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Homemade Cinnamon Whiskey

Cinnamon whiskey
Image: / Tim Nusog

Are you a fan of cinnamon whiskey? The well-known fire-breathing brand that spread like wildfire through bars several years back got a bad rap for being a frat-house party shot, but it’s more delicious than many booze snobs may care to admit.

The low-proof whiskey channels the flavor of red-hot cinnamon candies and is oddly easy to toss back as a shot, which is how most people take it. Cinnamon whiskey may start sweetly in its pure form, but it quickly rises from kindling to an inferno of a finish, with a lingering burn that kicks like an angry mule. Perhaps this is why the spirit has proved so popular: It’s exhilarating in its rocket-fuel-like quality and has even sparked competition among a series of big-brand imitators.

While you can down this spicy shot at countless bars across the country, a cinnamon-whiskey facsimile* is easy to make at home, and the DIY route offers the bonus of self-satisfaction when it’s done. And it makes delicious drinks, too. If straight shots aren’t your style, try mixing the spiced whiskey into a jug of apple cider that’s crowded with autumnal fruits and honey. Cinnamon whiskey has also been known to play well with hot coffee and a cap of whipped cream, and manages to mimic the sugar-spackled delights of a famous cinnamon cereal when shaken with creamy RumChata. You can even use it in a Whiskey Sour or to make Boozy Cinnamon-Bun Oreos.

Whichever way you choose to imbibe the atomic-level spirit, this easy infusion means that your favorite bar shot just wandered a lot closer to home. 

*Obviously, this recipe for a homemade facsimile of that insanely popular cinnamon whiskey was not endorsed or sponsored by Fireball or the Sazerac Company, Inc.


  • 1 (750 mL) bottle inexpensive whiskey

  • 8 cinnamon sticks

  • 3 ounces simple syrup

  • 6 whole dried red chile peppers (optional)


  1. Empty the bottle of whiskey into a large container with a lid. Add the cinnamon sticks and simple syrup and seal.

  2. Shake the container and let stand for five days, shaking daily.

  3. After five days, add the dried chile peppers to the container, if desired, and shake again. Let stand for three to four more days, tasting after the first day to test the flavor intensity. When the flavor reaches the desired intensity, strain and rebottle.