the store’s Mariposa restaurant for select guests who paid $500 each to attend, Bouillet prepared a red and yellow tomato tartare, poached halibut with braised turnips and acorn squash, and an “Old Fashioned” dessert of vanilla panna cotta with cherry puree, bitters infused carbonated oranges, whiskey gelee, and sugared walnuts.
The fashionably-dressed crowd included chairs Jeff Shell and Ally Shell-van Koolwijk, with her husband Martijn van Koolwijk, Jane Wagner, Dr. Sippi Khurana and husband, Ajay Khurana, Theresa Roemer, Neiman Marcus general manager Bob Devlin, Diane Lokey Farb, Gina Gaston, Dr. Yvonne Cormier, Claire Cormier Thielke, Myrtle Jones, Recipe for Success co-founder Bob Cavnar, BJ and Bob Shell, Kim Padgett, Leisa Holland Nelson, Karina Barbieri, Chris Goins, Parissa Mohajer, Mahzad Mohajer, Jeanne Ruberti, Brandon McClendon, and Fritz Lucio McDonald.
Where to drink it in Italy: Freni e Frizioni in Rome
Invented in 1919 in Padova, the bitter orange aperitivo Aperol has been popular in Italy for some time, but it didn’t catch on in the United States until recently. Its low alchohol content (11 percent) makes it the ideal liquor for an afternoon spritz. You can find Aperol Spritz—a mix of Aperol, prosecco, and soda—on pretty much any menu in Italy, but Rome’s Freni e Frizioni, housed in a former mechanic’s shop on a small piazza, is a fine place to sip cocktails and people watch.
(Makes 1 Cocktail)
Based on a recipe from Aperol
2 ounces prosecco
2 ounces Aperol
1 splash soda water
Orange slice to garnish
Buy Now: Aperol, $20, wine.com Mionetto Prosecco, $14, wine.com
Add ice to large stemmed glass and pour in the prosecco and Aperol in equal parts. Add a splash of soda water and garnish with an orange slice.
Top Steakhouse Cocktails: Meat Your Match
What better way to celebrate our recent list of the 100 Best Steakhouses in America than with a cocktail made to go with steak. Filets may be the prime attraction at these eateries, but drinks are the gravy of any steakhouse experience. Whether you’re looking for a quick tipple in 30 seconds or less, or you want savor a libation barrel-aged for three months, here are the top steakhouse cocktails that are a cut above.
Goldenrye at Jimmy’s An American Restaurant & Bar, Aspen, Colorado
Jimmy’s is all about sourcing local produce in the heart of Aspen, and Colorado’s rich valleys produce just the right potatoes and grains for vodkas and whiskies, too. Liquor from Woody Creek Distillers — just 20 miles from the restaurant — comes straight from the Centennial State’s bounty, including the favorite of bartender Chris Kelner: the 2- to 3-year aged rye. He puts a twist — literally — on the traditional Gold Rush, blending whiskey and lemon for the Goldenrye, adding ginger liqueur for spicy-sweet notes and a dry sherry finish. Make a reservation at Jimmy’s An American Restaurant & Bar.
Meat and Potatoes Martini at Lawry’s the Prime Rib, Chicago, Illinois
A meal in and of itself and a perfect homage to Chicago’s meatpacking heritage, Lawry’s Meat and Potatoes Martini even makes the spirit meta with potato vodka. Their signature cocktail includes two colossal olives stuffed with prime rib and horseradish—the perfect meaty pairing for the other menu staple of the “spinning salad,” served tableside with all entrees. It’s fun to kick a few back and laugh as bowls are set in buckets of ice and twirled like Oksana Baiul. Make a reservation at Lawry’s the Prime Rib.
The Swanson at Steak & Whisky, Hermosa Beach, California
It’s not too hard to decipher just what’s served up at Steak & Whisky, but one of the biggest hits riffs on the beloved Parks and Rec character (and ultimate bacon lover) Ron Swanson. Steak & Whisky’s version of The Swanson incorporates its namesake libation and adds barrel-smoked maple syrup and bitters. Served up on the side is a meaty garnish from the steak and charcuterie board — a beverage truly fit for any plaid-loving, woodworking man’s man. Make a reservation at Steak & Whisky.
