Southern Comfort

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Southern Comfort
Southern comfort logo15.png
Southern Comfort
Type Liqueur
Manufacturer Sazerac Company
Country of origin United States
Introduced 1874
Proof (US) 100, 80, 70, 42, 30

Southern Comfort (often abbreviated SoCo) is an American liqueur made from neutral spirits with fruit, spice and whiskey flavoring.[1][2] The brand was originally created by bartender Martin Wilkes Heron in New Orleans in 1874.[3] Since March 1, 2016 the brand has been owned by the Sazerac Company after being sold by the Brown-Forman Group. [4] Sazerac has announced that Southern Comfort's formula will be changed in 2017 to include whiskey as an ingredient, as it was until some time before the brand was sold to Brown-Forman in 1979.[5]

In the US, Southern Comfort is available as 100 US proof (50% ABV), 70 US proof (35% ABV) and 42 US proof (21% ABV). Southern Comfort Special Reserve, found in duty-free shops, is a blend of Southern Comfort and bourbon, and is 80 US proof (40% ABV). Southern Comfort Lime, released in summer 2010, is 55 proof (27.5% ABV) (UK 2013 20% ABV) and Southern Comfort Bold Black Cherry, released in summer 2012, is 70 proof (35% ABV).[6]

Southern Comfort also produces ready-to-pour cocktails available in the US including Southern Comfort Sweet Tea, Southern Comfort Hurricane and Southern Comfort Lemonade, which are all 30 proof (15% ABV).

Southern Comfort has expanded over the years and has several product offerings globally. Outside the US, Southern Comfort produces single-serve cocktails, including Southern Comfort Lemonade and Lime in the UK and Southern Comfort and Cola in Australia.


Southern Comfort bottle with label showing an illustration of Louisiana's Woodland Plantation. The label was redesigned in 2010 by Cue, a Minneapolis design firm.[7]

Southern Comfort was first produced by bartender Martin Wilkes Heron (1850–1920), the son of a boat-builder, in 1874 at McCauley's Tavern in the French Quarter of New Orleans, Louisiana.[3] According to the New Orleans Convention & Visitors Bureau, McCauley's Tavern was "just off Bourbon Street", and the original form of the drink was called Cuffs and Buttons.[2][8]

Heron moved to Memphis, Tennessee in 1889, patented his creation, and began selling it in sealed bottles with the slogan "None Genuine But Mine"[8] and "Two per customer. No Gentleman would ask for more." Southern Comfort won the gold medal at the 1904 World's Fair in St. Louis, Missouri.

In an episode of The Thirsty Traveler entitled "A River of Whiskey", spirits historian Chris Morris describes the original recipe of Southern Comfort. Heron began with good-quality bourbon and would add:

An inch of vanilla bean, about a quarter of a lemon, half of a cinnamon stick, four cloves, a few cherries, and an orange bit or two. He would let this soak for days. And right when he was ready to finish, he would add his sweetener: he liked to use honey.[9]

Since the 1930s, the image on the label of Southern Comfort has been A Home on the Mississippi, a rendering by Alfred Waud depicting Woodland Plantation, an antebellum mansion in West Pointe à la Hache, Louisiana. Woodland Plantation, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, now provides bed-and-breakfast accommodation. In 2010, Southern Comfort was rebranded and the plantation artwork was dropped from the label.[7]

In January 2016 the brand was sold along with Tuaca as part of a $543.5 million deal to Sazerac Company.[10] In 2017, Sazerac announced a shift in sales strategy, seeking to market Southern Comfort more directly as the whiskey drink that many buyers and bartenders have assumed it to be, even though whiskey was replaced by neutral spirits in the formula some time before Brown-Forman bought the brand in 1979. Accordingly, in mid-2017 the formula will be changed to include an unspecified Sazerac-owned whiskey.[5]

In cocktails[edit]

Southern Comfort is used in the creation of numerous cocktails, including the Alabama Slammer.

One of the earliest Southern Comfort-based cocktails to be marketed was the Scarlett O'Hara, concocted in tribute to the release of the film adaptation of Gone with the Wind in 1939. The mixture includes Southern Comfort, cranberry juice, and fresh lime.[11]

In 2010, the company began marketing a pre-mixed Southern Comfort Lime cocktail.


  1. ^ Regan, Gary (24 June 2011). "Cut the fog with a well-balanced cocktail". The San Francisco Chronicle. 
  2. ^ a b Thomson, Julie R. (October 10, 2014). "So What Exactly Is In Southern Comfort, Anyway?". The Huffington Post. Retrieved July 11, 2015. 
  3. ^ a b "New Orleans Restaurants & Cuisine: Southern Comfort". Retrieved March 16, 2012. 
  4. ^ "The Sazerac Company Completes Purchase of Southern Comfort". 
  5. ^ a b Simonson, Robert (May 8, 2017). "Surprise! Southern Comfort Has No Whiskey. But Soon It Will.". The New York Times. Retrieved 2017-05-08. 
  6. ^ "Recipe page on official web site". Retrieved 2013-07-01. 
  7. ^ a b "Before & After: Southern Comfort Rebranding" The Dieline, May 19, 2010.
  8. ^ a b "Our Local Products". Retrieved March 16, 2012. 
  9. ^ Kevin Brauch. "A River of Whiskey". The Thirsty Traveler. Season 4. Episode 402. Fine Living. 
  10. ^ "Southern Comfort brand sold for $543m". 14 January 2016. 
  11. ^ "History of Southern Comfort". Retrieved 2012-09-09. 

External links[edit]