Gnebriated Gnome

Hunka Hunka Burning Rum


When I made this variety I was already confident in my white rum, I had been making small batches for a couple years and had my recipe where I wanted it for my personal enjoyment. There was not any plan for a distillery yet but I think at this point I had discussed the 5 variety plan with the family and friends. The short version of that plan was, once I could consistently make 5 varieties that others liked then I would start planning out the distillery. I did not want to take the time and money to create a distillery to produce something that I alone enjoyed.

My mother has been a huge fan of "Red Hot" cinnamon candies for years, I also enjoy them. One day I had a small package of them sitting on the counter, I don’t know if they were from trick or treating with the kids or if she had recently visited and left a package or where they came from. I had just finished up a run so had plenty of rum to play with, I grabbed a jar of rum and the candies and made by far the favorite rum of the masses. Over the years I have found that this one goes the fastest, I can never make enough, more people like this one compared to all the other varieties.

Right here is a good time to point out that this is not a competitor to ANY cinnamon spirits on the market. My goal was never to displace anyone else, only to make something that everyone around me enjoys. This one happens to be one of my favorites as well.

It took a long time to perfect the recipe as too much cinnamon left a bitter taste and too much sugar gives the drinker heartburn and was a sticky mess. I also had to work out what kind of cinnamon to use, I didn’t know just how many varieties and suppliers there are. I wanted something that had a strong Cinnamon flavor to impart into the rum but I also had to take into consideration supply and cost. We tried several varieties and ended up on a ground Vietnamese Cinnamon. It's one of the "spicier" varieties and I can order the ground version in bulk.

There are several good stories to talk about with this whole process. One of them being, the local ground cinnamon version from the grocery store. When the Cinnamon has been added to the rum and I go to strain it out, the local version is a big old gloppy mess. It's pretty gross and I can only imagine what it would be like on a full production scale. It takes forever to strain it out with gravity or a ton of filters when using a force filtering system. The Vietnamese Cinnamon, on the other hand, is a dream to work with. I can gravity strain in only a few hours and if I force filter it I do still have to change out filters but it’s a very manageable amount all things considered.

This rum was actually named as a joke, We had the variety worked out before a name. We sat around for several hours with a few random people and threw out names. Nothing really stuck well, then one of my best friends threw out Hunka Hunka Burning rum just to be a smart ass. It really stuck solid right from that moment. We played with a few other names but still nothing could better it.

Not rum related but my wife once made a homemade ice cream with the cinnamon candies, it was Mother-in-law and husband approved.

Behind the scenes

This variety takes our White Wizard unaged rum, sugar, and the ground Vietnamese cinnamon. They steep together until all the great flavors are infused, we then strain out the cinnamon and bottle from there. There is usually a little bit of sediment that accumulates after the bottle has been sitting for a while. This is just more of the cinnamon settling down to the bottom. If I filtered it finer to remove this little bit of sediment we end up removing so much more of the flavor that I have opted to keep it.

Jared McMillan
Not a master distiller
Enjoyer of Cinnamon candies