You may know the whiskey flip. It's a fascinating cocktail that is a true classic, made of whiskey, sugar, egg and nutmeg. Santa's whiskey flip is very similar, but we're adding extra flavors to really give it that warm, soothing feel we look for in holiday drinks.
The transformation begins with the whiskey, which is infused with cinnamon sticks for a few days. Then the sugar of the original flip is replaced with amaretto, a favorite winter liqueur. From there, we go traditional, with egg and nutmeg. It creates a luscious drink with a great cream and the flavors of the season.
While it's not necessary, you can add cream as well. The egg produces a slight cream, but having a little extra in the base of the cocktail is great when you're in the right mood. Either way, this is a fun and classically-styled cocktail that you can share with friends throughout the holidays.
- In a cocktail shaker, combine the whiskey, amaretto and egg. Add cream if you like.
- Dry shake (without ice) vigorously.
- Fill the shaker with ice and shake again for 30 seconds.
- Strain into a chilled sour or cocktail glass.
- Dust with grated nutmeg.
Make Your Own Cinnamon Whiskey
It's important to distinguish cinnamon-infused whiskey with cinnamon-flavored whiskey liqueurs. The majority of "cinnamon whiskey" you can pick up at the liquor store falls into the latter category.
They are sweetened—definition of a liqueur—and often flavored with artificial ingredients.
While those are popular, this recipe is designed for a cinnamon-infused bourbon: straight bourbon flavored with real cinnamon. The good news is that this is one of the easiest infusions you can make. Anyone can do it and the flavor is much cleaner, giving you a pleasant bourbon background with hints of the real spice and no sweetness (that's the amaretto's job in the recipe).
To make cinnamon whiskey, simply place two whole cinnamon sticks into a mason jar filled with bourbon. Shake well and store in a cool, dark place for about three days, shaking it daily. After the third day, give your infusion a taste test.
If it's where you want it, remove the cinnamon sticks (strain or simply pull them out with tongs). If you want a little more cinnamon flavor, continue infusing until it reaches your desired taste. It may take three to seven days depending on the whiskey and the intensity you're going for.
Tip: You can place the cinnamon sticks directly in a bottle of whiskey. The problem is that the sticks swell as the cinnamon absorbs the whiskey, making them nearly impossible to remove through the thin bottle neck. Essentially, this gives you little to no control over the time and flavor of your infusion. You'll have to pour the whiskey out anyway or the cinnamon flavor will just keep getting stronger.
Irish whiskey would be an excellent option and some of the smooth Canadian blends are nice as well.
Remember that bourbon, and whiskey in general, vary greatly. You'll have softer options and more robust ones. The brand you choose will determine the overall character of the infusion and the cocktail.
You may want to begin with something in the middle. Brands like Woodford Reserve and Maker's Mark are always good candidates for infusions because they're not too bold, nor too reserved. They take flavor well and are really nice in classically-styled drinks like Santa's flip.
The Importance of the Dry Shake
The key to mixing any cocktail with eggs is to remember the dry shake. This is particularly true with whole eggs and whites. It's a trick that often sets a great professional bartender's drinks apart from the rest.
The dry shake ensures that the egg is thoroughly mixed into the rest of the drink. It also does wonders for creating the signature foam all flip cocktails are known for. It adds less than a minute to your mixing time and it is worth every second of effort.
Keep in mind that shaking egg drinks requires stamina: shake it until it hurts. The cocktail will be your reward for a little extra labor.
How Strong Is Santa's Whiskey Flip?
Santa's whiskey flip is not the lightest cocktail you'll mix up during the holiday season, but it's not too strong, either. With an 80-proof bourbon and a 42-proof amaretto, you can expect this cocktail to be around 20 percent ABV (40 proof). That's average for drinks of this style.