The red death cocktail is one that sounds a little sinister if you ask me. Death? Uh, not today please. Drink? Um, sure! I’d love one. In all seriousness, there’s nothing to be nervous about when it comes to mixing this tasty cocktail.

You will be pleasantly surprised at how sweet and delicious it is. It does require a little bit of ingredient-collecting, but as is the case with all things that are great, it is worth the work. So, stay with us and let us teach you how to make the red death drink.

What is the Red Death Drink?

Put simply, the red death ingredients make a drink that is not too sweet and not too harsh. It’s certainly not as dry as say, a gin and tonic, but it’s not overly sweet like a strawberry daiquiri served with whipped cream and a cherry.

It’s one of those cocktails that’s got the best of both worlds in it and features fruity notes that pair well with the harder stuff like the vodka and whisky. Plus, we couldn’t help but smile at the inclusion of Galliano — a blast from the past in the liqueur world.

Red Death Recipe: How We Do It

So, before we go any further, let’s go ahead and list off the main recipe we use when putting this drink together. We think it is best to learn how to do it the traditional way, and once you’ve mastered that, start tweaking it to suit your own needs.

Ingredients for Red Death Mixed Drink recipe

  • 1 oz sloe gin
  • 1 oz Southern Comfort (you can use your own whisky, we just like SoCo!)
  • 1 oz vodka (We used Tito’s for this particular recipe).
  • 2 oz lime rum
  • 1 oz triple sec
  • 1 fl oz amaretto
  • 1 fl oz Galliano liqueur (A bit of an oldie, but you can find it in some larger liquor stores).
  • 5 oz grenadine
  • 6 oz orange juice
  • 1 cup ice cubes


Now comes the fun part. Mix all the ingredients together into your ice-filled cocktail shaker. Shake it until the outside of your shaker is nice and cold. Then, dump it into an ice-filled tumbler, and serve it up!

Wow. The flavors in this particular cocktail just blew us away. That smoky whisky taste, plus that sweet and tangy zip of the orange juice and the amaretto were like a party for our taste buds. This is a drink that combines the gruffness of your granddad’s days shooting whisky when he was a youngster to the sweetness of those so-called “candy drinks” that make you want more and more. Just drink it responsibly!

So, Do You Need Anything Special to Make This?

Making the red death mixed drink is not hard and does not need any special equipment. Just make sure you’ve got some tumblers washed and ready to go, as well as your cocktail shaker. You’re also going to want to make sure there’s some ice ready to go in the fridge.

If you’re having a party, might as well just buy a bag to make sure everybody’s drinks are served up nice and cold. It might not be such a bad thing to have some stir-sticks on hand either; these may help people sip on their drink instead of taking it in quickly.

Is There A Red Death Shot?

The good news is that yes, there is a shot that you can make with your friends and share! This one is great if you’re looking for something that’s new and exciting to drink.


  • 1 oz vodka
  • 1 oz triple sec
  • 1 oz lime juice
  • ¾ oz Amaretto
  • ¾ oz Southern Comfort
  • ¾ oz sloe gin
  • Orange juice to your own liking; we just did a splash into the cocktail shaker


Now shake it all up inside your cocktail strainer with ice, and then go ahead and strain that thing into four standard-sized shot glasses. We noticed this one reminded us of fruit punch or Hawaiian Punch, which is okay with us. Again, this one is a bit dangerous, so do be careful when you shoot it.

Variants of the Red Death Drink

The best variants are the ones that you and your buddies come up with when you tweak this to make your own personal recipe. But we’ve also included some variants here you can use. There are also other versions of the “death” drink, so we will briefly mention those, too. Who knew a drink with such a dangerous-sounding connotation could be so darn good?

First Variant: Red Death Vodka Cocktail


  • 1 oz Southern Comfort (you can use your favorite whisky)
  • 1 oz vodka (in this instance, we had Stoli lying around).
  • 1/2 oz sloe gin
  • 1/2 oz triple sec
  • 1/2 oz blackberry brandy
  • 2 oz orange juice (We used Florida’s Natural)
  • 1 oz pineapple juice


Get all your ingredients together and put them into a cocktail shaker with ice. Then shake it up really well and strain it into a highball glass.

This variation on the cocktail we already love is super sweet. I mean, this one is much sweeter than the original. You will see why soon — after all, it is made with berry, orange, pineapple, blackberry and peach flavors. This is a beachy summer version of the drink. And believe me, you will want it even when it’s cold outside.

It seems pretty simple: you take a sip and taste nothing but fruity sweetness. Well, think again. It’s not just some sweet thing they threw together.

It definitely has its flavor notes!

The blackberry, for instance, adds a deep and dark note to the drink. The peach kind of smooths things over, while the berry and the citruses — the pineapple, specifically — give it that acidic kick.

The sloe gin is great because it brings in those berry flavors which counteract the acidic citruses. Yes, sloe gin is pretty darn flavorful, but when you blend it with other stuff it just works like a dream.

