Boy do my wife and I like spicy food. In all variations of spicy, too. Can you say "5-Star"? But when it comes to sweets, that's where my wife and I tend to drift a bit. I am a lover of all things cinnamon. One of my fondest memories of a kid was chewing on one cinnamon toothpick after another and outdoing my friends on being able to "take it". Yes, I like that burn. I liiiike it, I like it a lawwwt. Likewise, the hot cinnamon Jolly Ranchers were a fave. And don't get me started on Hot Tamales (still a favorite of mine to munch on at the movie theater). Did you just hear her? That was my wife saying, "Gross!" Yeah, she's not so much a fan of cinnamon candy. Good...more for me!
Yes, I'm one of those who actually loves walking into a department store around Thanksgiving and Christmas only to be knocked down by the wafting spice of holiday season, which of course includes strong overtones of...yes, of cinnamon. Speaking of winter, what's better than some good whiskey to warm us up on a nippy day? Which brings us to that demonic substance known as Fireball whiskey. It's a little too sweet for me, but oh man, mixing it with Diet Coke tones it down and it tastes damn yummy. But...my metabolism isn't what it used to be. Alas, I must enter low-carb dieting.
Great...just great...there goes my cinnamon candy. Son-of-a...oh wait a hot minute, there's actually very good sugar-free cinnamon hard candy out there and most drugstore chains carry it. Yes! But what about that Fireball whiskey? Surely there's a sugar-free version? After all, hard alcohol is actually an option (in moderation) on low-carb diets. Well, you'll have no luck in finding a commercial cinnamon whiskey off the shelf that is sugar-free. As my mom used to say, "You can want in one hand and shit in the other."
So what to do? I mean my mom's suggestion isn't viable. Winter is coming and I'd sure like to go freeze my ass off on the deck and watch the ships go by while sipping on some spicy cinnamon whiskey to keep me warm (at least on the inside). Well, it's time to take matters into our own hands. We can make our own sugar-free cinnamon whiskey at home and trust me, it will be far better than any of that syrupy stuff off the shelf.
There isn't a "one size fits all" recipe for this. You need to experiment and adjust to your liking and heat tolerance level. But I'm going to give you a general recipe guide to use as a base so you can master your own cinnamon whiskey. Best of all, you'll be able to consume it without the sugar and actually ingest a vital herbal oil that is good for your health. Now, I'm not saying it's a health drink (lol)...but it's a helluva lot better than the sugar concoction you pay for from the liquor store. And let me tell you, once you make your own and use it as a mixer, you'll never go back to that sugary stuff.
Not to mention the best part (drum roll please)...it only takes three ingredients:
- Fifth of Bourbon Whiskey (I prefer Gentleman Jack)
- Pure Cinnamon Oil (I buy JR Mushrooms Pure Cinnamon)
- Vegetable Glycerin (I buy Glycerin Vegetable Kosher USP)
You may be wondering what the hell the glycerin is for. Well, don't you want to make an explosively spicy drink? LOL. Just kidding, no explosives. The glycerin acts as an emulsifier to help bond the whiskey and the cinnamon oil. It also adds a little bit of sweetness, although it is calorie/sugar free.
There's no need to pour out or drink any of your whiskey ahead of time, but if you're feeling froggy and want a snort, by all means go for it. Again, it's not needed because the amount of glycerin and cinnamon oil you'll add is so small, it won't add enough volume to worry about overflow.
First things first, let's create the cinnamon oil emulsion. To do that, find the smallest food container you can (a glass vial works best, but anything you can cover with a seal will do). Now, start out by putting 1 TB of glycerin in the container followed by an 1/8 TSP of the cinnamon oil.
WARNING: Pure cinnamon oil is...well, pure. Be careful with it as it's very potent.
Seal the container that now holds the glycerin and oil and again as my mom would say, "Shake the shit out of it." And you keep shaking until you have an emulsion. How do you know it's an emulsion? Well, you don't unless you're a scientist. I'm not one, not even close, so I just shake it until it looks like an emulsion. I have no idea what an emulsion looks like, so I wing it.
Once you have your emulsion, you're ready to add it to the whiskey. Just pour it straight into the bottle. Now, guess what you're going to do next? That's right, you're going to shake the shit out of the whiskey bottle. Umm, make sure you put the cap back on first though, else you will be sleeping in the dog house. Do NOT ask me how I know this.
After you're tired of shaking to the point you need a good stiff drink, then by all means give it a taste test. Me, I like to mix with Diet Coke. It tastes exactly like drinking Jolly Rancher cinnamon hard candy. If after tasting, it's not strong enough for you, mix you up a little more emulsion and add. Again, be careful and keep in mind how potent the oil is.
For me, I generally add 2 TB of glycerin with 1/2 TSP of cinnamon oil to a fifth. Now I will tell you that this burns the hell out of my lips on some sips, just like those cinnamon toothpicks used to do. But, oh do I love it.
One final thing that you may encounter. If you pour your homemade cinnamon whiskey over ice along with Diet Coke, the cold temperature may trigger a chemical reaction that turns your drink a mocha-milk color (think Kahlua). No worries, it will still taste yummy. I promise.
Best of luck with your cinnamon mixology and let me know what works (and doesn't) for you.