Fireball Cinnamon Whisky

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Fireball Cinnamon Whisky
Type Flavored Canadian whisky liqueur
Manufacturer Sazerac Company
Country of origin Canada
Introduced 1984
Alcohol by volume 33%
Flavour cinnamon
Ingredients Canadian whisky

Fireball Cinnamon Whisky is a cinnamon-flavored whisky-based liqueur produced by the Sazerac Company. Its foundation is Canadian whisky, and the taste otherwise resembles the candy with a similar name, Ferrara Candy Company's "Atomic Fireball" candy.[1] It is bottled at 33% alcohol by volume (66 U.S. proof).[2]

According to the official Fireball website, the product was developed in Canada in the mid-1980s, and for a long time was little known outside of Canada.[3] Fireball is now widely available in Canada, the United States, and the United Kingdom, and can also be found in Singapore, Israel, Norway, Sweden, Germany, France, Australia, Ireland,[4] and various other countries.[5]


The product was part of a line of flavored schnapps developed by Seagram in the mid-1980s.[2] The manufacturer's story line is, in part, that it was the product of a Canadian bartender's efforts to warm up from an Arctic blast. The Sazerac Company purchased the brand rights and formula from Seagram in 1989.[2]

It was marketed as "Dr. McGillicuddy's Fireball Whisky".[2] Ostensibly, the named doctor was Dr. Aloysius Percival McGillicuddy, more commonly referred to as "the shot doctor"[2] who was "born" in the year 1808.[6][A] Later, in 2007, the product was rebranded as "Fireball Cinnamon Whisky".[7]

An April 2014 article in Bloomberg Business Week said "It's also one of the most successful liquor brands in decades. In 2011, Fireball accounted for a mere $1.9 million in sales in U.S. gas stations, convenience stores, and supermarkets, according to IRI, a Chicago-based market research firm. Last year [2013], sales leapt to $61 million, passing Jameson Irish whiskey and Patrón tequila."[2] In 2012 and 2013, the product had a surge in popularity, which the company achieved by using social media, cultivating bartenders, word of mouth, and a relatively small advertising budget.[1][8] In 2013, it became one of the top ten most popular liquors, displacing Jose Cuervo tequila.[9] The Bloomberg Business Week article said that based on current trends, the brand was in position to overtake Jägermeister in popularity.[2]

In early 2012, the Sazerac company sued Hood River Distillers over the allegedly confusing trade name and marketing of its product, SinFire Cinnamon Whisky.[10][11][12]

Fireball Cinnamon Whiskey's label was designed by Ross Sutherland, who's also designed labels for Black Magic rum, Wheatley Vodka, and some other brands.[citation needed]

Similar products[edit]

Cinnamon has become an important flavoring for many kinds of liquor, and is touted as a way to increase sales.

Somewhat similar products – Red Stag Spiced and Kentucky Fire (both bourbon-based)[13] by Jim Beam, DeKuyper Hot Damn!, Gold Strike cinnamon liqueur containing gold snippets produced by Lucas Bols, and Goldschlager Cinnamon Schnapps containing gold flecks – which also have cinnamon as an ingredient in high potency liqueurs. 91.1 proof Cinerator is a higher alcohol content cinnamon-favored and whiskey-based product launched in late 2014 and produced by Heaven Hill Distilleries in Bardstown, Kentucky.[14][15]

Joining the 'cinnamon-liquor band wagon' are products that feature cinnamon-infused vodka, including Smirnoff's Cinna-Sugar Twist.[16] In November 2013, Beam's Pinnacle Vodka and Cinnabon teamed up to introduce their own brand of cinnamon flavored vodka, Cinnabon Vodka.[B][17] Yet another is Stolichnaya Zinamom Vodka.[18][19] Another product is Tennessee Fire by Jack Daniels.[20]

A "sprinkle" of cinnamon and real cream is combined with Virgin Islands rum in Chila 'Orchata Cinnamon Cream Rum.[21][22]

