Make Your Own Fireball Whiskey!

Sazerac Company

In the last few years, Fireball whiskey has overtaken Jagermeister as the official alcohol of parties. From tailgates to barbecues, you’ll find people imbibing Fireball at soirees from coast to coast.

To understand why Fireball has done so well, one would need to consider the work done by its predecessor: Jagermeister. “Jager” was created in Germany in the 1930’s and was marketed as a flavored shot in the U.S. as early as 1970. “So, it’s been carving out a market for that type of drink for decades,” says Kyle Brown, founder of Clawhammer Supply.

The reason that Fireball has taken off like it has, in Brown’s opinion, is that it tastes a heck of a lot better than Jager. If you aren’t a fan of licorice or Italian amaros, you probably don’t find jager all that tasty. “We don’t have culinary backgrounds, and we aren’t scientists, but we do drink a lot, and in our opinion Fireball is much more palatable than Jagermeister,” says Brown. Fireball tastes like cinnamon and sugar, which are the primary ingredients. “What’s not to like about that? Jager is made using more than fifty ingredients and tastes like something your mom made you drink when you had a cold as a kid.”

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It also doesn’t hurt that Fireball is cheaper than Jager, making it more profitable for bar owners. “Jager costs something like $6 more per bottle. This is probably because Jager is a more complicated product to make.” As was previously mentioned, Jager is made with more than fifty ingredients. “It’s also made in Germany and is imported into the U.S., which undoubtedly adds to the cost.”

Make Your Own Fireball

With the popularity of fireball, it’s no surprise that companies are designing kits to make your own version at home. “All of our spice kits work the same way – Step 1: Mix the spices with a bottle of store-bought alcohol and leave it steep overnight. Step 2: Filter out the spices and add a bit of juice concentrate to sweeten. Step 3: Invite your friends over and have a party.”

They created Firebomb for folks who are into hot spice alcohols like Fireball and Jack Daniels’ Tennessee Fire. “The kits allow for customization of the proof (by choosing to make the kit using lower or higher proof base alcohol) and also customization of the heat (by adding only some or all of the hot chilies include with the kit).” As a bonus, almost all of the ingredients in their Firebomb kit are organic, in contrast to Fireball Whiskey, which was pulled from the shelves in some European Countries in 2014 because it contained levels of propylene glycol that exceeded food standards in those areas.

They spent a lot of time during the recipe formulation process designing the kit. “We made dozens of batches before perfecting the recipe,” says Brown. “Everyone at Clawhammer agreed that making something that resembled Fireball was a good starting point, but we wanted our product to pack more of a punch in terms of heat.” As a result, they added three hot chili peppers to each tin. “The dried peppers are whole and can easily be picked out of the mix before it is added to the alcohol, which allows the consumer to regulate heat.”

He says that around the office, they enjoy the product at full heat, and so do a lot of their customers. “It’ll warm you up real quick on a cool evening.” However, if you aren’t looking for a ridiculously hot fireball, you can choose to add as many chilies as you desire. “They sometimes only add only one or two of the peppers.”

The Big Spicy Box

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If you feel like you’ve mastered the Firebomb whiskey or you’d rather try something different, Clawhammer also makes a few other spice kits. You can get them all together in “The Big Spicy Box”. “The big spicy box includes all of our whiskey spice kit flavors in one large box,” says Brown. “It included two tins of Apple Pie Moonshine, two tins of FireBomb Whiskey Spice, two tins of Peach Pie Moonshine, one charred oak whiskey aging stick, one funnel, and one mini mason jar shot glass.” He notes that the big spicy box has been extremely popular for gift giving.

Flavored Spirits on the Rise

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Flavored spirits have been popular since the inception of high proof alcohol. “They’ve been created in large and small batches by various cultures across the globe, and even in many early America’s rural areas,” says Brown.

America’s most iconic homemade hooch, moonshine has traditionally been flavored with fruits, spices and even candy for centuries. “This type of stuff is definitely making resurgence,” says Brown. “There is definitely a huge DIY boom happening right now.”

They have found that is does not matter if it is a copper still, or a flavored moonshine mix; people take pride in making and building their own things. “I love when I get an email from a customer who made a batch for a special occasion and everyone complimented them on the ‘shine.’”

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Traditionally, most popular versions of flavored moonshines have been Apple Pie and Peach. “Before we ever made flavoring kits, we were fortunate enough to taste real flavored Apple Pie and Peach. So that’s why we made those first.” Firebomb, their hot cinnamon spice kit, was a no-brainer due to the popularity of Fireball Whiskey. “Though, we also listened to our customers. Peach and hot cinnamon spice kits were also highly requested.”

Even with the popularity of Fireball Whiskey among young people, Apple Pie is still their most popular spice kit. “Everybody seems to love it. Not only is it the most ordered product for a potential new customer, it’s also our most re-ordered product,” says Brown. “After they try it, many people come back for more.”

Photos courtesy of Clawhammer.