Fiddich Review Centre
Bourbon Whiskey

Is Fireball Whiskey? Not All of It

You’ve almost certainly tried Fireball before. The cinnamon-flavored liqueur from Canada, which bills itself as “Cinnamon Whisky,” has become one of the top-selling liquors in the United States over the past decade. Known for its fire demon-emblazoned bottle and Atomic FireBall candy-like taste, the spicy spirit has recently been in the news over a lawsuit alleging that Fireball doesn’t actually contain whiskey at all.

So what does all of this mean? Is Fireball whiskey or not? Read on to find out everything you need to know about the Fireball whiskey controversy.

Is Fireball Whiskey?

There are actually two different products marketed as Fireball. The flagship product, and the one you’ll find all over the brand’s website and social media channels, is Fireball Cinnamon Whisky. It’s a 33% ABV (66-proof) liqueur made with a mix of Canadian whiskey, sweeteners and natural cinnamon flavoring. But is it whiskey? Well, no, not really. Technically speaking, once you add sugar to a spirit and lower its ABV it becomes a liqueur rather than a spirit.

fireball whiskey


But this is a semantics game, and one not exclusive to Fireball. When you hear “coconut rum,” you probably think of Malibu. But Malibu isn’t technically a rum — it’s a rum-based coconut-flavored liqueur with an ABV of just 21%. Fireball Cinnamon Whisky does contain real whiskey, so it’s not unreasonable to categorize it as such. The problem arises once you get to Fireball’s other product, Fireball Cinnamon.

What Is Fireball Cinnamon?

Fireball Cinnamon is the newer sibling to Fireball Cinnamon Whisky. It’s sold in a nearly-identical bottle, with the only real difference being the absence of “Whisky” in the name on the label. But the product inside is not identical. Fireball Cinnamon contains no whiskey at all. Instead, it’s a malt liquor flavored with sweeteners and natural whiskey flavor, along with other natural flavors (like cinnamon). It’s also half as strong as Fireball Cinnamon Whisky, rating at just 33 proof as opposed to 66 proof. So why does this product exist?

fireball cinnamon whiskey


Fireball created Fireball Cinnamon so they could sell their product in more places. Laws dictating alcohol sales vary greatly by state, and many areas allow for sales of beer and wine in more stores than hard liquors like whiskey. Since malt beverages are classified with beer and wine, that means Fireball Cinnamon can be sold at many more locations than Fireball Cinnamon Whisky — about 170,000 more in the US, according to Fireball’s FAQ page. That’s why you might see mini bottles of Fireball at the checkout station of your local gas station, even if it’s illegal for the store to sell whiskey. What you’re seeing is Fireball Cinnamon.

Why Is Fireball Being Sued?

In January 2023, a Chicago woman named Anna Marquez, filed a lawsuit against the parent company of Fireball, The Sazerac Company, alleging fraud. According to The New York Times, Marquez purchased a bottle of Fireball Cinnamon, expecting to receive a whiskey-based libation. Instead, she discovered that what she had purchased was ultimately a malt liquor-based beverage that contained no whiskey at all.

The crux of the lawsuit comes down to two issues. One is the near-identical appearance of bottles of Fireball Cinnamon Whisky to Fireball Cinnamon. The other is what the lawsuit considers misleading language on the label of Fireball Cinnamon, which describes the product as a “malt beverage with natural whisky and other flavors and caramel color.” The drink does not contain any whiskey, and instead contains “natural whisky flavor,” which the lawsuit believes could be made clearer on the label.

If I want cinnamon whiskey, what should I drink instead?

Cinnamon whiskey — which, in almost all cases is really whiskey-based liqueurs flavored with cinnamon or cinnamon flavoring — is not exactly the kind of beverage that whiskey connoisseurs get excited about it. But if you’re in the mood for a little extra heat, these non-Fireball cinnamon whiskeys — all of which are made with real whiskey — make for some great alternatives.

Litchfield Cinnamon Bourbon


Litchfield Cinnamon Bourbon

If what you’re looking for is a straight-up bourbon with a hint of cinnamon flavor, then Litchfield has got you covered. The Connecticut-based craft whiskey distillery infuses straight bourbon with Indonesian cinnamon sticks, then bottles the result at a hefty 86 proof. A lot less sweet than other options on the market, this tastes more like real cinnamon spice than candy.

Cooperstown Spitball Cinnamon Whiskey


Cooperstown Spitball Cinnamon Whiskey

For a happy medium between Fireball-like cinnamon liqueurs and whiskey-infused bourbon, there’s Cooperstown’s Spitball Cinnamon Whiskey. This is a whiskey-based liquor from the New York distillery that’s bottled stronger and less syrupy than Fireball, with 35% ABV and 50% less sugar. It’s also infused with three different types of cinnamon, leading to a more complex tasting experience.

Jim Beam Kentucky Fire


If you’re looking to stick with something in the realm of Fireball but done in (arguably) a better way, then try Jim Beam’s Kentucky Fire. A lot of the big-name American whiskey brands have their own Fireball competitor these days, like Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Fire and Evan Williams Fire (they’re all really into fire), but Beam does it best. Kentucky Fire is 70-proof and described as “cinnamon liqueur infused with Kentucky straight bourbon whiskey.” As a result, it’s sweet and full of cinnamon candy flavor, but is notable for also providing some actual bourbon tasting notes to go along with it.

Source link

Related posts

Denny Potter, Jane Bowie: New Kentucky bourbon distillery


Holiday Gifts for Wine & Cocktail Lovers


Filibuster Distillery Is Combining American Whiskey With The American Dream


Leave a Comment