Cocktails in the 70s were bright, colorful, sweet, and fruity. And as a true drink from that era, the Alabama Slammer ticks all those boxes. Still, the combination of ingredients stands out and isn't something you will come across very often.
Quick Facts Alabama Slammer Cocktail
- Method: shaken
- Flavor profile: fruity, well-balanced
- How to serve it: over ice
- Best glassware: collins glass
- Alcohol content: ~ 13.5% ABV, 23 grams of alcohol per serving
We like the version of Simon Difford best, which slightly reduces the sweetness of the original recipe to improve the balance of flavors by using Sloe Gin instead of grenadine.
- 1 Lemon squeezer
- 1 Jigger
- 1 Mixing glass
- 1 Bar spoon
- 1 Hawthorne Strainer
- 1 oz Vodka
- 0.75 oz Southern Comfort - (70 to 80 proof, 35% to 40% ABV)
- 0.5 oz Amaretto
- 0.5 oz Sloe Gin
- 2.5 oz Fresh orange juice
- 0.5 oz Fresh lemon juice
- 1 orange slice - optional - for garnish
- 1 maraschino cherry - optional - for garnish
- Add all ingredients into a cocktail shaker filled with ice and shake until the contents are well-chilled.1 oz Vodka, 0.75 oz Southern Comfort, 0.5 oz Amaretto, 0.5 oz Sloe Gin, 2.5 oz Fresh orange juice, 0.5 oz Fresh lemon juice
- Strain the drink into an ice-filled Collins glass.
- Garnish with a slice of orange and a Maraschino cherry.1 orange slice, 1 maraschino cherry
Ingredients and Suggestions
The Alabama Slammer requires a total of six ingredients: Vodka, Southern Comfort, Sloe Gin, Amaretto, orange, and lemon juice:
Southern Comfort: a whiskey-based liqueur with fruity and spicy notes.
Amaretto: a distinctly almond-flavored liqueur from Italy, usually made from apricot and peach kernels. Our favorite is the bestseller from Disaronno. Also, use it in other drinks like the Amaretto Sour and the French Connection.
Vodka: No part of the original recipe, but necessary to achieve better balance. Using vodka as a base for the Alabama Slammer will increase strength and reduce the sweetness. -The neutral spirit won't alter the overall flavor.
Citrus Juices: To improve the acid-sweetness ratio, add a bit of freshly squeezed lemon juice to the mix - also no part of the original. Yet, we don't replace orange juice completely. That remains a key ingredient of the drink. Thus, make it freshly squeezed, as well.
Sloe Gin: is a rather unusual ingredient in cocktails. It is a berry liqueur based on gin. Sloes are small red berries that give the liqueur its typical, deep red color. For instance, Elephant Gin offers a pretty good one bottled at 35% ABV.
TIP: With so many sweet elements - Southern Comfort, Sloe Gin, and Amaretto or all liqueurs with the expected sugar content- you have to get the balance right, so measure your ingredients carefully.
Variations - The Alabama Slammer Shot
The name tells you as much: the Alabama Slammer Cocktail can be served short and "slammed down" in one go. To turn this recipe into a shot, you omit the vodka and the lemon and mix the remaining ingredients in equal parts:
- 0.5 oz Southern Comfort
- 0.5 oz Sloe Gin
- 0.5 oz Amaretto
- 0.5 oz orange juice (or 0.25 orange & 0.25 lemon juice)
As you can see, with a volume of 2oz, this is quite the party shot. If this is too much, just use half of the measurements above
History of the Alabama Slammer
It seems most likely that, initially, the Alabama Slammer was a shot first served in the late 1960s at the University of Alabama. That would also explain the name of the cocktail. Only over time did the shooter evolve into a long drink.
Earlier assumptions were that the first written appearance of the Alabama Slammer was in Playboy's Bartender Guide, published in 1971.
However, there's no documentation or other proof to support those claims. Neither the edition from '71 nor the next print from 1972 contains an Alabama Slammer.
All you can find is an Alabama -and no Slammer- with a significantly different list of ingredients.
In 1984 an Alabama Slammer recipe was published in Mr. Boston's 50th Anniversary Bartender's Guide. And the formula by Mr. Boston uses lemon juice instead of orange juice, which does a better job of balancing the sweet ingredients in this cocktail.
Orange juice was quite a popular cocktail ingredient in the 70s, not only in the Alabama Slammer but also in drinks like a Harvey Wallbanger. If you enjoy these, here are some more recipes you might like: