Blogger's Note: Southern Comfort is such a prevalent alcoholic southern beverage, it was sent overseas to Allied troops during WWII as part of food rations. Here is a brief history of Southern Comfort and the raised Creole cottage plantation house in Louisiana famous for appearing on the brand's label since 1934.
From the Edward Dillon website:
"Founder Martin Wilkes Heron, son of a boat builder, was born on July
4th 1850 in Ireland. Soon after his birth, Heron’s family immigrated to
New York, United States. They settled in St. Louis, Missouri, a
frontier outpost dubbed 'The Gateway to the West.'
In 1870, MW Heron left the family home and made the
trek down the mighty Mississippi and found himself in the growing and
lively city of New Orleans. To support himself he took on a job bar-tending at
McCauley’s Saloon on St.Peter Street in the French Quarter, serving barreled whiskey.
The casks of whiskey were rough-tasting on the
palate due to the long journey they had to endure and when they arrived
were therefore not the smooth-tasting whiskey we experience today. MW
Heron was given a $300 barrel of whiskey from the bar owner and was told
to improve the taste. It fell on Heron to ‘rectify’ this rough-tasting and
inconsistent whiskey to a more palatable and smoother drink.
Orleans being a popular and famous port at the time for its imports
Heron took advantage of all the fruit and spices which traveled
through. Using a secret blend of flavors including Vanilla, Orange and
Cinnamon, he experimented until he hit the ‘Perfect Combination’ in
1874 - at the time he named this custom blend 'Cuffs & Buttons.'
Fun Fact: The new blend was called ‘Cuffs & Buttons’ to rival
a competitor ‘rectified’ drink called ‘Top Hat & Tails’ which was
also being served in the French Quarter. Herons concoction however was a
hit, relegating its rival to a footnote in history and establishing
himself as a young legend in New Orleans.
With the recent success of Cuffs & Buttons Heron
wanted to enter his product in the 1885 World’s Industrial and Cotton
Exposition when it came to town. In preparation for the big event Heron
decided to change the name, to give it a more distinctive feel, and to
describe its heritage and taste.
This is how it became known as “Southern Comfort’, 'The Grand Old Drink of the South'
Smoother and tastier than mere whiskey it was well
received at the exposition and continued to be saluted as the
gentleman's drink of sophistication and refinement.
In 1900, Southern Comfort entered the Paris World
Exposition and wins a Diploma and a Gold Medal for Quality / Fine
Taste. Four years later, in 1904, Heron returned to his hometown for
the St. Louis World Fair and again won the Gold Medal for Quality & Fine