The best part is, you can make this in a huge batch, too. That way, if you’re having family or friends, there’s no need to play bartender all night and mix drinks. Everybody’s sure to love this, and I mean everybody — even my uncle, a motorcycle-riding, beer drinkin’ self-proclaimed redneck even said he liked this drink, and that’s coming from a guy who thinks pina coladas are for wimps!

You could also serve this at a theme party. Say you have a bunch of adults over for a Halloween bash, or to watch scary movies. It’s great for Valentine’s too; we all know red is the color of love. You could even serve it as a form of dessert if you want — it’s really that sweet.

This is one to really take your time with and savor. After all, you don’t want to be the one who keeps on drinking and then suddenly you’re down on the floor. This one is really easy to do that with. If you’re not going to serve this at a party, then enjoy it on the patio on a hot summer day. Alternatively, sip one while poking around on the television, trying to find something good to watch.

Red Death Variation: The Black Death

OK, now as I write these words, I’m getting flashbacks to high school history class, when we all learned about the plague. Even if history class wasn’t your thing, this shot will definitely be a nice way to loosen up the mood. The name may be a little off-putting, but it’s a good strong one for sure.


  • 1 Part Jagermeister
  • 1 Part Jack Daniels
  • 1 Part Jim Beam
  • 1 Part Jose Cuervo or your favorite tequila


In your cocktail shaker, add the ingredients over ice. Shake it up very well and then pour it into your shot glasses. Be sure to drink this one very responsibly, as the shot is super strong!

Red Death Variation: The Short on Ingredients Version

Now this particular one is not to make fun of those of us that are low on ingredients. It’s just a way to get the great taste if you are missing a few things here and there. For instance, this one does without the lime vodka and the grenadine, which is perfect if you’re not big on that stuff anyway.

Red Death-Minus Grenadine and Lime Vodka

  • 1/2 oz. sloe gin
  • 1/2 oz. Southern Comfort
  • 1/2 oz. Amaretto
  • 1/2 oz. vodka
  • 1/2 oz. triple sec
  • Orange juice


Fill a collins glass with ice, and then pour in the sloe gin, Southern Comfort whisky, Amaretto, triple sec and vodka. Stir it all up and top it with the orange juice.

Garnish with an orange slice or maraschino cherry if you feel like it. Enjoy responsibly; even though it lacks the grenadine, it’s still one of those sweet drinks!

Do You Have to Use Galliano?

We understand that finding Galliano can be a bit of a challenge. We ourselves had to go into the metro area of our city to track down a specific liquor store. Granted, it was my job to get the liquor and test it, and I wanted it anyway because you need it for Harvey Wallbangers which I really enjoy. But I know it’s not so easy for everybody to get these odd liquors, so it’s good to know what substitutes you can use.

For example, you can use anisette and pastis, which are French, or you can use anesone and sambuca, which are Italian. Ojen is a good Spanish liquor to use.

So, thankfully, you don’t have to go crazy trying to find the Galliano, as sambuca, for instance, is available just about anywhere.

Are There Any Good Food Pairings?

It’s hard to suggest any foods to eat with this Red Death cocktail because the flavors are so sweet. Perhaps you will want something salty. Think of things like pretzels, nuts, or even plain crisps or plain potato chips.

You could even make a basket of fries and share with friends while you sip this cocktail. Or, just eat it after you have a particularly savory dinner. I could see myself enjoying a burger and fries then finishing my evening with a nice sweet cocktail like this to close it all out.

What Garnishes Can I Add?

The choice is really up to you and dependent upon whatever version of the drink you make. We think adding in maraschino cherries is a great addition no matter what version of the drink is to be used, and fruits like pineapple, orange slices, and even a lime wedge go great with that ultra-sweet version.

It’s really a matter of personal preference. You could even add blackberries to the bottom of the drink, and that would make it look and taste great.

Is This Drink Popular?

It sure seems like it! Doing research on this drink was very fruitful, no pun intended. We found lots of great variants and methods by which this drink can be made, so that shows us this thing is pretty darn popular.

Will your bartender know about it?

Maybe, maybe not. No shame in showing your bartender how to make it. After all, every great mixologist wants to learn something new, and if they already know it… well, that’s a bonus. Even if you have to wait for the bartender to mix it up, it’s so worth it.


If you’re seeing red, don’t let yourself get angry. Just imagine yourself drinking one of these great red death cocktails and relax. It’s just so good after a long day, a great drink to sip and unwind with. It’s nice and cool, and the fruit flavors do a lot for the quality of the drink. It’s strong without being overpowering. Enjoy this red death drink with a great movie or with friends today!


Peter's path through the culinary world has taken a number of unexpected turns. After starting out as a waiter at the age of 16, he was inspired to go to culinary school and learn the tricks of the trade. As he delved deeper, however, his career took a sudden turn when a family friend needed someone to help manage his business. Peter now scratches his culinary itch on the internet by blogging, sharing recipes, and socializing with food enthusiasts worldwide.

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