Southern Comfort is a brand that everyone knows. Go to any bar and you will see it showcased with your favourite mixer or blended into a cocktail. But have you ever tried it straight? Over a couple of cubes of ice? It’s a rarity you ever hear this spirit called over a bar to be drunk neat, but for me, a spirit is created to be drunk on its own. Add anything to it means your after a longer drink. This trend is now the social norm, but Southern Comfort is one of those liqueurs that can easily start a resurgence in drinking on the rocks. Why I hear you ask? Southern Comfort is unique with its blends of spice, natural fruits and whisky flavours – and it’s been around since 1874. An old-timer to lead a comeback? Well here’s some reasons of why Southern Comfort is still considered the general from New Orleans.
Martin Wilkes Heron was born July 4th 1850 in St. Louis Missouri and made a living as a bartender. M.W. Heron was pouring drinks at McCauley’s Saloon in New Orleans when he realized his customers were after a smoother, more refined drink. So, he experimented with fruits, spices and flavors to create “Cuffs and Buttons.” M.W. Heron renamed “Cuffs and Buttons” as Southern Comfort and his creation was dubbed “The Grand Old Drink of the South” at the World’s Industrial and Cotton Centennial Exposition. Even back then, Southern Comfort was in a category all its own and in 1889 Heron bottled Southern Comfort for the very first time. In 1898, M.W. Heron registered his Southern Comfort trademark with the U.S. Patent Office and printed the bottle with his promise, “None Genuine But Mine,” which you can still find on every bottle today.
At the Paris World Exposition in 1900, the world took notice as Southern Comfort was awarded a Gold Medal for quality and fine taste. Four years later, the world’s first Southern Comfort cocktail was created – the St. Louis Cocktail, showcased at the World’s Fair. Unfortunately M.W. Heron died in St. Louis, Missouri in 1920 but luckily entrusted his secret recipe upon his colleague, Grant M. Peoples.
After the end of Prohibition, Southern Comfort made a comeback with its new ‘flute’ styled bottle as well as the illustration of Woodland Plantation, located along the Mississippi River near New Orleans. Hollywood beckoned in 1939 as they celebrated the release of the film “Gone with the Wind” and created the Scarlet O’Hara cocktail. With this, the international market started to take notice and the UK experienced Southern Comfort for the very first time in 1945. In 1988, sales reached 200,000 cases worldwide.
So with a rather rich history involving a gentleman with a vision, how does Southern Comfort fare? Well below i give to you my tasting notes –
Southern Comfort – 35%
A slow release of spice on the nose followed by sweetness and aromas of fresh red fruit. The sweetness carries onto the palate with the fruit becoming riper. A little spice hit near the long end.
Southern Comfort Bold Black Cherry – 35%
Sweet nose with lots of cherry aromas dancing. A well-balanced texture on the palate with fresh cherry flavours being drawn out over the long offering.
Now as mentioned, Southern Comfort is great on its own, and with their experimental flavours coming out with the likes of Cherry, Lime and Fiery Pepper they have started to claim a taste that everyone can enjoy. But if you do prefer a Southern Comfort cocktail, maybe try this –
45ml Southern Comfort
45ml Sweet and Sour Mix
45ml Orange Juice
45ml Pineapple Juice
Splash of Grenadine
Stir all ingredients together in an ice filled glass. Garnish with an orange wedge and cherry.
Easy, refreshing and delicious – on its own that is! Maybe give Southern Comfort a go over ice. Theres no harm in asking and if you think it needs a splash of lemonade or you would like to see it in a Southern Hurricane, then your bartender, or indeed you yourself at home, can easily create no trouble at all.
Check out the rest of the photos, taken at The Circle 360 and Exchange Bar & Grill, via my Facebook page.
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