Comfort Food

I’ve put on weight in the month or so that I’ve been Over Here, mostly because I’ve been enjoying the foods of my childhood (South Africa, a onetime British colony, had a partial-Brit cuisine). Yup: we’re talking sausage rolls, steak ‘n kidney pies, porridge, fish ‘n chips, Full English breakfasts and of course, the occasional chocolate bar (Fry’s Turkish Delight) not readily available in Murka.

Then there’s been Wadworth 6x beer, which was not a childhood comfort food, but is definitely my adult one.

And speaking of comfort food, I’ve rediscovered the excellence of Southern Comfort as an evening aperitif. Southern Comfort was my bedside tipple of choice back when I was a professional musician (Cliff Notes: rock musician, in my early twenties, during the 1970s — of course I had a favorite bedside tipple). The best thing about Southern Comfort (Suthies, as we used to call it) is that I don’t need ice — in fact, I prefer it at room temperature which, as any fule kno, is cooler in Britishland than  in Texas.

Of course, I was shocked to discover that during my long layoff from Suthies that the manufacturer had gone and changed the label from its elegant antebellum design to something more “modern” that is, well, terrible.


In fact, when searching for Southern Comfort on the liquor store shelves, I missed it completely because I was looking for the bottle on the left when in fact the disgusting new one was right in front of me. Worse yet, the pathetic little new cap means that you can no longer use the long gold cap of old as a shot-glass. If I can somehow find an old bottle in decent condition, I’m going to use it as a decanter.

And of course they’ve added a whole slew of new variants — “ginger”, “lemon” and so on, none of which I have any intention of trying.

I hate change.

I know: Southern Comfort is less of a whiskey than it is a liqueur. I don’t care about the designation, I only care about the taste, which is lovely. Also, it enables me to more or less keep up with the drinking rate of Mr. Free Market and The Englishman, which would cause even accomplished booze hounds like Dylan Thomas or Peter O’Toole to fall over.

And it’s an excellent accompaniment to a late-night bacon buttie — yet another comfort food of my childhood:

I’m gonna need three airline seats to carry my fat ass back to Dallas…


  1. A bartender friend of mine once put a shot in front of me and said “Drink this” (pro-tip: don’t do this). It was Southern Comfort (known as So-Co locally) and lime. Foul stuff, took three shots of Jameson to get the taste out of my mouth.

    On the subject of foul tastes, the “big thing’ locally now is shots of Jameson chased with shots of pickle juice. I shit you not. I’ve long since given up trying to figure out what people drink. If you don’t LIKE the taste of Irish Whiskey don’t DRINK it, that’s what vodka is for.

  2. SoCo has been one of my favorites for a long, long time. Since I was a kid and convincing older friends to buy the stuff for me, in fact. Nothing short of naked women ever made a camping trip more enjoyable.

    I do rather miss the old bottle’s aesthetics, but really, it’s the sauce inside that I care about. As to the new blends– it’s worth noting that they recently dropped the lime, cherry and other flavors. Now there’s only “original”, “80 proof” and “100 proof”. The latter being my favorite by far. There’s also yet another new label.

    I did like the lime version as well, but lime works better with 100 proof, and I can just make that myself.

  3. Vintage SoCo bottles are available on eBay in all manner of conditions for a few bucks, as are many other SoCo – labeled items.

  4. Oh Lawdy. I won a bottle of previously unheard of (by me) Southern Comfort in a raffle about 40 years ago. I decided from its sickly sweet taste was probably non alcoholic and drank the whole bottle.

    I woke up about three hours later in a roadside ditch with my left leg pinned under my motorcycle, no idea where I was, my left hand mirror disappeared forever and a twenty foot long skid mark on the road above .

    Never touched the stuff since, but I have long dined out well on the story.

    Youthful indiscretions make great yarns for the new generations. 🙂

    1. Yeah… and no great story ever began with: “Well, I’d just finished this huge Caesar salad when…”

  5. It’s all kind of a taste thing. We used to drink that stuff in High School and college and to me it was kind of like a big old slug of cough syrup. Of course that was better than the cheap bourbon mixed with Dr. Pepper I was used to drinking. The crap we drank was so foul and it didn’t take much to get a buzz and the obligatory hangover from the sweet alcohol combo was lethal.

  6. Southern Comfort over shaved ice.. the thinking man’s snow-cone, heh, heh, heh.
    My dad – who was a musician all his life and was playing at clubs in New Orleans in the ’30’s – once told me that the guys in the band would sit around the hotel room drinking sloe-gin and smoking s**t for most of the afternoon before they went down to do the nightly gig.

  7. I’ve never been a whiskey guy. My tastes run to beer, cider, rum, and (on occasion) sake.

    Although on a whim, I tried something called a ‘Cinnamon Toast Crunch shot’ while at a bar & grill in Atlanta.

    My friend complimented me on doing the shot first, THEN eating dessert, so the latter would take the taste of the former out of my mouth. Faugh.

  8. I’ve long been a bourbon guy. A few years back I tried Knob Creek. And then Knob Creek Maple. So, nowadays I stop by my buddy’s gunsmith shop at quitting time for a couple of hits of Maple along with social noises and jokes.

  9. Whiskey’s for when the weather breaks, and it’s usually Jameson for me. Spring and summer it’s gin (I usually pick a different brand every summer — this year it’s Tanqueray Rangpur). One can’t be too careful when it comes to malaria and scurvy, after all. Various craft beers and wine year-round.

    1. I do love a good gin & tonic.
      There’s nothing better at a good tropical resort during a hot afternoon, relaxing under a thatched roof house wind and looking out over a stretch of clear tropical ocean than a gin and tonic.

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