Cinnamon has a warm sweet woody aroma that is delicate yet intense with a warm fragrant taste with hints of clove.
At the left in the picture above are4 sticks of the mexican cinnamon called canela (which also comes from Sri Lanka but is from another species than the common ceylon cinnamon) and in the bundle at the right is the common cassia often sold in the shops as ceylon cinnamon.The leaves are from a large cinnamon tree and i use them in cooking as they impart a subtle flavor in curry dishes, something i learnt while watching a TV documentary about cooking in the Seychelles. These leaves also makes for a beautiful cocktail garnish.
Native to Sri Lanka the cinnamon tree is an evergreen small tree growing to 10–15 metres (32.8–49.2 feet) tall and which contains an essential oil which gives the aromatic flavor which is extracted from the bark. The botanical name for the spice — Cinnamomum zeylanicum—is derived from Sri Lanka’s former (colonial) name, Ceylon.
Cinnamon has a long history way back to antiquity, its also mentioned in the bible. It used to be such a precious spice that it was given to monarchs. The cinnamon tree is grown for 2 years before harvesting which is done by stripping the bark from the shoots emerging from the roots after a special treatment. The inner bark is then curled into rolls which are cut for sale.
There are several varietes of cinnamon and also several varietes of cultivars as well. The name cinnamon is correctly used to refer to Ceylon cinnamon, also known as “true cinnamon” (from the botanical name C. zeylanicum). However, the related species, Cassia are as i wrote sometimes sold as cinnamon. Its the presence of eugenol in the essential oil that distinguishes cinnamon from cassia, giving it the note of clove.
I have 2 varietes at home for the moment, cassia and then the interesting mexican variety called canela that was sent to me in a swap by Anita over at “Married With Dinner“. The cinnamon that is used in Mexican cooking is a softer loose bark variety – also grown in Sri Lanka and when i compare the two they are quite different. The cassia is harder and has a somewhat deeper but less present fragrance while the canela variety is more fragrant up-front and has a much softer bark which is also lighter in color. I love to use the sticks for garnish in cocktails and i regularly make cinnamon syrup which i think is a nessecity for my cocktail mixing.
To make cinnamon syrup you simply make a simple syrup with either 2.1 or 1:1 water and sugar of choice. Then you add a few broken cinnamon sticks into the pan and let it boil for a while before cooling. The longer you let it sit to cool the more flavor you will get so taste your way.
CINNAMON IN COCKTAILS
Checking for the use of cinnamon in cocktails in one form or another, the use of cinnamon syrup is for instance common in the world of tiki cocktails. You will also find cinnamon being used in warm cocktails around christmas time as well as in other winter time cocktails. Cinnamon also goes well with apple cider and bourbon.
For cocktail mixing and infusions:
Cinnamon combines well with:
Almonds, blackberries, blood orange, cranberry, mandarin, feijoa, fig, cumquat, orange, apples, apricots, chocolate, coffee, pears, persimon, walnuts, carrots and bananas.
CINNAMON PLANTATION PUNCH
2 oz dark rum – Plantation Barbados
.5 oz highproof demerara rum
¼ oz Cointreau
.5 oz fresh lime juice
.5 oz cinnamon syrup
2 oz fresh blood orange juice
Top with a splash of Cherry Heering.
Shake all ingredients except Cherry Heering and strain into a ice filled cocktail glass. Garnish with a cinnamon stick.
This is a strong rum drink with lots of rum flavor yet i find it balances well with the rest of the ingredients and i think the cinnamon syrup goes well with the blood orange juice. The Plantation Barbados is a nice dark rum and well suited for both mixing and sipping and the addition of a highproof demerara gives depth to the rum flavor as well as a good kick.
This is especially a drink for rum lovers.