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How to make spiced whisky at home

Honey & Cinnamon Highball - Whisky Recipe -

If you like it hot, you’ll be pleased to know that whisky lends itself to a little bit of spice. 

While it’s surprisingly simple to drink, whisky is a complex beverage with many layers of flavour, with spice being one of them. The finish, or slightly fiery warmth that rounds off each sip of scotch, is indeed on the spicy side. And then there are actual notes of peppery and herby flavours within many drams.

Amplifying these fiery notes with extra spice can open up a whole new world of whisky and its flavour opportunities – one that’s guaranteed to get you a little hot under the collar.

Stick around if you want to know how to make spiced whisky.

Whisky is spicy by nature

Whisky is naturally a little peppery. 

If you’re going by the five most well known flavour profiles: sweet, sour, bitter, salty, and umami, scotch tends to fall into the sweet category, with its fruity scents and caramel taste. But there are definite notes of spice within many whiskies, too. 

Sweet and spice is a favourite flavour pairing after all – think sweet chilli sauce and sugary cinnamon pastries. Like whisky, spice is a complex flavour that spans across many profiles and ingredients.

The fiery flavours within scotch

Take Ballantine’s Finest, our most iconic blended whisky that’s stayed true to its original recipe since 1910. 

This subtly sweet scotch balances milk chocolate and fruity flavours with a hint of spiciness, rounded off with a warming glow.

And then there’s Ballantine’s Barrel Smooth, a deliciously sweet and velvety whisky with a slight spicy tang reminiscent of star anise. 

Or if we’re talking about the fire that’s in a whisky’s finish, a good example is Ballantine’s 10 Year Old, which is guaranteed to leave you with a gentle burn at the back of your throat.

Want to find more about getting a sensory whisky tasting experience at home? Read our guide on how to taste whisky.

How do you add spice to whisky?

Like with most things whisky-centric, there aren’t any hard and fast rules on how to make spiced whisky. But there are a couple of easy ways that you can add some spice to your life and get some fire in your belly. 

Make spiced whisky cocktails

One of the simplest ways to make spiced scotch is by using spicy ingredients within a whisky cocktail.

Whether you’re new to cocktail making or consider yourself an expert mixologist, there are tons of spicy whisky cocktails to try.

One of our favourites has to be the Glenburgie Goose, our mango chilli cocktail. This combines whisky with the fresh flavours of mango and lime, with a smidge of spice from the new RZA Presents: Ballantine’s X Flying Goose Sriracha Sauce. It may sound a little out there, but the sweet spice from the hot sauce adds the perfect contrast to this fruity beverage.

Ginger

If you want to try a more natural spiciness with your scotch, go with our take on a Whisky Mule, AKA whisky and ginger beer. It’s one of the easiest spicy whisky cocktails to make – just 50ml of your favourite scotch and 150ml of peppery ginger beer, with the optional extra of lime juice.

Ginger is a flavour you’ll often see paired with scotch – its fiery nature works so well with the creamy sweetness of whisky. The classic Penicillin is another great ginger cocktail to try if you’d like to add extra spice to your scotch.

Cinnamon

Cinnamon is also a natural spice that works deliciously well with whisky. 

Although it’s often seen in sweet treats and creamy coffees, this tasty tree bark can actually be quite fiery. There’s a definite peppery-ness to a spoonful of ground cinnamon, and it makes it an ideal accompaniment to whisky. 

We have eight favourite cinnamon and ginger whisky drink recipes that’ll teach you exactly how to add natural spice to your whisky cocktails. Start with a classic Hot Toddy, a spicy scotch favourite that is guaranteed to warm your cockles.

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Infuse whisky with spice

Once you’ve nailed the spicy whisky cocktails, it’s time to learn the next method of how to make spiced whisky – infusing.

Infusing whisky with additional flavour is surprisingly easy. First, pick which spices you’d like to add to your scotch, such as ginger, chilli and cinnamon and nutmeg. Make sure they’re decent quality and within their use by date so that you get maximum flavour pay off. 

 

There’s no set rule on the quantities, but it’s a good idea to begin with a 3:1 ratio of whisky and spice. Put your spices in your whisky, either in the original bottle or in a suitable clean glass bottle/jar. Then give it a shake and leave it to do its thing. 

Shake and taste your spicy whisky infusion every day to see how the flavour is developing. Just like a good chef tastes their food as they go.

You may be happy with the flavour of your infused spiced whisky after just 24 hours, or it could be a week if you’re after a more intense hit.

Once it’s to your taste, enjoy your homemade spiced scotch on the rocks, in a cocktail or during a whisky tasting night with friends. The best part about this method of making spiced whisky is that the rules are totally up to you, and there are unlimited flavour combinations to try.

Now you know how to make spiced whisky, are you ready to add some extra fire to your whisky creations? 

Whisky drinking is a creative business after all, there’s no right or wrong way to drink scotch. While there are infinite ways to enjoy the water of life, adding extra spice to whisky is definitely up there with one of our faves.

Craving more even ways to experience scotch? Check out our guide on how to drink whisky and our full selection of whisky drinks to recreate at home.

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