*At over 9,000 feet, Quito, Ecuador, has fairly chilly evenings. This strong cinnamon- and citrus-flavored cocktail is what Quiteños turn to to keep warm. Serve it as a shot at your next cocktail party, and we think you’ll agree that it’s warming as well as surprisingly potent.

What to buy: Aguardiente is a sugarcane-derived liquor that is savored for its light anise flavor; it can be found at most liquor stores.

Game plan: This drink can be made in a slow cooker or transferred to a thermal carafe to keep warm while it is being served.

This recipe was featured as part of our Spicy Holiday Cocktail Party menu, as well as our Drinks Around the World story.

  • Yield: 10 – 12 drinks
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Total: 45 mins 
  • Active: 10 mins 

Ingredients (6)

  • 4 cups water
  • 1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
  • 8 (3-inch) cinnamon sticks
  • 1 medium orange, thinly sliced
  • 2 cups aguardiente
  • 1 medium lime, thinly sliced


  1. Combine water, sugar, cinnamon sticks, and orange slices in a medium saucepan and bring to a simmer over medium heat, stirring until the sugar has dissolved, about 2 minutes. Reduce the heat to low and cook, covered, until the liquid has a noticeable cinnamon flavor, about 30 minutes.
  2. Keep the mixture warm over very low heat (it should no longer be simmering). Add the remaining ingredients, stir, and serve in small shot glasses or tumblers.