Tag Archives: Colleen Graham

Cinnamon Cocktail Contest

I see a lot of cinnamon cocktails in my near future...

I fear sounding too repetitive, but I was giddy with excitement when I opened my inbox early this week and saw Colleen Graham’s About.com Cocktail Newsletter. In it, she announced October’s cocktail contest which – as you can deduce from the title of this post  – is Cinnamon!

“Your drink can use fresh cinnamon, cinnamon liqueurs, infusions, syrups, anything with cinnamon,” according to Colleen’s contest rules. This is the perfect opportunity to familiarize yourself with Original Cinn, the new 90-proof cinnamon schnapps from Hiram Walker whose praises I’ve been singing of late.

Original Cinn has a versatile amount of uses: it is great in cocktails and hot drinks, perfect for shots, and also is delicious with desserts (pour a little bit atop some vanilla ice cream, I promise you won’t be disappointed).

The best part of the cocktail contest is that it is open to everyone – from beginners to mixologists. So grab a bottle o’ cinn (it’s so reasonably priced at around $10 for a 750 ml) and stir up that perfect fall-flavored cocktail. Here is where you can enter the contest.


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The Great Pumpkin Cocktail Contest

Back in May, Colleen Graham of About.com Cocktails started a fantastic project on her site – a monthly cocktail contest that has the entire cocktail community involved. As we put a close on September, I found myself with a great opportunity to submit a cocktail recipe – one that I developed myself 🙂

Colleen allocated “Pumpkin” as the star of September. Here’s what she had to say on the subject:

The theme for the September, 2010 cocktail contest is pumpkin cocktails. Pumpkin is a flavor that drinkers look for every fall. You drink can use fresh pumpkin, pumpkin-flavored spirits, pie spice, or anything else pumpkin flavored.

If you have created a special pumpkin cocktail that you think could grab our panel’s attention, submit it. The winning drink will be featured in a spotlight on About.com Cocktails in October and placed permanently in the cocktail collection.

Using inspiration from my favorite Starbucks beverage and a recipe available on the Hiram Walker website, I decided to give the Pumpkin Chai a revamp.

Test subjects for the Autumn in New England cocktail, each with different garnish, ready for anxious taste testers! From Left To Right: Dusted Cinnamon, Drizzled Chocolate Syrup, Cinnamon Rim (with an 'oops' drop of chocolate syrup!) Oh, and there's my elbow. Hi!

Full disclosure as always: Though they were not given me for this cocktail creation, the bottles of Hiram Walker Pumpkin Spice and ABSOLUT Vanilla were given to me from the Pernod-Ricard team. I also received a bottle of Voyant Chai Cream Liqueur as a sample after a meeting with the product developer and owner back in August. Full of spice and very tasty if you haven’t yet tried it.

I spent a few nights trying out different proportions & ingredients for a winning recipe, trying to keep the sweet pumpkin profile center stage with this strong plethora of added spices.  I finally settled on the following sweet Autumn treat:

Autumn in New England

  • 1 part Hiram Walker Pumpkin Spice Liqueur
  • 1 to 1 1/2 parts Voyant Chai Cream Liqueur
  • 1/2 part ABSOLUT Vanilla

Pour all ingredients together with ice in a mixing glass. Shake vigorously. Strain into a garnished martini glass.

Developing the perfect garnish was where my friends had the most fun participating with me (well, aside from the actual taste testing part…). As you can tell from the photo above, we had quite the collection of garnish options.

First was the dusting of cinnamon on top of the drink, which just ended up looking sloppy and ended up cutting all the flavor from the drink itself. We also tried drizzling syrup into the cocktail glassware, with much experimentation. Chocolate and caramel were both winning options among the masses. Lastly, I had the most fun with creating a cinnamon coated rim on the martini glass.  Yummm.

Up close and personal with my Autumn in New England cocktail

There were some more fantastic submissions for the September Pumpkin Contest on About.com Cocktails. And – it’s still not too late to submit more recipes! You have until September 30th to enter your very own pumpkin creation.

Cheers for a (relatively) warm welcome to Autumn!


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