The first cinnamon flavored Tequila is Peligroso Cinnamon Tequila – made from 100% Blue Agave – launched in March, 2013.[23] However, a cinnamon cream tequila liqueur expression called Hot Rose – made by McCormick Distilling Company of Missouri with a unique plastic package[C] – antedates Peligroso.[23][24] A follower is Jose Cuervo's Cinge.[25][26][27][D]

Rakomelo, that is cinnamon and honey[28] brandy concoctions, called "Cinnamon liqueur" and made with Rakı[29] or Tsipouro, are popular in parts of Greece.[30][31]

For those who wish to make their own "cinnamon liqueur" there is much controversy concerning the proper ingredients.[32] Particularly, some purported "cinnamon" (that found in "cinnamon sticks") isn't in fact cinnamon, as the latter may be banned or limited in some countries due to the presence of coumarin, despite the clinical insignificance of the chemical in its unmodified form.[33][E]

Fireball has been compared to Yukon Jack, "the black sheep of Canadian liquors",[34] which is chiefly a concoction with honey and whiskey, and lacks any cinnamon.[8]


"Straight shots" or on the rocks are preferred methods to drink it.[1] The Sazerac website says "the cinnamon flavor is often used for shooters but can add character to a mixed drink."[8]

However, various cocktails also use Fireball as an ingredient,[35] and the company has encouraged the development of such cocktails.[1] They include "Cinna-Rita", "Fire Nut Ball", "Hot Cherry Fizz", "Red Apple Spice", and "Ring-of-Fire".[36] Another is a blend of Irish coffee called "Fire Starter Coffee".[37] An "Angry Balls" mixer is a combination of Angry orchard cider and Fireball cinnamon whisky.[citation needed] Listed concoctions made with Fireball include: 1. The Hotter Toddy (tea, honey, lemon; 2. Ciderball (hard cider); 3. The Drunken Dessert (hot chocolate); 4. The Ultimate French Toast Shot (Butterscotch Liqueur, Baileys Irish Cream); and 5. The F-Bomb (Red Bull).[35] The latter energy drink bomb shot may be compared to the Jägerbomb.

Awards and accolades[edit]

In popular culture[edit]

  • Fireball is also mentioned in the song "Ready Set Roll" by Chase Rice in the line "hit the spot like a fireball shot".

Health concerns[edit]

In Finland and Sweden it has been reported that Fireball contains high amounts of propylene glycol that surpass the EU limitations of 100mg/kg. If this is an actual health concern or not isn't clear yet, as tests are still being run, but the Swedish Systembolaget is offering all of its customers a refund, even if they've opened the bottles they've purchased.[39]

Fireball has been recalled and is now temporarily banned in Norway, Finland and Sweden due to exceeding the limit of propylene glycol allowed in consumables.[40][41][42]

