The gladiator cocktail is a drop shot like the Irish car bomb. You pour the liqueurs into a shot glass, drop that glass into a larger glass filled with the mixers and "shoot" the entire drink. In this case, the liqueurs are amaretto and Southern Comfort (SoCo), and you may hear it called a SoCo drop shot.
You will want to be careful, though, because the loose shot glass has been known to chip a few teeth over the years. Consider yourself warned. Of course, you can skip that and simply down the shot and chase it with the sparkling orange juice. Either way, it's a fun drink that is actually quite good.
Be aware that this is going to be a messy drink. Spilled and splashed orange juice is going to need to be wiped up, and you'll probably have to get some orange juice stains out of your clothes as well. If you are drinking these at home, put down a spill-friendly plastic tablecloth and try to keep your guests constrained to where they won't be spilling on the carpet.
Pour the amaretto and Southern Comfort into a shot glass.
Pour the soda and juice into an old-fashioned glass or other lowball glass.
Drop the shot glass into the other glass and down the drink.
How Strong is the Gladiator Shot?
In reality, the gladiator may be one of the weakest shooters you will drink. It may surprise you to know that this shot can be as low as 5 percent ABV (10 proof) if made with 70-proof Southern Comfort, 21-proof amaretto, and a 4-ounce chaser. Of course, your choice in liqueurs and how much juice and soda you pour will affect this, but the fact is that it can be a mild drink.
Making the Best Gladiator SoCo Drop Shot
Quality may not be what you are after when you have fun with drop shots, but why not make it the best? Fresh-squeezed orange juice will taste the best. A medium orange will give you the 2 ounces of fresh juice for this cocktail.
While you could use a different whiskey, Southern Comfort is crafted to be a smooth-drinking whiskey that, along with the amaretto, makes this an easy-drinking shot. It has fruit and spice accents that go well with the orange juice.
For the amaretto, you could choose a premium brand such as Disaronno Originale, which proudly states it began producing this almond-flavored liqueur in 1525. The mythology is that it hearkens back to a Renaissance painter whose model for a painting of the Madonna gave him apricot kernels soaked in brandy. Even today, the flavor most detect as almond-like in the liqueur usually comes from apricot pits.