Variations of the Eastside Cocktail
The eastside has a precise list of ingredients, but you can still play around with a few ideas without losing the spirit of the cocktail.
- Amplify the cucumber flavors by opting for Hendricks gin or, better yet, make your own homemade refreshing cucumber-infused gin.
- Use two to three mint leaves and the same amount of basil leaves for a crisp flavor.
- Whip up a mint simple syrup for a cooler, minty touch. It's especially useful to have on hand if you don't always have mint available.
- Experiment with the gin, lime juice, and simple syrup ratios. Use equal amounts of each, or use less lime juice for something a bit less tart or more simple syrup for a sweeter flavor.
No drink is complete without a garnish, so make sure your eastside gimlet sparkles with any of these ideas and then some!
- Instead of a cucumber ribbon, go ahead and use a cucumber wheel. You can also cut your cucumber wheel into a square or heart shape for a fun touch.
- Garnish with a lime ribbon for a soft citrus touch or a lime wedge, wheel, or slice for a more robust citrus flavor.
- A dehydrated lime wheel adds a deeper green to pop against the background of the cocktail.
- Float a single mint and basil leaf on the top of the cocktail.
The Roots of the Eastside Cocktail
While the eastside cocktail may be new to your coupe glass, its flavors have long been swirling around glasses. Its famous parent cocktail, the south side, is a favorite among imbibers. Rumors abound when you try to find the birth of the south side cocktail, although history favors the story that Chicago, Illinois, is home to the gin gimlet style cocktail. Some say crime mobster Al Capone was a fan of the cocktail as a way to mask his gang's rough profiles of their gin. For those who believe that the south side started at a club in Long Island, a sports club claims to be its home.
As for the east side cocktail, sometimes Hendricks is credited with inventing the riff, using cucumber to highlight their own cucumber notes in their signature gin. The variation is incredibly subtle, as the only ingredient setting the two apart is, in fact, muddled cucumber.
A New Age Gin Gimlet
For gin drinkers, it can be tough to shake up the usual routine: martini, Negroni, or a simple tonic highball. But there's a whole world beyond all those classics, and the Eastside cocktail deserves a chance to surprise and delight new and longtime gin drinkers alike. Its gimlet approach and refreshing cucumber flavors make it a home run all around.