The Alabama slammer comes in two forms: this shooter and a refreshing highball. They contain the same ingredients, but with slightly different proportions to account for the volume. It is a fun and fruity shot drink that was once far more popular than it is today, though it is still worthy of note.
Inside the Alabama slammer, you will find sloe gin, amaretto, and the sweet fruity taste of Southern Comfort. It is finished off with a touch of orange juice, resulting in a rather tasty shot.
Drinks like the Alabama slammer may not be as popular as they once were, but they are good throwback drinks. Serve it at retro-themed parties or when celebrating a University of Alabama Crimson Tide victory.
Gather the ingredients.
In a cocktail shaker filled with ice, pour the sloe gin, amaretto, Southern Comfort, and orange juice.
Serve and enjoy!
This shot shakes up to about 2 1/4 ounces. Unless it's a tall one, that might not fit into your shot glass. The solution is to strain it into a rocks glass or create two shorter shots and share it with a friend.
As it often goes with drinks that have long-standing popularity, there are a number of ways to make the Alabama slammer. Try one of these versions instead, they're all made the same way: shake it, strain it, and shoot it.
- With Lime and Grenadine: Mix 1 ounce each amaretto and Southern Comfort with 1/2 ounce each lime juice and grenadine.
- With Lemon: Mix 1/2 ounce sloe gin with 1 ounce each amaretto and Southern Comfort and add a dash of lemon juice.
- With Whiskey and Crème de Noyaux: Mix 1/2 ounce each amaretto, whiskey, orange juice, and creme de noyaux (or amaretto).
Why So Many Alabama Slammers?
The story of the Alabama slammer says that it was created in the 1970s near the University of Alabama. The school colors include crimson, which is the color of this shot.
During that era, pro and amateur bartenders were throwing anything (and everything) into drinks and some bizarre mixes were created. The drinks were often super sweet and very fruity and included ingredients like the sloe gin and Southern Comfort found in the Alabama slammer (both of which have also since lost their mass appeal).
For one reason or another, people started to switch up this recipe. It seems that the point was not always what was in the Alabama slammer, but the final color. Maybe one person didn't have sloe gin or another had a bottle of whiskey. If it was red and included amaretto, it seemed perfectly logical to call it an Alabama slammer. These "what's in the bar" adaptations happened to many drinks—the rum runner is another perfect example.
What Kind of Alcohol Is Southern Comfort?
Southern Comfort (or SoCo, for short) is one of those mystery liquors that often confuses drinkers. It's familiar and you know how it tastes, but you really don't know what it is. It has always looked like whiskey and had flavor nuances of whiskey, but Southern Comfort hasn't always included actual whiskey.
The story began in 1874 when Martin Wilkes Heron added fruits and spices to mask the harsh taste of whiskey he was serving at a New Orleans saloon. It caught on with drinkers and was marketed as Southern Comfort. Though the taste has remained similar, the recipe changed over the years as the brand was bought and sold by large liquor companies. For years, it was made with a neutral grain spirit similar to vodka and (not always) a hint of bourbon. It's unclear if it was aged, but it did contain sugar as well, so it was technically a liqueur.
In 2017, the Sazerac Company purchased the brand and revised the recipe to include real whiskey from their own stock. The recipe remains a secret—the fruit flavor is dominated by apricot, though many drinkers note a peachy taste. The brand cunningly labels it as "Spirit whiskey with natural flavors and caramel color." It is definitely not bourbon because it includes additives. Until more is revealed, the best description remains that Southern comfort is a whiskey-based liqueur flavored with fruits and spices. Beyond the original 70-proof version, it's also available in 80-proof and 100-proof bottlings.
How Strong Is an Alabama Slammer?