Cinnamon schnapps is a sweet liqueur that often has the taste of hot cinnamon candies, though some tastes more like a cinnamon roll. The ingredients and process for making it vary by brand; many use artificial flavoring and coloring. It's produced mostly in the U.S. and northern European countries, where it's also most often consumed. Once you get that first taste, cinnamon schnapps is hard to resist because of its sweet, warming flavor. It's a popular ingredient for cocktails and shooters and brands like Hot Damn and Goldschläger have made the fiery liqueur more popular than ever.
Cinnamon schnapps should not be confused with the many cinnamon whiskey liqueurs available. The schnapps lacks that dark whiskey background and is more of a clear, neutral sweetened liquor. However, in most drinks, something like Fireball is an excellent substitute for the likes of Hot Damn or Aftershock. On the other hand, most people would not consider any of the cinnamon whiskeys a viable substitute for Goldschläger. Cinnamon syrup is a good substitute if you want to knock the strength of a cocktail down and get more of a natural flavor.
- Ingredients: Artificial or natural cinnamon, alcohol, sugar
- Proof: 80–100
- ABV: 40–50%
- Calories in a shot: 103
- Origin: U.S., Northern Europe
- Taste: Either red-hot candy or cinnamon roll
- Serve: Chilled, on the rocks, cocktails, shots
What Is Cinnamon Schnapps Made From?
Cinnamon schnapps is a distilled spirit flavored with cinnamon, either derived from natural or (more often) artificial flavorings. It is often clear, though some producers add a red color. This spirit is also high proof, ranging from 40 percent to 50 percent alcohol by volume (ABV, 80 to 100 proof). Companies in the U.S. and northern Europe produce the most cinnamon schnapps. Most do not divulge information about how the liqueur is made.
This is one style of liquor that relies heavily on what can best be described as marketing gimmicks. These can be fun and useful when you're playing around with drinks. For instance, Goldschläger includes about .01 grams of 24-karat gold flake in each 750mL bottle. The flakes are safe to consume and it's a fun way to add either elegance or whimsy to a drink's presentation. On the other hand, brands like DeKuyper's Hot Damn! focus on a bright red, super hot cinnamon profile and more of the "party on!" attitude.
What Does Cinnamon Schnapps Taste Like?
The actual flavor of cinnamon schnapps depends on the brand. The majority use the cinnamon flavoring associated with red hot candies. A few, such as Hiram Walker Original Cinn, use a more traditional and natural cinnamon spice flavor reminiscent of cinnamon rolls. It is no less appealing, it simply has less heat.
Goldschläger is one of the drier cinnamon schnapps available and can be considered at the high-end of the class. Many of the others are sweeter than traditional schnapps and a few can be too sweet.
How to Drink Cinnamon Schnapps
Cinnamon schnapps can be enjoyed on its own. Drink it as a straight shot or chill the bottle and shoot it or sip it. Pouring it over a little ice is rather nice as well. With any of these, the cinnamon will warm you up from the inside, which is why it's popular in the colder months of the year.
When mixing drinks, cinnamon schnapps is nothing short of fun. A brand like Goldschläger can be used in sophisticated cocktails, nearly any brand can create warm and cozy drinks, and it's very popular in some of the best-tasting shot and shooter recipes you'll find. The candied cinnamon variety is desired most when mixing drinks. It's delicious when paired with amaretto and is often found in rum and apple cider cocktails.
For all its gimmickry, cinnamon schnapps makes some very delicious drinks. It makes an appearance most often in hot drinks and adds a toastiness to cold cocktails and shots.
The majority of cinnamon-flavored distilled spirits are labeled as schnapps. On occasion, you will find a "cinnamon liqueur" as well (they're practically the same thing). A variety of companies produce cinnamon schnapps, including these well-known brands:
- De Kuyper Hot Damn!
- Hiram Walker Cinnamon Schnapps
You can also find Liquor Quik Goldrush Cinnamon Schnapps. This product is the "essence" of cinnamon schnapps and is designed to allow you to make your own replica of Goldschläger, flakes and all. You simply have to provide the alcohol—vodka and white rum are good choices—and can then blend it to suit your own taste.