Mint and cucumber are a refreshing flavor combination for the ages. Put them together on a base of gin with fresh lime juice and you've got some fine summer sippin'.
Classic "sour style" cocktail ratios can take you all over the drink universe.
Some of the all-time greats like Daiquiris, Whiskey Sours and Margaritas all use the 2 parts booze, 1 part citrus, and 1 part sweet (or something close).
The Eastside follows that same timeless ratio for a seriously refreshing Gin Gimlet riff that could probably be downed in about three gulps on a hot summer afternoon. Let's make one!
The Eastside cocktail history
The Eastside cocktail was created by George Delgado in 2004 at the New York City bar Libation. Originally a long (or highball) style cocktail, the recipe went on to be served "up" at the famous Milk & Honey.
The original roots of the drink are from the classic Gimlet which uses the sour style cocktail proportions of gin, lime, and simple syrup. With the addition of mint the recipe morphed into the Southside and finally a few slices of cucumber give us the Eastside.
eastside vs. southside cocktail
The Southside and Eastside cocktails are nearly identical. Both are made with a base of gin, fresh lime juice, simple syrup and mint, the only difference is that the Eastside also uses muddled cucumber.
Eastside cocktail recipe
The Eastside ingredients are:
- 1 oz Fresh Lime Juice: emphasis on the fresh, no Rose's here
- 3/4 oz Simple Syrup: equal parts sugar and water
- 2 oz Gin: any mixing gin you prefer. Beafeater, Cittadelle, and Plymouth are all nice choices
- Cucumber: 2-3 pencil thick slices
- Mint: fresh mint leaves make all the difference
Using 1 oz lime and 3/4 oz simple syrup makes a cocktail with nice balance but if you prefer the drink more sweet or tart just adjust the amount of simple syrup anywhere from 1/2 oz the 1 oz.
How to make an Eastside
Start by adding your gin, lime and simple syrup to a cocktail shaker then drop in 2-3 cucumber slices and firmly muddle into the liquid. Once muddled, and 6 mint leaves and GENTLY press them with your muddler.
Add ice, shake hard for about 10 seconds, and double strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Finish it off with a cool cucumber garnish, or drop in a floating mint leaf.
NOTE: any time there are fresh mint leaves in a cocktail DO NOT muddle them vigorously like you would cucumber or berries.
Mint will give off an earthy bitter taste if muddled too aggressively so be nice to it.
I also prefer to double strain the Eastside because when the mint leaves are shaken with the ice some little pieces will break off. Those little guys will get stuck in your teeth and nobody wants to see that.
Switching out the gin for tequila is a quick way to try a new variation of the Eastside, use 2 oz of blanco tequila instead of gin and keep the rest of the recipe the same.
Can you make an Eastside with vodka?
Of course you can, but it won't exactly be an Eastside anymore. Cocktails with vodka as the base spirit miss out on all the additional flavors of a quality spirit and trading gin for vodka strips away bright botanical notes that go so well with the mint and cucumber!
If you really don't like gin I sure won't stop you from making a vodka Eastside, but give it a try first!
- 2 oz Gin
- 1 oz Fresh Lime Juice
- 3/4 oz Simple Syrup
- 3 Cucumber Slices
- 8-10 Mint Leaves
- Add the gin, lime juice, and simple syrup to your cocktail shaker
- Drop in the cucumber slices and muddle vigorously to mash up the cucumber
- Then add the mint leaves and GENTLY press them with your muddler
- Add ice and shake hard for 10-12 seconds
- Double strain into a chilled cocktail glass and garnish with cucumber or mint
Share the Eastside!
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