Vida de Playa at BOA Steakhouse-Sunset, Los Angeles, California
Bar manager Josh Renfree doesn’t compromise quality for speed at BOA, where his diverse list of 15 steakhouse-friendly cocktails can all be assembled in 30 seconds or less. South American-born bartender Pancho Lam lends a hand — and some inspiration — with his Vida de Playa, a playful Peruvian twist on a piña colada incorporating pisco and mango coconut puree. The sour is homemade, as are the natural coconut, mango, and citrus purees, pairing up with menu hits like goat cheese baklava, Thai chili wings, charred tuna tartare, and chilled jumbo saffron prawns. Make a reservation at BOA Steakhouse-Sunset.
Death & Taxes at Grill 23, Boston, Massachusetts
It’s been said that nothing is sure in life but death and taxes — yet surely enjoying the Death & Taxes cocktail at Grill 23 is right up there. Hospitality director Brahm Callahan mixes up cigar-infused Woodford Bourbon, lemon juice, fernet branca, and a bit of peach syrup to bring a hint of the South to blustery Boston. Grill 23, one of Boston’s favorite steakhouses in the city’s tony Back Bay section, has been open for more than three decades but underwent a massive renovation in 2014. The revamp of the downstairs bar and the new bar menu are perfect for enjoying along with Death & Taxes. Make a reservation at Death & Taxes.
Prohibition Buzz at The Palm-Tribeca, New York, New York
It’s easy to throw back the Prohibition Buzz, a throwback to The Palm’s 90 th anniversary. The tipple blends Cutty Sark Prohibition Edition Blended Scotch Whiskey, chilled with honey syrup and a dash of Angostura bitters, topped with Champagne and a cinnamon stick. But unlike bathtub gin, this one is smooth with hand-selected American oak casks to give the whiskey subtle flavors of vanilla and citrus. “Even though the Palm restaurant opened during Prohibition, it was still considered the best watering hole in New York,” says Angelica Sbai, director of operations, wine and spirits. “The Prohibition Buzz pays homage to the Palm’s history of two-martini lunches and quick and witty bartenders.” Look for the Buzz on The Palm’s new 90 th- anniversary menu. Make a reservation at The Palm-Tribeca.
What meat mecca pours your favorite steakhouse cocktail? Let us know here or over on Facebook, G+, Instagram, Pinterest, or Twitter.
National Bourbon Heritage Month
Of all the “National _______________ Days” that seem to come daily on our social feeds, this one is unique because it wasn’t created in a marketing department or PR office, but by congress. That’s right, the U.S. Senate declared September National Bourbon Heritage Month back in 2007, a “month to celebrate America’s Native Spirit,” the official title also given by congress back in the 60’s.
Clearly, the best way to celebrate bourbon is by drinking bourbon, but first, it’d be wise to learn all we can about it so that we can find bourbons we like. I’ve been talking about it a little bit on the podcast, but the new book by Fred Minnick, Bourbon Curious: A Simple Tasting Guide for the Savvy Drinker is deeply interesting and unmistakably helpful.
Covering many details of bourbon making and history (did you know Tabasco sauce is aged in bourbon barrels?), Minnick leads us into the final 1/3 of his book: a highly-valuable tasting guide. Categorizing bourbon flavor profiles into 4 groups, grain-forward, nutmeg-forward, caramel-forward and cinnamon-forward, I realized quickly that the bourbons I’ve loved the most were in the cinnamon category.
…..then I realized that Simple Cocktails had previously missed an entire brand of cinnamon-forward bourbons. I’m not exactly sure why, but I has thought Four Roses was an expensive, exclusive bourbon, so I figured it’d be hard to cover here, but after reading Bourbon Curious, I noted that Four Roses is one of the oldest, most respectable bourbon brands in the flavor category I love the most, and I had to grab some immediately.
I tasted the staples of the Four Roses catalog, “yellow label,” Small Batch, and Single Barrel. At $25, $40, and $50 respectively, I was initially really stunned at the affordability of the line.
Not only is Four Roses exactly my personal bourbon flavor preference, but it’s incredibly accessible and smooth, even at the high-end high-proof Single Barrel. Four Roses yellow label, the baseline option, is an obvious choice for an affordable, quality cocktail bourbon. I’ve been sipping it as a nightcap and I can’t believe a bourbon of this quality can be had for $25.
