The Alabama Slammer might just be the most ’70s of all the bright and fruity 1970s cocktails. Its base blend of amaretto, sloe gin and Southern Comfort stands in total defiance of what one would expect from a staunch Southern sipper. Yet the drink looms large below the Mason-Dixon line and beyond.
The Alabama Slammer is one of those drinks that, on paper, is confusing. Southern Comfort (or SoCo, if you prefer) is a whiskey-based liqueur with notes of fruit and spice. Sloe gin is made from small, tart berries that grow wild in England, and amaretto is the sweet and nutty liqueur best known for its starring role in the Amaretto Sour. Those seemingly disparate ingredients are brought into alignment with the citrusy bite of orange juice and some welcome dilution that occurs when you shake everything together. (For the best results, squeeze a couple oranges for a fresher, better-tasting drink.)
Said to have been born at the University of Alabama, the Slammer is a go-to at Crimson Tide tailgates, where it’s often served as a shot. And slamming one back certainly gets the point across. The nutty, herbal notes, backed by baking spices and citrus, come through loud and clear in a single bite.
But to truly appreciate the unique blend of ingredients that comprise the Alabama Slammer, shake everything up with plenty of ice and serve it in a tall glass. The flavors will loosen up and unfold at a leisurely pace, leaving you with a mellower, more Southern-tasting drink.
After an impressive run through the ’70s, ’80s and ’90s, the Alabama Slammer has lost some of its appeal. But it remains a popular drink in its home state and continues to find eager patrons at college bars across the country who appreciate its fruity flavor and heady effects. See what all the fuss is about by mixing up one for yourself. At the least, it’s a lesson in synergy and a reminder that even the most discordant components can come together to form a tasty, refreshing drink.
- 1 ounce Southern Comfort
- 1 ounce sloe gin
- 1 ounce amaretto liqueur
- 2 ounces orange juice, freshly squeezed
- Garnish: orange wedge
Add all the ingredients into a shaker with ice and shake until well-chilled.
Strain into a highball glass over fresh ice. Or, if serving as a shot, divide among shot glasses.
Garnish with an orange wedge.