The bright and fruity Alabama Slammer is just about the most nostalgic of all the sweet 1970s cocktails. The combination of Southern Comfort, sloe gin, and amaretto may not be the blend you expect to come from the South, but the Slammer has been a Southern favorite for decades. It’s wonderfully sweet and tart flavors give this cocktail a graceful balance that is never boring.
The Alabama Slammer History
Often served as a shot at Crimson Tide tailgates, the Slammer is believed to have been created at the University of Alabama in 1971, where it remains a staple. And, staying true to its name, slamming back a shot of this drink definitely clears up any confusion about this being a Southern-favorite. Its citrus and spices beautifully entangle themselves with nutty, herbal notes, making a strikingly unique statement.
Southern Comfort has fruit and spice in its whiskey base. Sloe gin is made with small, tart berries that grow wild in England. Amaretto is a liqueur with sweet cherry and nutty flavors and is most commonly recognized in the Amaretto Sour. The unlikely grouping of these three ingredients is fused beautifully with the sharp citrus of orange juice, and the dilution from the ice blends it all for a smooth, delicious cocktail. Fresh-squeezed oranges make for a refreshingly crisp drink.
This whiskey-based liqueur was developed originally in New Orleans. Its complex flavors of peach or apricot with the spice pairs perfectly with the oak notes of the whiskey. Southern Comfort is available in different proof levels and while the flavor mostly stays the same, the whiskey notes do get a bit stronger. For the Slammer, the higher proof whiskey is typically used as it adds to the punch the drink provides.
While drinking as a shot is definitely an option for some, those seeking a more refined appreciation for the combination of flavors may want to use a cocktail shaker full of ice to shake the ingredients and serve in a tall glass. With this preparation method, the flavors will comingle and dance on your palate with a more Southern, relaxed experience.
- 1 ounce of Southern Comfort
- 1 ounce of amaretto liqueur
- 1 ounce of sloe gin
- 2 ounces of orange juice, preferably freshly squeezed
- orange wedge as garnish
- Fill a cocktail shaker with ice
- In the shaker, combine Southern Comfort, amaretto, and sloe gin
- Add orange juice and shake
- Fill a highball glass with fresh ice
- Strain into the glass
- If serving this cocktail as a shot, pour into shot glasses after shaking
- Add an orange wedge for garnish
Since the 1970s the Slammer has been a popular drink nationwide, especially among college bars with patrons who appreciate the fruity flavors that mask the high alcohol content. While it has lost some of its original momentum, it continues to be a go-to cocktail across its home state. Mix one up for yourself today and see how even the most seemingly unlikely components can create a beautiful harmony with impressive gusto.