Drink: A hot spin on the Fireball

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Katie Loeb, creator of the Pyroblast, at Headhouse Crab & Oyster Co.

One of the great success stories in the retail liquor trade is Fireball, the cinnamon whiskey by Sezerac.

Sales in Pennsylvania leaped 343 percent in just a year, from 2011-12 to 2012-13, according to data provided by the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board. Heck, more bottles of Fireball were sold last year than popular names like Kahlua and Yellowtail chardonnay.

Who knew we needed a better Fireball?

Mixologist/bar manager Katie Loeb, now running the show at Headhouse Crab & Oyster Co. on South Street, decided to give it a shot.

"I want to know what's in my cocktails," said Loeb, author of Shake, Stir, Pour. "I don't know what's in Fireball."

To ordinary Canadian VO whiskey, she added her own syrup she cooked up with cinnamon sticks, star anise, allspice, red pepper flakes, cloves and organic, food-grade cinnamon oil.

Behold, the Pyroblast.

For those who enjoy their shots with a touch of nuance, it's a smoother alternative. It has that potent cinnamon pop, without the throat-cinching afterburn.

It's $4.50 or $5 as part of Headhouse's citywide special, which includes a Narragansett pounder.

Happy hours are 5 to 6:30 p.m. weekdays, 10 to 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and 2 to 4 p.m. and 8 to 10 p.m. Sunday.

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