I like to argue. It’s true. It’s fun to engage in in a witty back and forth where both parties learn something, I don’t really argue to win, there is no point in that, but I love the process of examining things to make sure we have thought them through. I try my best to always be open to changing my mind, when I learn more about anything. I think that is important. Hell, sometimes, when I argue I am trying to get at what I truly believe as much as learning what you think. Most of the time I don’t even really care which side I am on as long as we are keeping the conversation going, exchanging ideas. It’s a good way to figure out what really matters to you and what just seems clever. I am a contrarian through and through when it comes to working through the process, but after we argue for fun, I have no problem telling you what I actually think, So, in the spirit of proving a point I don’t even care about, won’t you join me now as we stand and make Cinnamon Toast Crunch.
I answered a question about the difference between Cinnamon Schnapps and Fireball “Cinnamon Whiskey” yesterday and that got me to thinking. They are not the same thing, but in my world they are basically interchangeable. The short strokes are, fireball has a darker “whiskey” base for a deeper flavor, while schnapps uses a lighter neutral sprit base for a slightly cleaner, sweeter taste. Kind of like the difference between Demerara and regular simple syrup. As far as I am concerned, they each have their place but there is not a huge amount of difference, especially since you are adding it for the cinnamon and sweetness. Any nuance of flavor is mostly likely going to get lost in any drink that calls for this ingredient. Someone replied that they were both the same in horribleness. I can respect that, it takes different stroke to move the world, right? I’ve never been a huge fan of either spirit, but in their place they can be lovely. That’s when it occurred to me that I don’t think I have ever used them in a proper cocktail. I’ve mixed some cool shots with them, added an ounce to apple cider for a nice finish, whether the cider is hot, cold, hard or, ummm, regular? I don’t recall using it in a proper cocktail, so let’s fix that.
This drink is based on a shooter I found on Rumchata’s website that I have served many times because it is so easy to free pour in a poorly lit tent in the middle of a field in Ohio. The shooter is a piece of cake, equal parts of Fireball and Rumchata, it goes down smooth and fast, leaving a vague hint of something cinnamon toasty. For the cocktail we are going to do a little more and see if we can coax some nuance out of this one.
Grab your tins and pop in 3 ounces of Rumchata, 1 ounce of Corsair’s Vanilla Bean Vodka, 3/4 of an ounce of Fireball or Cinnamon Schnapps and 2 drops of Big Bear Coffee and Cocoa from Crude Bitters Co. Add ice and give it a good shake to the beat of Sturgill Simpson’s “Keep It Between The Lines“, cause there’s a reason they make chocolate and vanilla, too. When well chilled, strain into a pressed glass dessert cup with a cinnamon sugar rimmed edge, filled with some of that smooth pebble ice. I’d have suggested a fancy piece of cut glass, but I placed it poorly in the picture and you can clearly see the seam that marks this one as a cheap knock off. Toss in a cinnamon stick as garnish and think how cool it would be to have a couple of piece of actual Cinnamon Toast Crunch on a cocktail pick, if the kid hadn’t finished it all this morning.
It’s good. Smooth, creamy, easy going down, just like me, allegedly. Your mileage may vary, of course. This is the farthest thing from “booze forward”. In fact, this one is dangerously close to one of those sneaky alcohol loaded drink of youth like the Leg Spreader. To be fair, this is clearly a dessert drink and not really suited to the desert, no matter what autocorrect thinks. You don’t want too many of these, but it really is a nice sipper and a good distraction from the troubles of the world. Plus, it is super easy to make and will pack a punch in a velvet glove that you will never see coming, if you are into that sort of thing.
So, what have we learned? Not much I guess. Fireball has it’s place and that place can usually be occupied by Cinnamon Schnapps without having to squint. It’s like a having a couple of Dick’s handy, whether you choose Sargent or York it won’t matter much. Yeah, they are different, but both are serviceable Darrin’s, in a pinch. Did the producers of Bewitched really think we weren’t gonna notice the switcheroo? Really? Here’s a fun fact, you can’t call Fireball “Whiskey” in the EU, since it doesn’t meet the definition of an actual whiskey. Luckily, here in the good old US of A we have no real standards when it comes to “marketing”, so call it a whiskey and go on with your bad self. That’s all I’ve got, maybe it’s more than this trifle of a drink deserves, maybe not. I’m open to discussing it. Stay safe, stay hydrate and stay sane, my friends.