The Southern Comfort Cocktail Named After A Famous Movie Icon

Fandoms are wildly creative terrain. Fans write "fan fiction" in which they continue the storyline of their favorite tales in personalized offshoots. Cosplay has inspired such massive gatherings as the annual Comic-Con, and in many other ways, good art begets more good art. Even Kurt Cobain wrote "Scentless Apprentice" off the In Utero album after reading Patrick Suskind's novel "Perfume." In the same spirit, one of the most timeless cocktails in mixology history was inspired by the Southern belle protagonist in the 1936 Margaret Mitchell novel "Gone with the Wind."

The Scarlett O'Hara cocktail is smooth and punchy, like the fictional character who animated it with such lines as "Great balls of fire. Don't bother me anymore, and don't call me sugar," and "If I said I was madly in love with you you'd know I was lying." The drink combines Southern Comfort, cranberry, and lime, like a sleazy Cosmopolitan. Evocative of Miss O'Hara herself, her namesake whiskey cocktail totes a vibrant scarlet hue, aesthetically juxtaposed with the bright green lime wedge perched on the rim of the glass. For a balanced profile, the tangy lime meets dry cranberry and dials down the sweetness of the Southern Comfort.

The Scarlett O'Hara is a tame sipper with strong flavor

The star of the show here is the Southern Comfort, a longstanding American whiskey-based liqueur flavored with fruit and spices. Top notes include clove, cherry, orange peel, lemon, cinnamon, vanilla bean, and honey. The Scarlett O'Hara cocktail is said to have hit the Hollywood scene shortly after the release of the 1939 "Gone with the Wind" film adaptation by David Selznick, and the drink actually re-popularized Southern Comfort back into the mixology world, where it hasn't left since. (In the spirit of art begetting other art, Janis Joplin smashed a bottle of SoCo over Jim Morrison's head in the 1960s and he didn't even get mad about it, goes the story.)

To assemble a Scarlett O'Hara cocktail for yourself, combine all the ingredients over ice in a rocks or Collins glass and stir. (Don't forget the lime wedge garnish). However, preparation methods for this cocktail differ. Other bartenders make a Scarlett O'Hara by hitting all the ingredients with a wet shake and straining into a martini glass. (The martini glass certainly adds an element of old-school glamor, holding that long stem while gesticulating wildly during a lively conversation, or clutching it absently with a limp wrist during moody afternoons on the porch). It's a pretty low-ABV cocktail considering the only spirit is the whiskey liqueur, clocking in at roughly 14%. You can make it as tall or short as you like by adjusting the amount of cranberry juice.