The manufacturers of Fireball offered an explanation that this partial recall was due to a "recipe-related compliance issue" whereby product that should have gone to the United States was mistakenly shipped to Scandinavia. It is claimed that the product is safe to drink and will be back on European store shelves in a few weeks.[41][43][44] The United States Food and Drug Administration generally deems small amounts of propylene glycol to be safe for use in food or beverages.[45]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ See his apocryphal will where he "present[s] the recipe for Dr. McGillicuddy’s Schnapps, whose intense taste made me a bit of a legend in these parts." "Dr. Aloysius McGilicuddy". October 20, 2008. Retrieved July 31, 2013. [unreliable source?]]]
  2. ^ It "offers lip-smacking indulgence that combines the decadent flavors of cinnamon, brown sugar and rich cream cheese frosting with hints of caramel to create a taste reminiscent of warm, freshly baked cinnamon rolls. At 70-proof, the product is smooth, five-times distilled and can be served chilled, on the rocks or mixed in festive cocktails at any brunch or get-together." "Pinnacle Vodka and Cinnabon join forces to develop an industry-first vodka innovation" (Press release). Deerfield, IL. November 21, 2013. Retrieved 6 January 2014. 
  3. ^ "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. . . ." Norton, James (October 28, 2011). "Lube or Liqueur? I Couldn’t Tell". CHOW Retrieved March 2, 2014. 
  4. ^ "If you're in the market for boozy Red Hots, Jose Cuervo's Cinge should do the trick. Clocking in at 35 percent alcohol by volume, this syrupy hooch has about as much in common with tequila as Fireball does with whiskey." Morgan, Tara (January 15, 2014). "Flavored Tequilas: Only for the adventurous (or young)". Boise Weekly. Retrieved March 1, 2014. 
  5. ^ Coumarin is currently listed by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) of the United States among "Substances Generally Prohibited From Direct Addition or Use as Human Food", according to 21 CFR 189.130 Food and Drug Administration but some natural additives containing coumarin, such as the flavorant sweet woodruff are allowed "in alcoholic beverages only" (21 CFR 172.510). In Europe, popular examples of such beverages are Maiwein (white wine with woodruff) and Żubrówka (vodka flavoured with bison grass). In the late 1970s, the latter drink disappeared from shelves in the United States, and it was thereafter renamed and reformulated for U.S. distribution. In addition to the Coumarin problem, American authorities determined that the trademark on Żubrówka brand was diluted and unenforceable, as it was a generic name, like "Aspirin". Michaels, Daniel (18 January 2011). "Name Your Poison: How a Banned Polish Vodka Buffaloed Its Way Into the U.S.". Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 6 January 2014. 
  6. ^ Goldschläger may also have been referred to in the song "Hell raisin' heat of the summer" by Florida Georgia Line with the line "and the gold flakes glimmer in the cinnamon booze". As noted earlier, gold foil and cinnamon liquor appear in several products. In addition to the other listed gold-enhanced liquors, Goldwasser is from Poland and Schönbrunner Gold Liquer is from Austria, but neither is cinnamon-based.