These are similar in their flavor profiles, with increasing ABV % as you go up in price (40, 45 and 50%). All cinnamon-spicy, these increase in spice as you move up the line, with less caramel-and-vanilla at the higher end (likely due to the higher barrel time). Of the three, I’ve found myself enjoying the midrange Small Batch the most, as it has the right balance of sweet-and-spice for my palate.
Finally, let’s talk about a relatively new bourbon. We met the folks from New Holland Spirits at Tales of the Cocktail, and they distill a variety of interesting and quality spirits. Their Beer Barrel Bourbon is aged 90 days in casks that previously housed their Dragon’s Milk Stout.
This is a unique bourbon experience. When I opened the bottle, I smelled homemade vanilla ice cream. I taste very little beer in the final product, but there’s clearly a natural vanilla/caramel note that’s pronounced and solid. At a low ABV (40%), New Holland’s Beer Barrel Bourbon is one of the most accessible bourbons I’ve ever tried (Lisa really liked it too), and because of the uniqueness of it’s flavor, is probably best suited in an Old Fashioned or sipped on the rocks…with a cigar.
I hope this post helps you to find some bourbons to try this month, because congress says you have to! At the very least, Fred’s book is the perfect field manual for bourbon hunters, and you owe yourself a purchase of that at the very least. Enjoy your National Bourbon Heritage Month!
Grand Marnier elevates cocktails from ordinary to unforgettable, adding a layer of sophistication to some of the world’s most well-loved serves. Browse our menu of Grand Cocktails.
Grand Old Fashioned
The Grand Sidecar is the signature classic for Grand Marnier. Truly refreshing and perfectly balanced, the Grand Sidecar effortlessly marries the citrus notes of Cordon Rouge bitter orange liqueur with the intensity of cognac.
- 50 ml | 1.5 oz Grand Marnier® Cordon Rouge.
- 20 ml | 0.5 oz cognac
- 20 ml | 0.5 oz fresh lemon juice
Combine Grand Marnier® Cordon Rouge, cognac and fresh lemon juice in a cocktail shaker with ice. Shake vigorously until well chilled. Strain into prepared coupe glass and serve.
Grand Old Fashioned
Grand Marnier is added to the traditional Old Fashioned, delivering a smoother and more elegant finish, while delicately layering bitter and sweet flavors.
- 30 ml | 1 oz Grand Marnier® Cordon Rouge
- 30 ml | 1 oz Wild Turkey® 101 Bourbon Whiskey
- 3 dashes aromatic bitters
- Large ice cube
- Orange twist to garnish
First, combine aromatic bitters, Grand Marnier®, and, finally, whiskey in an old fashioned glass. Add large ice cube and stir until cold and well incorporated. Garnish surface of liquid with orange twist, expressing oils over glass rim.
This highly refreshing cocktail pairs sour lime with earthy tequila notes, adding Grand Marnier’s cognac and bitter orange flavor for a refined smoothness and a heightened drinking experience.
- 30 ml | 1 oz Grand Marnier® Cordon Rouge
- 30 ml | 1 oz tequila
- 20 ml | 0.5 oz freshly lime juice
- Ice cubes
- Lime garnish
Fill a wide, shallow dish with 2-3 mm of fine salt. Cut a lime in half at the width and rub around half of the rim of a margarita glass. Cut a thin, crosswise slice from one of the lime halves for garnish. Holding glass upside down, dip wet half delicately into the salt. Shake Grand Marnier®, tequila and lime juice with ice in a cocktail shaker. Strain into glass and apply lime garnish to rim.
Meaning ‘very good’ in Tahitian, the Grand Mai-Tai is elevated as Grand Marnier takes center stage, delivering a complex twist with rich cognac and bitter orange flavors.
- 30 ml | 1 oz Grand Marnier® Cordon Rouge
- 60 ml | 2 oz Appleton Estate® Signature Blend
- 15 ml | 0.5 oz orgeat syrup
- 15 ml | 0.5 oz fresh lemon juice
- Ice cubes
- Lime slice, mint and pineapple leaf to garnish
Combine all liquid ingredients in a cocktail shaker with ice and shake briefly. Strain into a Collins or double old fashioned glass. Add garnish to surface of cocktail.
Grand Marnier adds a playful, yet refined twist to the traditional Tom Collins by replacing its gin base with cognac, creating an intriguing, layered flavor profile to match its lively effervescence.
