Pros: Unique flavor; lots of people love it
Cons: Too sweet; somewhat limited in mixing choices
A common misconception in the world of alcohol is that Southern Comfort is a bourbon. Even my local grocery store has Southern Comfort sitting next to Jack Daniels. In actuality, Southern Comfort is classified as a liquer (though it "starts as" a bourbon in production). The classification would come as no surprise to anyone who sipped it expecting to taste a quality bourbon. Southern Comfort has a sweet flavor with more than mere "hints" of fruity flavors, and I find the texture to be a bit too thick.
Sipping Southern Comfort is nothing like sipping vodka or a cheap whiskey. Instead of a burning sensation and the entertaining alcohol-choke, Southern Comfort goes down smoothly with ver little bite. Even the 100 proof Southern Comfort tastes very smooth (traditional Southern Comfort is 80 proof/40% alcohol). If I want a sipping liquor besides a great Scotch, then Southern Comfort offers an interesting alternative, especially when I have a sweet tooth.
What makes Southern Comfort so unique among bourbons (which it isn't) is the fruity yet bourbonesque falvor. Unlike a coconut rum or flavored vodkas, the Southern Comfort flavor does not seem contrived. The flavor of Southern Comfort is more than just a chemical odor added to the liquor--orange notes with a bourbon flavor are easy to detect. Although the real lovers of Southern Comfort probably would disagree, and I am clearly oversimplifying the complex tastes, Southern Comfort tastes a lot like bourbon mixed with triple sec.
For someone without a sweet tooth, liquers do not traditionally lend themselves well. Many are thick and too fillng; and the sweet taste of many is just overbearing. While I wouldn't go so far as to call Southern Comfort overbearing in sweetness, it is much sweeter than what I would generally drink. Although I have a tried Southern Comfort on the rocks, most people generally mix Southern Comfort with multitudes of ingredients. In my younger days, I enjoyed Southern Comfort as the primary ingredient in my drinks...then again, I also thought Boone's Farm Strawberry Hill was a good wine.
Southern Comfort mixes wonderfully with some fruit juices for fans of sweet drinks. I used to mix it with orange juice or lemonade, but give me a hoppy beer over fruity alcohol syrup any day. Southern Comfort does lend itself well to many traditional cocktails as a "side-car" or an extra shot. I am almost not ashamed to drink amaretto sours when I add a shot of 100 proof Southern Comfort, and it also replaces triple sec in my margaritas.
The unique flavor of Southern Comfort makes it a popular addition to a variety of drinks. Try replacing many of your favorite alcohols with Southern Comfort to have a new twist on an old favorite (e.g., Southern Comfort sours; screwdrivers; etc.). The Southern Comfort website lists many other drinks (http://www.southerncomfort.com) worth making.
Southern Comfort as a liquore of choice is probably a matter of personal taste. Fans of sweet drinks who do not want to sacrifice alcohol content (typically lower in many sweeter alcohols) at the expense of flavor should definitely try Southern Comfort. For those with less of a sweet tooth, stay away or mix carefully. Like dried herbs, Southern Comfort works great as a flavor additive but many will find it lacking as the "primary" alcohol.