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Aug 29, 2014
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By the Book: Molly Wellmann’s Southside

January 21st 12:01pm, 2014



Unlike many of my colleagues at Sauce, I’ve never been a big fan of gin. It doesn’t help that my first exposure to the spirit came when a server mixed up my vodka and tonic with my dad’s gin and tonic (ordered “easy on the tonic”). I’ve since tried it in other cocktails, but it always comes off too herbaceous, too floral, too … ginny. Apparently I’m more of a beer and bourbon girl.

So when Molly Wellmann claimed in her book Handcrafted Cocktails that she had a drink that could win over gin haters like me, I had to try it. Handcrafted Cocktails is the perfect resource for the wannabe bartender. The first two chapters are devoted to bartending tools and techniques (Yes, you do need to measure, and no, you do not shake a martini.), basic spirit recommendations and homemade mixers.

The rest of the book is divided into chapters based on when one should drink that particular cocktail: morning, afternoon, happy hour, dinner or after dinner. Some of the cocktails are Wellmann’s own creations while most are classic cocktails with the history behind them. Wellmann proves herself quite the history buff with her knowledge of Prohibition-era drinking, when many of today’s classic cocktails were born, including her gin-converting drink.





The Southside, she explains, was created in Chicago during Prohibition, when local gangs made bathtub gin for speakeasies. The gin was so terrible that bartenders added sugar, lemon and mint to hide the taste. My thoughts exactly. Still, Wellmann said the Southside is perfect “to convince people gin can taste good (especially if you think you hate gin because you’ve only had gin and tonic form a bar gun).” Very well. Challenge accepted.

The ingredients seemed simple and not nearly strong enough to disguise the taste. I took a hesitant sip. And then another. And another, just to be sure I wasn’t missing something. This was actually good. The sharp gin I expected to assault my palate was mellowed by the sweet-sour punch of the triple sec and lemon, and the fresh mint actually enhanced pleasant herbal notes in the spirit. Touché, Wellmann.




1 Serving

1½ oz. gin
½ oz. lemon juice, freshly squeezed
½ oz. triple sec
6 mint leaves

• Add all the ingredients to a mixing glass. Fill with ice and shake. Double strain into a cocktail glass. Garnish with additional mint leaves.

 Reprinted with permission with Betterway Home Books

What surprising cocktail or other beverage made you drink your words? Tell us about it in the comments section below for a chance to win a copy of Handcrafted Cocktails. We’ll announce the winner in next week’s By the Book column.

And now, we’d like to congratulate Aspin, whose comment on last week’s By the Book column has won a copy of Tipsy Texan. Aspin, keep an eye out for an email from the Sauce crew!



By Catherine Klene

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6 Responses to “By the Book: Molly Wellmann’s Southside”

  1. Jim Says:
    January 28th, 2014 at 1:45 pm

    Prior to a trip to Spain in 2012, I too associated gin with boring gin-and-tonics. Not that they were bad, but it was never a drink that I would order. However, after seeing Spaniards imbibing creative-yet-simple gin concoctions in Madrid and other cities, I decided to try it. The first attempt was a simple Hendrixs, but poured table-side into a giant ice-filled wine goblet over dill and English cucumber, with a house-made tonic. I was hooked. It seemed that every bar had a little twist on how they served gin, but all in a simple fashion. It’s become my go-to spirit during hot summer days ever since.

  2. Amanda Says:
    January 28th, 2014 at 1:58 pm

    I travelled to Grecce last summer and fell in love with Mastika. It is a liquor flavored with resin from different trees. It was a surprisingly tasty shot but was an excellent component in a drink I enjoyed at my hotel bar. They used Mastika, blood orange juice and champagne. The Mastika gave it just a hint if sweetness. Yum!

  3. Pari Says:
    January 28th, 2014 at 2:12 pm

    Definitely the Sangria. After drinking the watered down wine, unknown liquour, limp fruit, fizzy water concoction at many places I had given up on the Sangria. Then one glorious day we had Sangria at a little Mexican place close to the Grand Canyon. It was bubbly, tangy, a little sweet with some good tequila and fresh fruit in it. That day I radically changed how I view the Sangria. Now I know enough to make a great batch at home.

  4. Kat Says:
    January 28th, 2014 at 3:09 pm

    Arak! I had it in a small village in Indonesia, and while the first drink tasted weirdly of sausages, it definitely grew on me – especially after the first one was down!

  5. Sara Graham Says:
    January 28th, 2014 at 4:02 pm

    While I have a great deal of respect for chartreuse, the taste has always been a bit of a challenge for me. That all changed last month when Ted Kilgore made his “The Last Word” for me at Planter’s House – absolutely divine! Perfectly balanced, not too overpowering, 100% delicious.

  6. Katy Says:
    January 29th, 2014 at 12:10 pm

    Honeywine in Ethiopia. Fermented honey, spices, fruits, and grains…not what I expected and definitely grew on me!!

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