In 2014, Jim Beam launched another flavored bourbon to the market and it quickly caught fire. Kentucky Fire is a cinnamon-infused version of the popular whiskey and joined Beam's flavor portfolio, which includes Red Stag, Apple, Honey and Maple. Following with the resurgence of cinnamon spirits, Kentucky Fire is a welcome addition to the liquor cabinet and tops my list of the flavors the brand offers.
I must admit, first and foremost, that I am a cinnamon fanatic; flavor almost anything with cinnamon and you have my attention. However, I have become much more selective on my cinnamon spirits because there have been some rather poor examples released and many of the options just don't cut it for one reason or another. Happily, this is not the case for Kentucky Fire -- it has made it towards the top of my list of favorite cinnamon spirits.
Bourbon and cinnamon are natural companions and we've been drinking them together for years: mixing whiskey with Goldschlager for a winter warmer, or with apple cider in the likes of this Hot Cinn Apple Toddy, or fun drinks like The Rooster. With Kentucky Fire, we can enjoy the two flavors from a single bottle and it's pretty good, even without a good chill.
The balance of cinnamon to the familiar bourbon is nice. Neither profile overpowers the other; the cinnamon is very apparent and sweetens the bourbon perfectly.
The flavoring also adds a smoothness to the finish that has always been a sticking point between me and the standard white label Jim Beam. While I rarely dislike Beam's specialty bottlings (Distiller's Series, Signature Craft Series, etc.), their standard has not been on my list of go-to bourbons and that may be because I've been waiting for a little cinnamon to come into the mix.
How to drink Kentucky Fire? It is good as a straight pour (shoot it if you must), but I really like it over an ice ball to get that nice chill without all the water. Apple cider - warm or cold - is also a great option for this cinnamon bourbon, particularly the unfiltered cider that is fresh throughout autumn. Toddies and coffee are other great options and you may really like this with a shot of espresso, shaken and served chilled for a cinnamon bourbon twist on an Espresso Martini. One other favorite is to do a simple mix of Kentucky Fire and amaretto, a take on the Toastie shooter, which is also excellent on the rocks.
About Jim Beam Kentucky Fire
- Kentucky straight bourbon whiskey infused with cinnamon liqueur.
- Produced by Jim Beam
- Released in August 2014
- 35% alc/volume (70 proof)
- Visit their website
Disclosure: Review samples were provided by the manufacturer. For more information, please see our Ethics Policy.