Simple, delicious, dangerous: The Southside. Photo by Donna Turner Ruhlman.

Mint is still in full flourish here and, having just had two splendid events in Chicago (and one in Milwaukee) I’m reposting this most excellent cocktail occasioned by a visit to the windy city by Brian Polcyn and me on behalf of the newly published Salumi.

This time it was to promote Charcuterie, the updated version (and The Book of Schmaltz). After a really fun conversation with Chandra Ram at Balena to a house packed with cooks young and old, a young man approached me with a new Charcuterie to sign, explaining, “This is the first Charcuterie I’ve bought because every kitchen I’ve ever worked in already had it.” Todd Moore, chef de cuisine at Bartolotta’s Lake Park Bistro in Milwaukee, told a filled room the impact the book has had on chefs, and I wanted to weep with gratitude (he’d just prepared, with exec chef Adam Siegel, a fabulous meal featuring takes on dishes from, Charcuterie, Schmaltz, and Twenty. Such an honor, many thanks to you guys and to Chef Chris Pandel of The Bristol and Balena in Chicago. Also thanks to the man who orchestrated it, Geoffrey Jennings, whose mother has owned the great independent bookstore outside Kansas City, Rainy Day Books, since opening it in 1975.

Now, the drink. I think today I’ll revise it to reflect the new way I’ve been infusing herbs, described recently in The Perfect Mojito post: pulverizing the herbs in a mortar, adding the hooch and letting some of its extracting powers go to work, then straining it through one of my handy reusable straining cloths. Here, gin is the spirit, mint the flavor, plus lemon and simple syrup—a lovely elixir by way of the great food town of Chicago.

Originally Posted October 19, 2012

The Southside

  • handful of mint leaves
  • 60 grams gin
  • 10 grams lemon juice
  • 10 grams simple syrup
  1. Muddle the mint in a mortar. Add the gin, grind the mint some more, and allow it to sit for a few minutes (or longer). Strain it through cloth into a drink stirrer.
  2. Add the remaining ingredients, fill the drink stirrer with ice, and swirl until the drink is very cold, about 90 seconds.
  3. Strain into a chilled martini glass or coupe.
Serves one.
Postscript: My wonderful copyeditor, Karen Wise, has alerted me that there was a terrible shooting in Chicago last night. So far no fatalities, but it’s another unfortunate reminder that Chicago had more homocides last year than any city in the country. Here’s hoping the young men of Chicago begin raising more glasses together in solidarity than guns in anger.

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© 2013 Michael Ruhlman. Photo © 2013 Donna Turner Ruhlman. All rights reserved.


7 Wonderful responses to “Friday Cocktail Hour: The Southside”

  • Elsewhere

    It’s 71° here in my neighborhood in San Francisco, a little bit muggy, and this sounds like the perfect drink, crisp and flavorful, to start off cocktail hour!

  • Allen

    Just tried fat washed bourbon. Please allow me to be frank and honest with my disslike, whiskey does not blend with meat, it precedes, or compliments it.
    Should not be blended together.
    I admire the inventiveness of the drink, but I like the sepperation of church and state and bourbon and meat.
    I smoked some pineapple, quite unique, and a big thank you to Donna for finding that cool place. Very inspiring, but fat washed is not for me. I like distinct bourbon. Separate pleasures not to be mixed.

  • Eric


    What has been updated in the revised Charcuterie? I already own the first edition, anything critical? thanks

  • John Robinson

    Will the updates to Charcuterie be available online to those of us who purchased the original? What all changed?