Alabama Slammer

By Timo Torner / Last updated on March 20, 2023

The Alabama Slammer is a beautiful cocktail from the 1970s. The drink, also known as Southern Slammer, is a mix of Southern Comfort, Amaretto, Sloe Gin, and orange juice.
Alabama Slammer cocktail

Cocktails in the 70s were bright, colorful, sweet, and fruity. And as a true drink from the 1970s, the Alabama Slammer ticks all those boxes. 

However, looking at the list of ingredients, one might doubt that this combination could work: Southern Comfort, Sloe GinAmaretto, and orange juice. A list of ingredients that sounds neither like an old-fashioned nor a really refreshing cocktail.

But with a bit of tweaking, you can modernize this somewhat antiqued Alabama Slammer Cocktail. Reduce the sweetness, increase the balance of flavors, and you got yourself an actually ice cocktail.


The Alabama Slammer requires a total of six ingredients: Vodka, Southern Comfort, Sloe Gin, Amaretto, orange, and lemon juice. 

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 and measure your ingredients carefully. But when done right, this drink is surprisingly good.

  • Southern Comfort: a Whiskey-based with fruity and spicy notes.
  • Amaretto: a distinctly almond-flavored liqueur from Italy, usually made from apricot and peach kernels. It's also famous for its use in an Amaretto Sour and the French Connection. Our favorite is the bestseller from Disaronno.
  • Vodka: Not part of the original recipe, but necessary for a better balance. Using Vodka as the base spirit of the Alabama Slammer will increase strength and reduce the sweetness. Also, the neutral spirit won't alter the overall flavor.
  • Citrus Juices: Then, to improve the acid-sweetness ratio, add a bit of freshly squeezed lemon juice to the mix also not part of the original. But we don't replace orange juice completely, since it still is a key ingredient of the drink.
  • Sloe Gin: is a rather unusual ingredient in cocktails. And despite its name, it's not a real Gin. Instead, it is a liqueur based on the juniper-flavored spirit. 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.
Alabama Slammer

History of the Alabama Slammer

According to various online sources, the first written appearance of the Alabama Slammer supposedly was in the 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. I presume that, probably, there was a mix-up somewhere.

Instead, it is more likely that 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 drink. Over time, the shooter evolved into a long drink.

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

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.

Taste of the Alabama Slammer cocktail

When done right, the Alabama Slammer is a sweet and fruity cocktail with just the right level of booziness. The combination of Amaretto and Sloe Gin dominates its taste. The whiskey-based Southern Comfort, together with orange and lemon juice, adds balance, tartness, and complexity to the cocktail.

Also, the drink's color can vary from vibrant and bold orange to bright red, depending on the products and the individual recipe. Our favorite formula is:

Alabama Slammer cocktail

Alabama Slammer

A modern take on the sweet and fruity cocktail from the 1970s.
Prep Time: 3 minutes
Course: Drinks
Cuisine: American
Keyword: amaretto, vodka, whiskey
Servings: 1
Calories: 239kcal
Cost: $3


  • 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


Serving: 6oz | Calories: 239kcal | Carbohydrates: 17.78g | Protein: 0.9g | Fat: 0.2g | Sodium: 2.5mg | Potassium: 150mg | Sugar: 17.78g | Vitamin C: 48.5mg | Calcium: 35mg | Iron: 0.3mg
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

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