Lube or Liqueur? I Couldn’t Tell

Hot Rose Spicy Cinnamon Cream Liqueur

Hot Rose Spicy Cinnamon Cream Liqueur

I Paid: $17.99 for a 750-milliliter bottle (prices may vary by region)

Taste: 1 stars

Marketing: 1 stars

The packaging of Hot Rose Spicy Cinnamon Cream Liqueur was what initially attracted me. Hot Rose comes in a red plastic bottle and looks like (a) cheap suntan lotion, (b) something you'd buy at an auto body shop, and/or (c) lube. And not classy modern lube, like K-Y Yours+Mine. We're talking the sort of stuff carried by the Sinnerz Adult Emporium, a converted fireworks shop located off the highway between Minneapolis and Green Bay. You don't necessarily expect this new spin-off of Tequila Rose strawberry cream liqueur to look classy per se, but gosh.

As for the flavor: I work with words a lot, but I don't have the verbiage necessary to convey just how bad a beverage this is. You'd guess that it's pretty bad based on the bottle's appearance, but you'd have, in fact, no idea what you were in for. It's like you went on a blind date, and you think, "Well, that was unpleasant—she's not really my type," and then you find out that she actually headed up Saddam Hussein's chemical weapons program back in the day. Whole ’nother level of bad.

If you drink Hot Rose—a 30-proof, bright pinkish-red liquid just a few shades removed from stage blood—you'll be sucking down a mildly chalky, vaguely bubblegumlike viscous fluid with a chemical aftertaste and a halfhearted blast of one-dimensional cayenne heat at the back of each sip. As you run to the kitchen to pour yourself a glass of palate-cleansing water, you'll no doubt be thinking: "Eighteen dollars? For this? Seriously?"

There are inexpensive liqueurs in my liquor cabinet, and they have their roles, generally as components in easygoing, relaxing-and-watching-a-movie-type beverages. Hot Rose ... well, Hot Rose has an upcoming date with the kitchen sink.

James Norton edits the Upper Midwestern food journal Heavy Table. He's also the coauthor of a book on Wisconsin's master cheesemakers. Follow CHOW on Twitter, and become a fan on Facebook.