Drinking the Bottom Shelf: Hiram Walker Butterscotch Schnapps and Original Cinn

Drinking the Bottom Shelf

Will Gordon drinks his way through the bottom shelf of the liquor store...so you don’t have to.


In general my life is every bit as wrinkled and stained as you might imagine, but it's not for lack of planning. I'm not nearly as whimsical or spontaneous as a professional cinnamon schnapps reviewer ought to be.

I did it! I did it! I referred to the subject of the column in the very first sentence! But only because after last week's overlong preliminary ramble, I wrote "Remember to mention actual booze next time" on the white board that governs my life.

You see, my decisions are rarely sound, but they are always made in advance. So when you see me incurring a $5 ATM fee to get $10 for three slices of pizza at midnight and you think, "Man, he's going to regret that in the morning," you are mistaken, for in the morning I will take great satisfaction in erasing "Make poor choice regarding money and cheese" from my list of things to do.

Because of the meticulous planning required prior to all meals, mistakes, and other adventures, my week has been thoroughly befluxed by the unexpected intrusion of two job interviews. A couple weeks ago I added "Be willing to exchange work for money" to the white board, right below "Make sure to accept a million dollars from any kind stranger who may offer it," but I forgot to include the part about "This swapping of toil for dollars may require preliminary negotiation involving necktie-wearing and house-leaving."

But when the call came, I had no choice but to hustle downtown to sing and dance for my future suppers. Other than the schedule disruption, it wasn't as degrading or disorienting as it sounds, though. I've had my eye on employment for a bit of time now, since even before my focus got sharp enough to etch the idea onto the white board.

You may reasonably wonder how a such a cheerfully crooked man could find his circumstances so straitened. It's a simple matter, really. Although Bottom Shelf research coordinator Emily works like a normal person and I chip in with work sufficient for a person of modest tastes and ambitions, it is now December, and I do not yet work enough to pay for winter beer.

I'm not talking about all the cloved and nutmegged things that replace the berried and wheated things in the seasonally marketed beer aisle. I mean that come the dark months, I'm not as content to drink cheap American lager while I stare out the window and dream of the too-rare boat rides and barbecues that could, meteorologically speaking, happen the very next day.

I will ride exactly as many boats this winter as I did over the summer, but the ice prevents even the dreams. This means I need to treat myself to dark and scary and pricey beers. This past Sunday, I found myself thinking, "It's just as well that I will not be on a boat this afternoon, because this $9 bottle of Stone Black IPA would seem out of place in a maritime setting." Then I found myself thinking, "Shit, that was my last $9."

Hence, job interviews. But my search is in the early stages, so until such fine time as I convince someone to make biweekly deposits directly into my beer account, I need to scrounge around for whatever liquid comes my way. And that means peering into the darkest recesses of the Free Stuff From Liquor Publicists cabinet. Time to have a drink-see at Hiram Walker Butterscotch Flavored Schnapps and Original Cinn Cinnamon Schnapps.


This sells for about $10 per 750mL bottle, which makes it worth keeping around if you have a deep liquor cabinet and a tentatively boozy book club. People who like the idea of drinking more than they like actually drinking might be drawn to a splash of this 30-proofer in their coffee. It's too sticky for my taste, but less chemically sweet than anticipated. If you like butterscotch-flavored things (and I don't), I bet you've enjoyed faker-tasting versions.

Original Cinn:

Now here's some stuff that could get me through the winter on the off chance that "A desperate need for beer money" isn't the right answer to "So, Will, what do you think you could bring to our company?" This Hiram Walker cinnamon schnapps, also $10 for 750mL, is a really good value, because it's 90 proof. It tastes much gentler than that—I'd have pegged it at about 50--so I'll probably drink it straight, but if your delicate palate finds it to be a little too much like pie-spiced fire, you can water it down with vodka.