What's Really In Fireball Whisky?
By Steve Mosco
Fireball Whisky is perhaps the most divisive spirit on the market, with some cringing at the mere mention of it and others loving its burning sensation. First distilled in the Great White North in the mid-1980s, it existed as Canada's little secret for more than a decade before debuting in the U.S. in 2001, and sales numbers exploded in the following decade.
The smell of Fireball reminds many of Big Red gum or Atomic Fireball candies, which makes sense given that the whiskey is made with real cinnamon. Unlike chili peppers, whose heat originates from capsaicin, cinnamon owes its spicy reputation to high levels of cinnamaldehyde and eugenol, which brings a heat similar to that of horseradish and wasabi.
Fireball, which is 33% alcohol by volume, is made with base Canadian whiskey and mixed with cinnamon flavoring — the natural flavoring of cinnamon carries the load, so you won’t find sticks of cinnamon floating in the bottle — and sugar. Just one shot of fireball contains 11 grams of sugar, meaning that ¼ of each shot of Fireball is pure sugar.