  1. ^ a b c d Melendez, Elazar David (29 July 2013). "Fireball Cinnamon Whiskey Is The Most Popular Liquor Brand You've Never Heard of". Huffington Post. Retrieved 5 January 2013. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f g Leonard, Devin (April 24, 2014). "Successful Marketing: Fireball Whisky: Selling a Brand, Shot by Shot". Bloomberg Business Week (Bloomberg News). Retrieved June 17, 2014. 
  3. ^ a b c d e f g Fireball Cinnamon Whisky Brand Portfolio Entry on official web site.
  4. ^ About Fireball Cinnamon Whisky on official web site.
  5. ^ Distributors list on official web site.
  6. ^ "Fireball Whisky". Retrieved July 31, 2013. 
  7. ^ "Fireball Cinnamon Whisky is heating up". Retrieved 2015-07-30. 
  8. ^ a b c Reidy, Chris (July 13, 2013). "Fireball Cinnamon Whisky sales may be hotter than last week's heat wave, firm says". Boston Globe. Retrieved March 1, 2013. 
  9. ^ "Fireball Cinnamon Whisky Cracks the Top Liquors". NeilsenTopTen. Retrieved March 1, 2014. 
  10. ^ Barrouquere, Brett (14 February 2012). "Fireball Whiskey vs. SinFire Whiskey: Sazerac, Inc. Sues Hood River Distillers for Cinnamon Whiskey Names". Huffington Post. Retrieved 5 January 2013. 
  11. ^ Farrell, Kenan (21 December 2012). "Oregon Trademark Litigation Update --Sazerac Company v. Hood River Distillers". Oregon Intellectual Property Law. Retrieved 5 January 2014. 
  12. ^ Simpson, Judge Charles R. III (19 December 2012). "Sazerac Company, Inc. v. Hood River Distillers, Inc. - Document 37 Court Description: MEMORANDUM OPINION". Retrieved 5 January 2013. 
  13. ^ "Kentucky Fire". Jim Beam. Retrieved December 9, 2014. 
  14. ^ "CINERATOR". 
  15. ^ "Heaven Hill Launches Cinerator Hot Cinnamon Flavored Whiskey". Kentucky Bourbon Trail. 2015. Retrieved January 1, 2015. 
  16. ^ "Smirnoff Cinna-Sugar Twist". Smirnoff. Retrieved 6 January 2014. 
  17. ^ "5 Things You Didn't Know About Cinnabon". Huffington Post. August 20, 2014. Retrieved August 20, 2014. 
  18. ^ "Drinks containing Stolichnaya ( Stoli ) Zinamom Cinnamon Vodka". Bar None. Retrieved 6 January 2014. 
  19. ^ "2013 Stolichnaya expanding in local markets in four new flavours". JSC Latvijas balzams. Retrieved 6 January 2014. 
  20. ^ "Jack Daniels Tennessee Fire". Jack Daniels. Retrieved May 4, 2015. 
  21. ^ "Chila 'Orchata Cinnamon Cream Rum 750ml". Crown Wine & Spirits. Retrieved March 1, 2014. 
  22. ^ "Chila 'Orchata Cinnamon Cream Rum home page". Sazerac Company. Retrieved March 1, 2014. 
  23. ^ a b Shaw, Lucy (March 12, 2013). "World's Fist Cinnamon Tequila Launched". Retrieved March 1, 2014. 
  24. ^ Norton, James (October 28, 2011). "Lube or Liqueur? I Couldn’t Tell". CHOW Retrieved March 2, 2014. 
  25. ^ "Proximo To Spend $10 Million on Jose Cuervo Cinge Launch". Shanken News Daily. October 11, 2013. Retrieved March 1, 2014. 
  26. ^ Morgan, Tara (January 15, 2014). "Flavored Tequilas: Only for the adventurous (or young)". Boise Weekly. Retrieved March 1, 2014. 
  27. ^ Kleinman, Geoff (December 20, 2013). "Review: Jose Cuervo Cinge Cinnamon Flavored Tequila". Retrieved March 1, 2014. 
  28. ^ "Rakomelo, Raki & Honey Alcohol drink". Kreta Foods. 12 February 2011. Retrieved 4 March 2014. 
  29. ^ "Rakomello". Roots Premium Liquor. Retrieved March 3, 2014. 
  30. ^ "Rakomelo". Greek Federation of Spirits Producers. Retrieved March 3, 2014. 
  31. ^ "Rakomelo a warming winter drink". The Great Greek Food. November 29, 2010. Retrieved March 3, 2014. 
  32. ^ McAfee, Nick (20 September 2013). "Sunday Funday: How to Make Fireball Whiskey at Home". Broke & Thirsty. Retrieved March 1, 2014. 
  33. ^ "How to make cinnamon liqueur or so I thought". 13 June 2010. Retrieved 6 January 2014. 
  34. ^ "The Regimental Toast - SALHRA". 
  35. ^ a b Hoare, Peter (January 9, 2014). "5 Awesome Drinks You Can Make With Fireball Cinnamon Whisky". Food & drinks. MTV. Retrieved June 17, 2014. 
  36. ^ "Ring of Fire Shot". Fireball Drinks. Retrieved September 1, 2014. 
  37. ^ "Fireball Cinnamon Whiskey". Retrieved July 30, 2013. 
  38. ^ Florida Georgia Line. "Round Here Lyrics". Retrieved July 31, 2013. 
  39. ^ de la Reguera, Erik (26 October 2014). "Fireball stoppas av Systembolaget" (in Swedish). Retrieved 26 October 2014. 
  40. ^ Schneider, Steven (October 28, 2014). "Fireball whiskey recalled in Finland, Sweden due to high toxicity". Life magazine. Retrieved October 28, 2014. 
  41. ^ a b Kaufman, Alexander C. (October 29, 2014). "Fireball Whisky Recalled In 3 Countries Over Antifreeze Ingredient". The Huffington Post. Retrieved October 29, 2014. 
  42. ^ "Fireball liqueur sales blocked in Finland, Sweden". Helsinki, Finland: WTSP. October 28, 2014. Retrieved October 30, 2014. 
  43. ^ "Schnapp Judgment". October 29, 2014. Retrieved October 29, 2014. 
  44. ^ "Press-media" (Press release). Fireball website. October 29, 2014. Retrieved October 29, 2014. 
  45. ^ "CFR–Code of Federal Regulations Title 21". United States Food and Drug Administration. Retrieved October 29, 2014. 

External links[edit]