Southern Comfort was first produced by bartender Martin Wilkes Heron (1850–1920), the son of a boat-builder. Legend says it was created and sold at McCauley’s Tavern at the corner of Richard and St. Peter Street in the French Quarter of New Orleans, Louisiana. However, St. Peter Street and Richard Street do not intersect, though Richard Street does intersect with S. Peters Street in the Lower Garden District near the Mississippi River. According to the New Orleans Convention & Visitors Bureau, McCauley's Tavern was "just off Bourbon Street," and the original form of the drink was called "Cuffs and Buttons."
Heron moved to Memphis, Tennessee in 1889, patented his creation, and began selling it in sealed bottles with the slogan "None Genuine but Mine" and "Two per customer. No Gentleman would ask for more." Southern Comfort won the gold medal at the 1904 World's Fair in St. Louis, Missouri.