New cinnamon-flavored whiskey is hot in more ways than one
Temperatures are rising in the Cayman Islands as the summer reaches its peak and Cinerator, the new hot cinnamon-flavored whiskey, is bringing even more heat.
Launched on May 1 by Tortuga Fine Wine and Spirits, Cinerator is another entry into the alcohol industry’s ultra-hot flavored-whiskey category. Following similar trends in vodka and rum, bourbon and American whiskey now feature a number of flavors, including honey, maple, black cherry, spice and cinnamon.
“[Flavored whiskey] is going gangbusters in the U.S.,” said Wayde Nicholas of Latin American Wines & Spirit Marketing Inc., which distributes Cinerator in the Caribbean, during a recent visit to Grand Cayman. Nicholas said that sales are so strong there’s a whiskey shortage developing in the United States.
Cinerator is made in Kentucky, the heart of bourbon country, by Heaven Hill Distilleries, the same company that produces Evan Williams and Elijah Craig bourbon whiskeys, Hypnotiq liqueur and Domaine de Canton Ginger liqueur. It blends the burn of hot cinnamon flavor with smooth American whiskey to create a strong spirit with an alcohol level of 91.1 proof, a number chosen because of its close resemblance to the emergency response telephone number called when there’s a fire. Similarly, the Cinerator bottle features a flame logo that portends the heat of the spirit.
Cinerator, which was launched in the U.S. market in May 2013, is similar in flavor to Goldschläger Cinnamon Schnapps and Fireball Cinnamon Whiskey, the latter of which has seen a tremendous increase in sales over the past two years. Like Fireball, Cinerator is very much a shot drink, usually served chilled from the freezer, Nicholas said. The contrast of the temperature of the spirit in the mouth compared to the heat of the cinnamon as it is swallowed is part of the appeal.
“[Cinerator and Fireball] are both good products, but they’re different,” said Nicholas, pointing out that one major difference is alcohol content, with Fireball coming in at 66 proof compared to Cinerator’s 91.1 proof. Fireball’s lower alcohol content makes it sweeter tasting, more viscous on the palate, and more liqueur like, whereas Cinerator tastes more like a flavored whiskey.
Tortuga Rum Company’s senior sales and marketing representative, Nancy Harrison, said Cinerator has another advantage over Fireball.
“It’s more economical,” she said, noting that Cinerator is less expensive than Fireball in bottle price at retail outlets, as well as in the price of shots at Grand Cayman bars.
Although straight shots are the most popular way of drinking Cinerator, the whiskey can also be used to create flavorful cocktails.
Cinerator blends well with apple flavors because cinnamon is known to blend well with apples. One easy apple drink that can be made is simply adding a shot of Cinerator to a glass of hard cider to create a cocktail similar to an American boilermaker, Nicholas said.
Bartenders have been experimenting with Cinerator in cocktails, and one suggestion was simply to mix it with Irish Cream liqueur.
“It’s not one we thought of, but someone told us about it, and Cinerator and Irish Cream work really well together,” Nicholas said.
To demonstrate ways Cinerator can be used in cocktails, a lunch was arranged at Abacus restaurant with one of Grand Cayman’s most creative bartenders, Freya Palesch from Decker’s restaurant on hand to create cocktails that would pair with a variety of lunch dishes.
For the charcuterie and cheese plate, Palesch combined Cinerator with muddled star anise, fresh pineapple juice and ginger, all topped with nutmeg, to create a delicious cocktail she called “Spice of Life.”
“It’s potent and strong flavor-wise, and it’s a touch Christmasy,” she said. “It should pair well with the cheese, especially the blue cheese.”
The cinnamon flavor of Cinerator would make it ideal for Christmas holiday cocktail creations, and would mix well with a variety of juices for punch, including pineapple, apple and cranberry.
With the blackened snapper over sweet potato mash, Palesch made a cinnamon-flavored take-off on a margarita.
“Cinerator takes the place of Triple Sec,” she said of the drink that also incorporated tequila and fresh-squeezed orange juice and lime juice.
“There’s really no substitute for fresh juice,” she said.
The citrus flavors allowed the well-balanced cocktail to pair well with the fish, and the cinnamon flavor was perfect with the sweet potato mash.
For dessert, Palesch blended Cinerator with coffee and chocolate liqueurs and topped it off with cream to create a wonderful dessert cocktail that was delicious with the array of sweets that included chocolate lava cake, sticky-toffee pudding, crème brûlée and ice cream.
An interesting taste sensation is simply Cinerator poured over top of vanilla ice cream, a cinnamony treat that is both hot and cold in the mouth at the same time.
To end the lunch, two different Cinerator shooters were tried. The first one consisted of Cinerator shaken with ice and then strained into a shot glass. Chilling the spirit with this method, as opposed to drinking it straight from a bottle kept in the freezer, dilutes it just a bit, making it smoother.
Palesch also concocted a shooter that combined Cinerator with Brogans Irish Cream and Zacapa 23 rum, a multi-layered cocktail in the same vein as a B-52 shooter/cocktail.
In addition to its uses as a beverage or cocktail ingredient, Cinerator can also be used in cooking, similar to the way strong-flavored liqueurs like Grand Marnier are used. Cinerator’s high alcohol content makes it good for a flambé process, the same way Grand Marnier is used in Crepe Suzette.