13 Cocktails That Prove Cinnamon Spice Makes Everything Nice
Save money on your energy bill by turning up the heat internally with cozy, cinnamon-forward cocktails that instantly make you feel warm and fuzzy. There’s a reason cinnamon is a seasonal favorite during the winter holidays, and for months thereafter—and from whiskey spice to apple cider cocktails, there are a lot of different ways to incorporate cinnamon into your libation rotation.
This handy guide to cinnamon cocktails will walk you through everything you need to know to work cinnamon-spiked drinks into your beverages mix, with recipes for beginning-of-the-season, harvest-inspired mixes to spirited takes that go beyond the holidays and hot after-dinner beverages. Plus, we’ll go over how to make your own cinnamon-infused liquor or cinnamon syrup to help you get creative with recipes of your own. Cinnamon Toast Crunch cocktail (hello, Fireball, Rumchata, and Kahlua!) or easy cream soda cinnamon roll cocktail, anyone?
Apple Cider Cocktail
Ready to dip a toe—and only a toe!—into the world of cinnamon cocktails? This recipe is a perfect, smooth entry into that pool. If you’re a fan of Aperol Spritzes, it starts with a flavor you already know you like, then adds onto that with some apple cider and vodka for your kick. The cinnamon comes in only at the end as a finishing garnish for your glass. If you want a just a teensy bit more flavor without going too bold, add a pinch of ground cinnamon to the turbinado sugar mix for your rim.
If the cinnamon sugar rim was the part of the last recipe that most caught your attention, we hear you! Here’s another way to give your winter drinking game a cinnamon edge: channel a fresh-fried apple cider doughnut. You’ll taste the cinnamon a bit more with this cocktail due to its paring with whiskey; cinnamon and whiskey are a classic combo: The liquor’s heavy-bodied, syrupy richness is enhanced by the spice.
Spiked Sparkling Cider
Looking for something simple but with more than just a hint of cinnamon? Then it’s time to break out the bubby … and invest in a bottle of cinnamon schnapps! With the cinnamon built right into the booze, you won’t even need the spice itself. This super easy cinnamon cocktail recipe could become your next at-home brunch go-to cocktail, especially since all you need is apple juice—not even cider—to whip up a batch. You’ll find that this drink comes together even more easily than the peach you need for a Bellini, and you’ll be serving something more interesting than a standard mimosa.
Spiced Apple Kombucha
So you like effervescence. But how about a healthier twist for your cocktail repertoire? That’s exactly what this Spiced Apple Kombucha offers. It uses fizzy, fermented, gut health-promoting kombucha to add another layer of complexity to this rum-based drink. For this, you’ll be using spiced rum for your cinnamon base, and strengthening that flavor with a real cinnamon stick.
Frozen Spiced Apple Snowball
Well, if this winter insists on being difficult and snowy, we may as well use some of Mother’s Nature’s double-edged gifts! This fancy craft cocktail starts with the humblest of beginnings: freshly fallen snow from right outside your front door. With apple brandy and an herbal cognac, plus cinnamon and cloves to infuse it, it’s basically an adult snow cone. This will come as a welcome reward for any shoveler out there, and maybe even put some joy back into snow days for us tired adults.
Sure, an apple a day may keep the doctor away, but it’s OK if you’re appled out. Luckily, there are a lot of other fruit flavors that go well with cinnamon, and grapefruit is only one of them. This modern take on tequila-based Palomas complements the grapefruit and lime flavors in a fragrant but subtle way, and opens the door for you to try it with a mezcal—something not typically advised for the bright, refreshing profile of a traditional Paloma.
Rudolph’s Sleigh Sidecar Cocktail
Don’t let names limit your imagination—just as pizza can be great for breakfast, themed holiday drinks can be just as delightful well after the day it was designed for. This sidecar cocktail is enlivened by both cinnamon and ginger via syrups you can make yourself. Or, keep scrolling down for a richer riff on special drink syrups, specifically designed to showcase cinnamon.
Sure, this is a Holiday Negroni, but who says the aforesaid holiday has to be one of the winter ones? Make any day a Day with this cinnamon-spun rendition of a classic Italian cocktail, made with love and overnight steeping. The use of mulled wine spices are the throwback to the peak of winter, though you’ll enjoy them chilled with this take.
Spicy Mulled Wine
If you don’t need your cinnamon cocktail chilled, let’s add some heat to the spice. This classic rendition of the inspiration for the recipe right above takes a cinnamon-forward overtone that’s balanced by black peppercorns, fresh ginger, sweet orange, and a less hefty dose of sugar than many other versions. Only a single cinnamon stick is needed for two bottles-worth of your base red wine—cooking cinnamon opens up its flavors and aromas, releasing its essential oils more potently, which means you don’t need much for it to make an impact.
Chai Hot Toddy
Let’s keep it cozy with this all-winter-long recipe for a Chai Hot Toddy—perfect for curling up with in front of a fireplace or under a thick blanket. The cinnamon flavor you’ll pull from whole cinnamon sticks is further enhanced by the use of cardamom here, which is a spice from the ginger family that interestingly emboldens cinnamon and adds traces of nutmeg.
Irish Iced Coffee
What’s better than a coffee after dinner? A spiked dessert coffee. Best of all, this drink is a blank slate, which makes it a perfect base on which to get inventive with creamy cinnamon drinks—tap into your imagination to turn this into a cinnamon bun coffee cocktail or a coffeecake streusel cocktail. Just swap out the called-for simple syrup for the next recipe below and voila!
Brown Sugar Cinnamon Simple Syrup
Consider this recipe a two-fer, since not only does the original incorporate your new favorite spice in a boozy slushie, but you’ll want to scroll down for a simple way to make simple syrup. This easy recipe riffs off the basic white sugar 1:1 formula to create a smaller yield perfect for sweet cinnamon accents. The additional molasses that occurs in brown sugar adds a subtle depth that’s just right to accompany cinnamon. Add this to spiked coffee or iced teas, pear or apple ciders, and cream-based drinks; make cinnamon coke; or just use it in lieu of any liquid sweetener in cocktails with fresh flavors, like pomegranate.
Fireball, Stillhouse Red Hot Whiskey, Jack Daniel’s Tennesee Fire, or Jim Beam’s Kentucky Fire packing a little too much heat for you? Or maybe you’re just not that big a fan of whiskey. Maybe Goldschlager’s profile is too much on the sweet side, and you’re looking for more of a cinnamon essence. In that case, try your hand at making your own infused vodka! It’s easy, and as an added bonus, gluten-free with this liquor. Just add 4 to 5 broken-in-half cinnamon stick to your bottle and let it all steep together. Some intrepid souls like to add fruit to their infusions, too, but we say keep your cinnamon simple and add in the fruit when you’re ready to strain, mix, shake, and pour.