How Do Cinnamon Schnapps And Whiskey Liqueurs Differ?

When it comes to cinnamon-flavored spirits, choosing the right one to add to your repertoire can be crucial. So, how different can cinnamon schnapps and whiskey liqueur really be? Both ingredients are powerful players in the kitchen and a simple way to bring a punch of sweet heat to any recipe. But beware, while they may sound similar, they have key differences in flavor and color that can impact your outcome.

If you plan on substituting cinnamon schnapps for its whiskey liqueur counterpart, you'll want to know how the two differ and how to account for those differences in your cooking or bartending. After all, there's nothing worse than working hard on a drink or dish only for it to be sabotaged by a poorly-planned ingredient swap. There are important differences between these two spirits and how they can be used in a wide variety of recipes, from warming cocktails to mouth-watering baked goods.

The differences in taste and alcohol percentage

The definition of schnapps can vary widely based on your location and the type you are buying. In the case of cinnamon schnapps, what you are getting is typically a grain spirit flavored with cinnamon. The result is a colorless beverage with an assertive, spicy taste. In terms of alcohol content, cinnamon schnapps contains between 15% to 20% ABV. One example you may have seen on shelves is Goldschlager, which is the perfect pairing to a drink like the Apple Pie cocktail that also contains sour apple schnapps and vodka. 

Cinnamon whiskey liqueur, on the other hand, has been diluted with flavors to get a weaker and more mild-tasting beverage. The resulting alcohol is typically a similar color to the base spirit and tastes sweeter than your average hard liquor. Due to the dilution, the liqueur tends not to be very strong with an ABV of 15% to 30%. Fireball often falls into this category, which can be taken straight as a shot or used in a drink like Dragon's Blood that also contains cranberry juice.

How to substitute them in recipes

Swapping cinnamon schnapps out for cinnamon whiskey liqueur is a perfectly viable option in many scenarios — provided you know how to make the switch correctly. When substituting one ingredient for the other, pay attention to what aspects of your recipe will be impacted, like the color and flavor. If you want to make a crystal clear cinnamon cocktail, trading your schnapps for a whiskey liqueur will not be the right choice, as it will impart a dark, murky color to the result. 

On the other hand, if you are baking a cake or cookies and want to add a splash of boozy spice to the batter or dough, feel free to go with whichever one you have on hand since either option will get the job done. Whether you prefer cinnamon schnapps or whiskey liqueur is an entirely personal choice. Now that you know the difference between the two, it's up to you how and when you choose to use one or the other in your recipes. Go forth and substitute with confidence.