Southern Comfort has been around for more than 100 years, and the typical bar aficionado will tell you that it’s a great whiskey because it isn’t as harsh as other brands. This statement is only half correct though. Southern Comfort or SoCo is great all right, but it’s not a whiskey.
That is just one of the many interesting facts about this drink that most people don’t know about. As you’ll discover, there’s a lot more to this drink than meets the eye.
A Bartender Invented Southern Comfort
SoCo was concocted by a bartender named Martin Wilkes. His goal was simple, create a drink that tastes like whiskey but is easier on the taste buds. That’s what he did, and that brings us to factoid number 2.
Southern Comfort is a Liqueur
That’s right, SoCo is a liqueur. It may taste like whiskey, but as pointed out above, that was the whole point of this product. Back then a lot of people wanted to enjoy the taste of whiskey but could not stand the taste. This is the result of Wilkes’ creativity, and to this day is the one people turn to if they want some light whiskey.
What’s the Secret?
The secret recipe is, well a secret. Former SoCo marketing head Charles K. Cowdery once said that he had no idea what the ingredients were even though he was responsible for writing SoCo recipe books. Even those in charge of marketing the product had no idea what the secret was.
This has not stopped people from speculating what it may be of course. Most believe that the ingredients include some fruit concentrate, bourbon, sugar and vodka. There is a lot of talk about what the fruits may be, but the best bet is that it is apricot.
Oh, and according to Cowdery they never referred to it as whiskey in the company. It was known as the The Grand Old Drink of the South.”
SoCo and Scarlett
And speaking of the south, Scarlett O’ Hara sipped a SoCo in the movie Gone with the Wind. The cocktail would later be named after her.
The cocktail came out in 1938 or about the same time as the film. If you want to try it out, the recipe is pretty simple. Get some lime, cranberry juice and SoCo. Mix together and serve on the rocks. Variations have appeared but the original is still the best.
Hard to believe, but there was a time when SoCo was called by another name. When the drink first came out, it was called Cuff and Buttons. The name sounds unusual today, but not back then. During the 1800s there was a drink known as hat and tails, so it is possible that the name Cuff and Buttons came from there. Good thing they changed the name to southern comfort.
Lots of Proof
One of the best things about SoCo is it comes in a variety of proofs. If you want it light, try their pre-mixed cocktails which are 15% ABV and 30 proof. You can also go for a 40% ABV 8 proof. Just ask for the southern comfort special reserve.
If you’re looking for some really serious action, there is the 100 proof blend with 50% alcohol. To put that in perspective, that alcohol level is ten times that of Miller Lite. If that is too strong, you can bring it down a notch with the 21% 45 proof or the 34% 70 proof. Whatever your fancy, there is a Southern Comfort option.
In 2016, Southern Comfort was purchased by Sazerac. The previous owner of SoCo had been running the company since 1979. Sazerac is based in New Orleans and is looking towards increasing the sales of the product.
What is the SoCo Slogan?
It is “None Genuine But Mine”, a not so blunt message aimed at competitors that try to imitate its formula. If you’re having a hard time finding the slogan on the label, that’s because it is not there. It is at the bottom of the bottle.
A Lot of Flavors to Choose From
Southern Comfort has evolved a lot since it was created by Martin Wilkes over 100 years ago. Now it is sold in a wide array of flavors including cherry, lime and caramel. The caramel tastes great with ginger, hot chocolate and coffee. Cherry on the other hand, is compatible with lemonade and sweet tea. Lime on the other hand, is ideal for ginger beer and other beverages.