February 3, 2016

RIP Mr. Lee

One of my favourite summer cocktails is a Southside, but really a Mr. Lee’s Southside. The famous Mr. George Lee, Sr. made his own cocktail mix, no fancy bottle or hipster-designed label for him.  image

All you really needed was a bottle of Mt. Gay rum, or gin or vodka depending on your preferance, some of Mr. Lee’s mix and some soda water. If you happened to have a sprig or two of mint to decorate the glass, all the better.


Over the weekend came the news that Mr. George Lee, bartender extraordinaire, had died at age 96. He was one of 15 children and spent his life in service as a butler, bartender and finally a cocktail maker! He was always such a cheerful presence at a party, remembering exactly how you liked your drink served. His obituary is here.

A few years ago, a friend was visiting from the UK, and I wanted to serve Southsides. I couldn’t rustle up Mr. Lee, so another friend whose shop we were visiting, zipped back to his house and brought me a bottle of Mr. Lee’s mix, because he couldn’t stand the fact that I’d serve anything less than the best. And Mr. Lee would drop off a case of mix at my mother’s house when my brother would be coming into town, so he could stock-pile it at home.image

RIP dear Mr. Lee.


  1. Where does one get a bottle of Mr. Lee's mix?? Sounds and looks divine!


    1. You don't. His nephew or someone makes it, but it ain't the same.

    2. Goodness gracious, Meg we are sorry to hear of the passing of a Baltimore icon. But the caveat "it ain't the same" in what way?? Mr Lee's mix had the proper ratio of (blank) to (blank) I dare say the not so fancy bottle certainly has a fantastic shape. Green for limes???? certainly some food scientist ran some tests to isolate the ingredients??? The internet research begins....

    3. Just doesn't have the same taste. The experts have declared this, and I have corroborated. If you try it, add the tiniest bit of fresh ginger to the mix. I think that's the secret - but don't tell!

  2. What a lovely man. Does the recipe die with him?

  3. “The soul takes flight to the world that is invisible but there arriving he is sure of bliss and forever dwells in paradise.”
    ― Plato

  4. Very sad news. Thank you for your efforts to rustle up the proper Southside mix when I was in Baltimore. The drinks were superb.

  5. ....gives a whole new meaning to the "heavenly cocktail hour" now that he has left us......

  6. 96 - wow!!! Is that S and J's kitchen? Any more of that bottle left?


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