Whiskey on the Go-Go

 A few weeks ago, 4 families on our street with similarly-aged daughters all went Christmas Tree hunting.  For those of you have have never performed this winter ritual, it involves driving out into the country to a Xmas Tree farm (if you’re the law-abiding sort), walking deep into the property to where the best trees are, wandering around in the snow for a while until you find the perfect  tree, then cutting it down with a bucksaw and dragging it back out.

 Depending on the weather and snow depth, it can be chilly work.  So another part of the tradition is to bring along a little something to warm one’s cockles, if you know what I mean.  On this trip, one of the ladies brought along a small bottle of “Fireball.”  It’s basically a liqueur-strength treatment of Canadian Rye Whiskey heavily flavoured with cinnamon and pepper.  It’s lower alcohol content means that even unhardened drinkers can take it straight, and then get a hot rush of spiciness followed by a slight burn from the whiskey.  So it does feel like it’s actually warming you up – perfect for out in the cold.

Kim, who requested full credit for her quote

Kim, who requested a photo credit

The key word there is “out” – one of the ladies (Kim) observed that she could not remember ever drinking Fireball from a glass; only ever straight from the bottle.  It’s almost always consumed outside, where glasses are scarce.  We went on to wonder what sort of glass one would even serve it in, so they asked me, the ex-bartender.  I replied that nothing like it existed when I was bartending, but the closest thing, peppermint schnapps, was almost always served as part of a shooter.

Fireball is the same as all the not-quite 40% alcohol-by-volume liquors like Jagermeister that have been invented in the last 20 years to get kids drunk faster.  I think the marketing idea went something like this:  “OK, for 20 years (1970 – 1990), we got kids drunk by selling them “shooters”, which had enough alcohol to seem daring, but were still drinkable by newbies because you didn’t really taste the alcohol, and it was reduced from full strength by the addition of juice or lower-octane liqueurs. (E.g. the grandpa of all shooters, the B-52, is made from Grand Marnier (40%), Baileys Irish Cream (17%), and Kahlua (26%).)  Then the kids started wanting something even more risqué – something “straight.”  So we gave them 33% strength booze, and made it taste like candy.”

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5 Responses to “Whiskey on the Go-Go”

  1. Jason Landry Says:

    Ah, Fireball. It has become a bit of a winter ritual among my group of friends – always outside, always straight from the bottle, usually on the chairlift.

  2. Jason Landry Says:

    Jayne just reminded me that we did have it inside once – on a dare, we smuggled it into a company Christmas party at the Hotel Vancouver. We still managed to drink it from the bottle.

  3. Stephen Brooks Says:

    Reading that last comment made me smile as I imagined hearing “Fireball” spoken in Jayne’s Kiwi accent.

  4. Abby Says:

    Oh my goodness… that’s hilarious. I gotta say, I cannot remember ever drinking Fireball out of anything other than straight from the bottle! I am notorious for carrying it around in my person so I can take a swig when necessary… (Don’t tell Doug) LMAO

  5. Gregg Says:

    I’ve had that out of a glass. Spent a night in an Idaho bar with two friends from Singapore and India. They had been there the week before and the bartenders couldn’t get them drunk. I had just arrived to start a stint in the local college and still had my Canadian stamina, which made the US drinking seem puny. They poured drink after drink down my throat. The Fireball one was first and consisted of taking a rocks glass, putting half a dozen splashes of Tabasco sauce in, and then adding 3 ounces of Fireball to be shot.


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