The Alabama Slammer has been around since the 70s, and there are a few minor variations on it. The most common version blends Southern Comfort with amaretto, sloe gin and orange juice. Just thinking about it could make your mouth water.
The Southern Comfort in an Alabama Slammer
Southern Comfort is a whiskey-based liqueur that was originally developed in New Orleans. It has a complex flavor of apricot or peach, with spice and notes from whiskey.
You can buy it in different proof levels. The flavor profile stays roughly the same, buy the whiskey notes get a little stronger. For this drink, you should use the higher proof version because that’s all the hard liquor this drink is going to get.
What the Alabama Slammer tastes like
In this recipe, the cherry notes from the amaretto and sloe gin almost dominate the Southern Comfort. But this is one of those drinks where you can’t easily identify different notes.
It all blends wonderfully into one sweet, fruity flavor. It has a good balance of sweetness and tartness, and it’s never boring.
At this point, we need to talk about sloe gin. Most of the bottles you find of it are sickeningly sweet, like a berry syrup rather than anything to do with gin. You may have had sloe gin like this before and decided it was disgusting.
But not all sloe gins are created equal. A higher quality sloe gin has tartness, depth and a higher proof. If you can find Plymouth Sloe Gin, that’s a good bottle for this drink.
If you can’t find it, look for a sloe gin that’s a little higher proof than other brands. Something in the 40-50 proof range. (That’s 20-25% alcohol.)
But no matter what sloe gin you or your bartender use, the Southern Comfort’s spiced whiskey flavor adds a note that’s nice and mellow. Combined with the orange juice’s much-needed tartness, it keeps the drink from being overly sweet.
So if you use the higher proof Southern Comfort and the higher proof sloe gin, you will get a decent amount of kick in this drink even though it has none of the standard hard liquors. And that’s how it was meant to be made.
You may occasionally find a bar that uses lower proof ingredients, and in that case, it’s going to be a fairly lightweight drink. It will still have some kick, just not as much as a typical cocktail.
But in any case, it’s also got a good bit of orange juice. It’s the kind of drink you’re supposed to sip and savor, enjoying the taste of it. Often, you only need one or two at most.
Variations on the Alabama Slammer
If you want to make it stronger, you could replace an ounce of the orange juice with rum or vodka. It will change the flavor profile a little because the orange is there to balance those berry notes. But you might like it that way.
Alabama Slammers are perfect for drinking by the pool or serving at a barbecue. They’re great for hot afternoons, or for unwinding at the end of a long work week.
Some restaurants mix them up by the pitcher, which is also something you can do at home for a get-together. That makes it easy for guests to serve themselves refills so you don’t have to tend bar the whole time.
And it’s a drink that most people enjoy. That’s what makes it a classic. If you’re serving it, just have some beer or wine on hand for anyone who doesn’t like it.
The Hawaiian Redneck is all about the pineapple juice, but it also has rum and Southern Comfort. That makes for a tasty drink that feels tropical, but with a twist.