The Alabama Slammer has a short history, though both this highball and the shooter of the same name were hits at the bar from the 1970s through the '80s. They were popular among the college crowds of the time, particularly at the University of Alabama where the drinks supposedly originated.
Which came first, the shot or the tall drink? It's hard to tell, but the shot may very well have been first. Either way, the Alabama Slammer does have a strong correlation with Alabama's Crimson Tide football team.
The ingredients are the same in both Alabama Slammers, though in this mixed drink there is substantially more orange juice. The Southern Comfort (popularly just called SoCo) adds an apricot-peachy flavor that mixes well with the amaretto and sloe gin.
Admittedly, the Alabama Slammer is not as popular today as it was a few decades ago. It was created during a time when bartenders were mixing up some very strong, very sweet drinks. Even the SoCo and sloe gin used here are not used as much today as they once were. It is a good throwback drink and fun to share with friends.
Gather the ingredients.
In a cocktail shaker filled with ice, pour the Southern Comfort, amaretto, sloe gin, and orange juice.
Strain into a highball glass with fresh ice.
Garnish with an orange wheel and cherry.
Serve and enjoy!
- If you prefer, build the drink directly in the serving glass. Stir it well to ensure the flavors are fully mixed and become one.
- Sloe gin is a liqueur and not a true gin (though it's sometimes used as the base liquor). Flavored with sloes, the fruit of a blackthorn bush, many of the sloe gins you find at the liquor store are extraordinarily sweet and can easily overpower this drink. If you have one of these, pour only 1/2 ounce of sloe gin and make up the difference with orange juice.
- Rather than pick up the cheapest bottle of sloe gin, spend a little more money and you'll improve all your sloe gin drinks. Plymouth Sloe Gin and Monkey 47 Sloe Gin are great options.
- One Alabama Slammer recipe uses a dash of grenadine rather than sloe gin and as much as 4 ounces of orange juice. The Southern Comfort and amaretto remain at 1-ounce pours.
- Other recipes use both grenadine and sloe gin, which will create a very sweet drink and may require more orange juice.
- Many variations on the Alabama Slammer add an extra kick with either vodka or bourbon, or both. Some add a 1-ounce shot of one of those liquors while other recipes skip the amaretto and pour 1 ounce of both liquors, then knock the sloe gin back to 3/4 ounce.
- At Gallettes Tuscaloosa, a bar near the Alabama football stadium where thousands of these drinks are served on game day, it's known as a yellow hammer. It mixes equal parts of vodka, light rum, and amaretto with orange and pineapple juices.
How Strong Is an Alabama Slammer?
SoCo is available at various strengths, from 42 proof up to 100 proof. Assuming you pour the strongest version, the Alabama Slammer will have an alcohol content of 18 percent ABV (36 proof). That's pretty potent for a highball drink and a couple of rounds will have you feeling the alcohol's effects.