The Eastside Cocktail is delicious, super refreshing and easy to make! With cucumber, lime, mint and gin, it's a great combination to sip on a hot afternoon. This drink is a riff on a Southside, with just the cucumber added to make it even more refreshing.
This drink was developed in 2004 by bartender George Delgado at Libation in New York City. Although it was originally served as a highball with ice and seltzer, it's now often served up, without ice.
Just as the Southside can be considered a riff on the Gimlet, this drink adds on to the formula by adding fresh cucumber. The addition of the cucumber is inspired, as the bright cucumber flavor goes perfectly with the lime and mint.
You can also check out this Cucumber Gin Spritzer for a light and summery drink with similar flavors!
Here are the ingredients you'll need to have on hand to make this simple and fresh cocktail.
- Gin - I used Hendrick's Gin in this cocktail, which is a great fit since it already has some cucumber flavors in it. A London dry gin would also work great.
- Lime juice - preferably freshly squeezed
- Simple syrup - see my Simple Syrup recipe for how to make your own (it's so easy!)
- Fresh mint
- Fresh cucumber
This is a pretty simple recipe, so substituting anything will change the taste a lot. You can substitute the lime juice with lemon juice, which will make the drink a tiny bit less sour, but still delicious.
If you don't have any simple syrup, you can substitute in maple syrup. Or, just dissolve 1 tablespoon of sugar into ¾ ounce of water, which will make a 1:1 simple syrup. (See my simple syrup post for more info on different ways to make it at home.)
Looking for different ways to spice up this drink? Try these variations:
- Spicy Eastside - muddle 2 to 3 slices of fresh jalapeño along with the cucumber for a spicy and peppery kick.
- Basil Eastside - instead of fresh mint, try switching in fresh basil leaves. They have a similar flavor profile and are delicious for a new take on this drink.
- Eastside Highball - instead of serving this drink up (without ice in a stemmed glass), serve it in a tall highball glass filled with ice, and top it off with seltzer. This is the way the drink was originally developed, and it's really delicious this way!
- Eastside Spritz - make the drink as per the recipe, but reduce the gin by half. Add it to a spritz glass filled with ice and top with 3 ounces of Prosecco. A delicious and bubbly option!
Remember, if you don't have a cucumber on hand, just make it a Southside!
To make this drink, you'll need a cocktail shaker and strainer, a jigger or small measuring cup, and a muddler. If you're using fresh citrus, you'll also want to have a citrus juicer along with a knife and cutting board.
For the garnish in the photos, use a vegetable peeler to slice a long strip of the cucumber. Then, thread it onto a cocktail pick. Be careful not to nick your finger -- press it downward into a cutting board as you get close to the end of the strip.
The serving glass I used is a Nick and Nora cocktail glass. Look for a glass capacity of about 5 ounces, since the muddled cucumber will add a little more liquid and be too much for a 4 ounce glass.
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To make this drink, start out by making the garnish. Use a vegetable peeler to cut a long strip of cucumber, and thread it onto a cocktail pick. (It's a little easier to use the portion of cucumber where there are no seeds, as the pick will have a harder time holding the seeded section in place).
Set the garnish aside and cut some slices of your cucumber. Add them along with the lime juice to a cocktail shaker. Muddle well, until the cucumber is mashed up.
Then, add the mint leaves to the shaker and muddle again, but more gently this time. (If you over-muddle the mint, it can give the drink an unpleasant bitterness.) You could also skip the mint muddling and just clap it between your hands instead.
After that, add the simple syrup and gin to the cocktail shaker.
Fill the shaker with ice and shake about 15-20 times.
Strain the drink into your serving glass. Add the cucumber garnish to the top of the glass, and then add on a sprig of mint if you'd like. Serve immediately.
Hint: If you want to get a little extra kick of lime aroma, squeeze a piece of lime peel over top of the drink just before serving.
Frequently Asked Questions
An Eastside is a gin cocktail made with lime juice, simple syrup, fresh mint, and fresh cucumber.
The easiest way to flavor your cocktail with cucumber is to muddle fresh cucumber. Cucumbers have a lot of water, and they release their flavor easily as you mash them up.
The best gin for cucumber flavored drinks is Hendrick's Gin, which is already lightly infused with a cucumber flavor. For a more budget-friendly option, Aviation Gin or Citadelle Gin also work great with cucumber. Any London Dry style of gin will also work fine.
You can amp up the flavor of this drink by flavoring your simple syrup. Try a mint syrup by making your own simple syrup and letting the mint steep in the hot syrup while it cools. This is the same method as my Sage Syrup recipe.
- 1 Citrus juicer (if you're using fresh lime)
- 1 Knife and cutting board (if you're using fresh lime)
- 1 Vegetable peeler (for garnish)
- 1 Cocktail pick (for garnish)
- 2 ounces gin (I used Hendrick's Gin)
- 1 ounce lime juice (preferably freshly squeezed)
- ¾ ounce simple syrup
- 3-4 slices fresh cucumber
- 6-8 fresh mint leaves, plus a sprig for garnish
- Use the vegetable peeler to peel long strips of the cucumber. Peel until you get a strip that is the width and length you want. Keep the strip pretty thin so it will bend easily.
- Gently fold the cucumber strip into a loose zigzag, and thread the strip onto a cocktail pick. Set this part of the garnish aside.
- Add the lime juice and cucumber slices to the bottom of your cocktail shaker.
- Muddle the juice and cucumber together.
- Add in the mint leaves and gently muddle a few times more.
- Add in the simple syrup and gin.
- Fill the shaker with ice and shake about 15-20 times.
- Strain the drink into your serving glass.
- Rest the cucumber garnish on top of the glass. Add a mint sprig and serve.
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