Coca-Cola Cinnamon is a limited edition release that is no doubt timed to align with those unique fall flavors that are synonymous with this wondrous time of year. The fad/cult of Pumpkin Spice is finally coming to an end, and other crisp spice flavors are rightly poised to take a shot at the market as soon as the leaves start changing colors. A cinnamon flavored beverage isn’t exactly a brave new world, but whenever Coca-Cola adds a flavor to the planet’s most famous drink formula, it’s time to sit up and take notice. Pepsi flavors come and go every day, and while the variety is great, it takes away a little something from their flagship elixir. Speaking of which, Pepsi also did a Cinnamon soda called “Pepsi Fire” a few years back, but promised something a little more intense. The only real way to describe the taste of Fire was “throat fucking.”. Times were different back then: Fireball whiskey was at its height of popularity, and it was a confusing lonely existence for us all. Sure, the world’s gotten worse and everyone’s even lonelier, but maybe Coke has the answer to get us out of all this mess? It’s a tall order but if any company is up to this task, it’s these magnates. So how does it taste?
The Cinnamon smell is present from the left hand twist of the cap, and is an agreeable “true cinnamon” aroma. It’s welcoming, and a glass pour works well for this kind of appreciation as well. The taste is remarkably subtle. Most every cinnamon snack, drink, booze etc is “overdone” with the flavoring meant to give the consumer a rush or energy akin to a hot sauce dynamic. With Cinnamon Coke however there’s a smoothness that works both for and against the taste. The first half of the bottle is great if you want a little extra zest to your coke, but once your tastebuds get used to it, the whole beverage “stales out.” We did find that food helped with this however. Much like how a good cheese can bring out the flavors in a wine, there’s a strong case for having a Cinnamon Coke during a meal to see what happens on your tongue. But shit, this isn’t a wine pairing small plate meal blog, we’re here to get ripped. It’s time for the man from Tennessee to share his thoughts on the matter.
The smoothness…okay lets stop marketing it, the conservativeness of the cinnamon may not be the best for solitary consumption. But as I was drinking I suddenly had the notion of Jack and Coke. While I’m traditionally a rum man when it comes to Coke mixing, the whole bodied essence of whiskey seemed better suited. There’s not much to say other than it just freakin’ works! The sweetness must balance better than regular coke as the Jack Daniels was present to the taste but without any of that gruff unpleasantness if you haven’t mixed it properly. This was the most delightful Jack and Coke I’ve ever had, and the only person who could explain it better would be Shaquille O’Neal himself…
Verdict: Cinnamon Coca-Cola is a subtle approach to that tired old “spicy cola”’gimmick that has fizzled out over the last couple of years. While the lack of burn and smooth taste is welcomed, the drink is best enjoyed paired with a flavor companion of a food or drink to connect with its flavor. For some that might be your favorite snack, maybe a nice cheese or fruit. I could list scores of foods and creations that would pair wonderfully with this soft drink, but it’s far from the true intended application. For the best enjoyment of this new holiday classic…well gosh it was only ever going to be those three words we need to hear most come thanksgiving and Christmas: Jack Fucking Daniels. Bring on the holidays, I’m finally prepared.
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