The Most ’70s Thing You’ve Ever Seen: The Blissful Madness of Old Southern Comfort Liquor Pamphlets


Your Crap Archivist brings you the finest in forgotten and bewildering crap culled from thrift stores, estate sales, and flea markets.

Southern Comfort Mixed-Drink Recipe Pamphlets

Date: 1973 – 1975
Publisher: Your friends at Southern Comfort
Discovered at: A St. Louis estate sale

The Cover Promises: “Includes a new guide for Happy Hour astrology talk.” Also: You should bring tumblers, ice, and a bottle of Southern Comfort with you on romantic bike rides.

Representative Quote:

Although it’s used like an ordinary whiskey, Southern Comfort tastes much different than any other basic liquor. It actually tastes good, right out of the bottle!

You know those ads for online banking, the ones where the lightest-skinned of mixed-race Americans lounge in sunny rooms and just beam at their computers for making everything in our lives so much easier? Those epitomize the fantasy that the advertisers of today peddle to the few Americans left who can afford luxuries like “banking” or “online” or “rooms.”

That promise of Getty-image happiness is prefigured by beatific models in this hilarious stack of ’70s SoCo drink-mix pamphlets my wife recently hauled back from St. Louis, home of the Southern Comfort Corporation. (That fact lends weight to this K.C.-native’s argument that St. Louis is really not the Gateway to the West; it’s more like the Drain to the Ozarks.)

Just savor SoCo’s blissed-out vision of adult ’70s life:

“I think there’s something phallic in that one,” the wife observed. It makes perfect sense that they’re happy: Matching jumpsuits, tumescent kebabs, couples’ teamwork, and a Manhattan the size of a birdbath? That is exactly what married life is like, forever and ever amen.

That’s from a 1973 pamphlet. This shot, from 1971, might be even happier.

SoCo drinkers are so chill they don’t even mind having beach balls inserted into their rectums.

Besides the smiles and the wholesome-looking horniness, the most common element of these ads is oversized glasses of booze, usually treated by the SoCo party set as full-fledged members of the gang.

It appears that in ’70s SoCo society it was the responsibility of the woman to haul these giant cocktails about. Some resorted to backpacks, as in the case of this Comfort Summer Sour:

The man might not have been able to carry the SoCo, but he could carry her. Also, note the woman on the boat, bobbing the orange by hand.

Just by leaning over at the proper angle, this young beauty could make a man’s cup runneth over.

It was an age where a man could throw on a classy mesh tank-top and hit the yacht club with a Comfort ‘n Tonic on one arm and a circus-clown Annie Hall on the other.

Perhaps you remember the controversy over subliminal marketing, exemplified by advertisers’ tendency to sneak purportedly erotic shapes into liquor ads’ ice cubes. The SoCo campaign wasn’t yet that ambitious:

The sexiest thing they could shape the ice into: dentures soaking in urine.

This couple was so dedicated to the SoCo spirit that they have color-coordinated every aspect of their lives to resemble the inside of a glass of their Comfort Old-Fashioned.

Of course, even in the SoCo ’70s not everything was perfect. Here, we see our perfect, airbrushed real-whiskey-hating friends enjoying their beach party–only seconds before discovering the grisly warning the natives have left them.

And here they’re just being weirdly racist.

But it wasn’t always this way! Here, from that same estate sale, a glimpse at the SoCo party of 1968, a more buttoned-up time of neckties and indoor folk-singing …

A time when the single girl could have a seat at the bar after a hard day of glass-ceiling-breaking and order a round for herself and her friend, who usually was a giant Manhattan.

This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on March 19, 2013

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