Bar for Course

In with the Gin Crowd: Pounding Southsides in “The Birdcage”

Where do you summer? It’s an age-old, distinctly Eastern question, with connotations of shingled beach cottages, dog-eared Cheever novels, and tennis-tightened blondes with duosyllabic nicknames. And of course, gin. Lots of gin. Because Mimi and Gigi did NOT drive three hours from the city for a Fresca.

How you summer, though, we would argue, is a much more relevant line of inquiry—libations are key. And when it comes to doing summer right in the Hamptons, you’re going to have a hard time beating a Southside at “The Birdcage,” the legendary screened-in porch at National Golf Links of America. Cool breezes, ocean air, and one hell of a refreshing cocktail.

But what’s in a Southside, exactly? Well, that depends, particularly around Southampton, as most bartenders won’t divulge their own secret recipe—even at gunpoint, and lord knows we’ve tried. In fact, drink historians can’t even agree on where the cocktail comes from; some say Al Capone used to down them at speakeasies on the South Side of Chicago, others insist that its origins are to be found at Long Island’s own Southside Sportsmen’s Club. Regardless of its provenance, all seem to agree that nothing tastes as good after a long, hot round by the Block Island Sound. And if you’d like to try to make one at home, here’s a basic recipe you can start with:

The Southside Cocktail

  • 2 ounces of gin
  • 1 sprig of mint
  • ¾ ounce of lemon juice
  • ¾ ounce simple syrup
  • Shake with ice and strain into a chilled glass
If it doesn’t look anything like this, you probably did something wrong.

Simple enough? Good. So get out the martini glasses and make Cheever proud. Summer is just around the corner—literally. She just got out of tennis and does NOT want a Fresca.