Between the rain and the heat, our mint patch is taller than a hedge and as leggy as it usually is in late August. We've tried to keep up through diligent production of our favorite summer cocktails, mint juleps and mojitos. But it gets boring to always celebrate the end of the week with the same thing.
With the return of "Mad Men" on Sunday, I needed a new cocktail.
Enter the Southside. The recipe ran in the Observer several weeks ago, in a Chicago Tribune story on the gin trend. When I saw the ingredients, I had to try it: Mint, lime, simple syrup and gin.
One sip and I was sold. Sweet but not cloying, minty enough to be refreshing, with that tart bite of lime juice. Shaken and served very cold, it was a revelation that reminded me of the New Year's Eve long ago when we watched "Some Like It Hot" and got curious about Marilyn's drink, the Manhattan. I fell in love that time, too.
In case you missed it, here's the recipe again. Don Draper might stick with Rob Roys, but I think Betty would really like a Southside.
3 mint sprigs, divided (we use a little more)
2 ounces gin
3/4 ounce fresh lime juice
3/4 ounce simple syrup (see note)
1 small dash Angostura bitters
Bruise two sprigs of mint gently in a cocktail shaker. Add remaining ingredients. Add ice. Shake. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with remaining mint sprig.
Simple syrup: Mix equal parts sugar and water in a saucepan. Bring to a boil, stirring, and cook just a couple of minutes, until sugar is dissolved. Cool and store in the refrigerator.