- 50 ml | 1.5 oz Grand Marnier® Cordon Rouge
- 15 ml | 0.5 oz fresh lemon juice
- Soda water
- Ice cubes
- Orange zest
- Raspberry garnish
Place ice cubes in a highball glass and add Grand Marnier®, then fresh lemon juice. Top up with soda water and stir well before adding orange zest and raspberry garnish to cocktail.
Grand Marnier perfectly complements the bitterness of effervescent tonic, adding sophistication and delightful nuance through exquisite cognac and exotic orange notes.
- 50 ml | 1.5 oz Grand Marnier® Cordon Rouge
- Tonic water
- Ice cubes
- Orange slice
- Raspberry garnish
Place ice cubes in a balloon glass and add Grand Marnier® Cordon Rouge. Top with tonic water and stir well before adding orange slice and raspberry garnish to cocktail.
Société des Produits
32, rue de Monceau,
75008 Paris, FRANCE
The Southside Is the Preppy Cocktail that Signals the Start of Summer
We tasted three versions of the Southside, the insider cocktail of preppies everywhere. Here, a history of the drink and the results of our taste test.
If there is one drink that has come to symbolize the culture of preppies, the Southside is it. At country clubs throughout the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic, it isn't really summer until the snack bar starts serving Southsides to the leisure class.
A recent crop of mixes received at the Town & Country offices inspired an investigation into the cocktail's pedigree. Ask Dario, a bartender who has worked for 53 years at the Rockaway Hunting Club on the South Shore of Long Island&mdashsometimes credited as the birthplace of the Southside&mdashand he'll tell you that the drink was popular for decades before he arrived.
In 2004, NPR devoted a "Day to Day" segment to the Southside, calling it "the quintessential summer drink." A bartender from East Hampton's Maidstone Club told the reporter that the drink originated on the South Side of Chicago during Prohibition. Gangsters there created the cocktail to hide the inferior taste of their bootleg hooch (compared to the finer stuff served by Northside mobsters').
In a 2007 Wall Street Journal article, writer Eric Felton skewers this interpretation, asking, "Why would a drink from louche Chi-town speakeasies find its way east to be embraced by lock-jawed Locust Valleyites? One might just as well imagine the Astors inviting Big Jule over to shoot craps."
The '21' Club has been mentioned as a possible origin of the cocktail, but a spokeswoman said while the drink has been popular there since the very beginning (you'll learn why if you try the recipe below), "some early references pre-date us."
The most likely possibility? The drink was probably created at Long Island's Southside Sportsmen's Club where, as Elizabeth Foster noted in the October 1941 issue of this magazine, one of the libations offered is "a Southside . a Tom Collins with mint [that] is cooling in warm weather." As Felton notes, "the men who fished and hunted at the Southside Sportsmen's Club did their golfing, riding, and racquet sports at places such as the Rockaway Hunting Club, the Maidstone Club, and Piping Rock, which explains how the cocktail spread to become the definitive summer drink of the country club set."
While gin remains the most popular base spirit, rum and vodka can be substituted. Clubs on Long Island's North Shore are said to serve strictly rum Southsides, while the Rockaway Hunting Club allows for the choice of rum or vodka. However you make it, the drink is a refreshing and delicious harbinger of summer. Try one of the recipes below and see for yourself!
* For the mint simple syrup, add equal parts water and sugar to a saucepan with a handful of mint leaves. Bring to a boil for ten minutes. Cool and strain.
Place all ingredients in a mixing glass, and shake vigorously to bruise mint leaves. Strain into a Collins glass filled with ice.
Of all the recipes, this was the tastiest and most well-balanced, our panel decided. The fresh taste of the ingredients set the bar so high that the mixes were simply unable to match it.
Arrowhead Farms Dark Harbor Southside Mix
Combine 1 oz of Dark Harbor Southside Mix with 3 oz gin, 3 oz club soda, and a few freshly picked mint leaves and serve.
Created by Bronson van Wyck's Arrowhead Farms, this mix was generally well-received by our tasting panel. One editor described it as having a "woodsy" feel, "something a serious man would drink." The sweetness of the mix seemed to balance out the significant juniper taste imparted by the three ounces of gin.
Serve over ice (the bottle contains a fully pre-made cocktail!). Instructions on the bottle indicate: "For an epicure's touch, garnish with a fresh mint sprig."
"This tastes like margarita mix" was the response from two panelists. "It's the you-could-drink-seven-of-them margarita mix feel," one added. Another detected a resemblance to BluePrint Lemonade.