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From slamming shots of Fireball to sipping spiced whiskey sours, the cinnamon drinks for every age and palate

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'Fireball sells for around €19 for a 50cl bottle here and can be found here in SuperValu, Tesco as well as many other off-licences.'

'Fireball sells for around €19 for a 50cl bottle here and can be found here in SuperValu, Tesco as well as many other off-licences.'

'Fireball sells for around €19 for a 50cl bottle here and can be found here in SuperValu, Tesco as well as many other off-licences.'

There are few flavours more popular than cinnamon. It has been a staple in our diets since the Middle Ages when European traders found out where it came from in southern India and broke a centuries-long monopoly enjoyed by Arab merchants.

Today, it is a vital ingredient in all sorts of comfort food, from Danish pastries to curry. It was rarely found in drinks until a little over a decade ago, when a Canadian drinks company created a spirit called Fireball, a cinnamon whiskey, which is now among the fastest-growing drinks brands in the world.

Popular with students, sickly sweet Fireball is usually served straight out of the freezer as an ice-cold shot. The drink of choice for those who find Jägermeister too sophisticated, it sells for around €19 for a 50cl bottle here and can be found here in SuperValu, Tesco as well as many other off-licences.

It is easy to scoff at Fireball but it must be filling a need. A recall in Scandinavia some years ago, when batches containing the anti-freeze ingredient, propylene glycol, were mistakenly shipped, has not dented sales. The company said, “Unfortunately, Fireball shipped its North American formula to Europe and found that one ingredient is out of compliance with European regulations.” They stopped using propylene glycol completely in 2018.

It is probably best to leave Fireball to the kids but cinnamon lovers can still find other drinks with a slightly more sophisticated taste or make their own. Fireball’s biggest rival is red Aftershock, which is marginally better. Less well known is Gold Strike from Dutch drink maker Bols. Popular in northern Europe, it’s made from cinnamon, herbs, seeds and orange peel and tiny flakes of real gold that dance in your glass rather beautifully. A stronger, equally tasty alternative that also contains gold flakes and cinnamon is Goldschläger Schnapps, a Swiss aperitif with a German name.

But these are difficult to find in Ireland and liable to sit at the back of your drinks cabinet for years once the novelty has worn off. An easy alternative is to make a Cinnamon Whiskey Sour by mixing one-and-a-half measures of bourbon, a measure of fresh lemon juice, three tablespoons of maple syrup and a pinch of ground cinnamon in a cocktail shaker with ice. This simple and delicious drink should be enough for all but the most fervent cinnamon fans. 

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