Cinnamon Coke? What about cinnamon Coke with Fireball? | Drink | Pittsburgh | Pittsburgh City Paper

Cinnamon Coke? What about cinnamon Coke with Fireball?

click to enlarge If you squint you can see a mini Fireball in the background, plotting its domination. - CP PHOTO: HANNAH LYNN
CP Photo: Hannah Lynn
If you squint you can see a mini Fireball in the background, plotting its domination.
Every year around the holidays, there are special edition flavors of regular foods, like gingerbread coffee creamer or peppermint M&M’s. For the first time, Coca-Cola is jumping on the holiday flavor sleigh-wagon (ugh) with cinnamon-flavored Coke. Sure, why not?

I had to hunt around for the cinnamon Coke, both because it’s not sold everywhere and because the color of the label is almost the same as that of cherry Coke (a perfect beverage). And because I never participated in 2012's infamous Cinnamon Challenge, I wanted to do my own version by combining cinnamon Coke with Fireball. (If you need a refresh, the Cinnamon Challenge asked people to eat a spoonful of cinnamon in 60 seconds. Most of the time, they choked due to the incapacitating amount of cinnamon.)

On its own, cinnamon Coke is not the worst soda I’ve ever had (that would be pineapple Fanta), but I definitely wouldn’t drink it on purpose, except for investigative journalism reasons. The initial taste is that of regular Coke; tasty, refreshing. But then, the usual sweetness is replaced by a wallop of cinnamon. Part of what made the cinnamon challenge so difficult was that the spice has such an aggressively dry taste. Somehow, Coke has managed to replicate that dryness in liquid form.

If you wanted to make your own cinnamon Coke, you could probably buy a regular coke and stir in some ground cinnamon. Alternatively, grind up some potpourri.

Now to spice it up even more. Since we happened to have a bucket of mini Fireball bottles lying around the office, I decided to risk it all by mixing the two together. Actually we had an empty bucket of mini Fireballs and I had to pawn the last remaining one off of a coworker.

As established, cinnamon Coke tastes like coke with a strong aftertaste of straight-up cinnamon. Fireball, on the other hand, is reminiscent of Hot Tamales soaked in alcohol. Combining the two can only be described as a mistake. This is not a drink you should serve to someone you love, or even like. In terms of mixed drinks, there are certainly worse combinations, like cheap vodka and Rite Aid brand fruit punch, but none with the distinct sharpness of cinnamon Coke and Fireball. It’s full of spice, but not in the way that mulled wine is full of spice. It's not spicy like a pepper, but it does hurt a little. It tastes like the fermented bathwater of Big Red gum.

If you do want to be a Grinch and give your friends heartburn with this cocktail, then go full throttle. Crush up some cinnamon candy to rim the glass. Make them chase the drink with a spoonful of cinnamon, or vice versa. Just be completely unrelenting with the pain of cinnamon.

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