My brother chided me for consoling myself with mojitos when my internet was down, instead of throwing back a few Southsides. I should have been guzzling Southsides, because these summer cocktails combine three of my favourite things: mint, lemon and Mt. Gay Rum. The story of how Southsides were invented has been lost in the mists of history, but the Wall Street Journal gives credence to their origination at the Southside Sportsman’s Club on Long Island in the 1880’s. There’s some discussion about whether to mix this with gin or rum, but with the mix our family prefers, Mr. Lee’s, Mt. Gay Rum is the drink of choice.
My mother and I went to Virginia to celebrate some birthdays with my brother, and he had several bottles of Mr. George Lee’s special Southside mix hand-delivered to my mother by Mr. Lee himself, still mixing up batches at the age of 88 or so. Mr. Lee was the long-time bartender at the Greenspring Valley Hunt Club and in his retirement, he goes through more than 100 pounds of mint a week to create his own special blend of Southsides, which he recommends mixing with Mt. Gay Rum.
On a hot summer day, regardless of where you are, there’s nothing that quenches your thirst like a cold Southside. The only recipes I could find on the internet called for gin, but if you Google Southsides, you’ll be able to find a recipe that suits you. Here’s a story NPR did on Southsides a few summers ago and the reporter gives you a recipe.