REVIEW: Pepsi Fire

Pepsi Fire

You know what I think’s the big problem with Pepsi’s marketing? They’re too skittish to come out and tell us what they really want to call their products: non-alcoholic colas.

We’re actually seeing this more and more with Pepsi’s line-up of L-T-O products. The first wave of Pepsi 1893 sodas had a distinct gin-like taste, and the recently released Mountain Dew Spiked beverages are clearly meant to ape the alcopop-flavor of stuff like Mike’s Hard Lemonade and Smirnoff Ice. While the newfangled Pepsi Fire soda may be advertised as a cinnamon-flavored cola, one swig of the stuff ought to remind you of an entirely different kind of beverage. Simply put – Pepsi Fire is VODKA-flavored cola.

It’s understandable why Pepsi refrained from marketing the beverage as a hard liquor imitator (obviously, parents groups probably wouldn’t be too keen on a cola manufacturer getting their kids accustom to the taste of high-alcohol-content fermented potato.) But the synthetic vodka taste is just too spot-on to be a coincidence. In an alternate reality, I can imagine the product being sold as Absolut Pepsi with an ad campaign heavily targeted towards millennial consumers – and selling like crazy despite all the media controversy.

Pepsi Fire 2

Alas, Pepsi went the “safe” route and stuck to its cinnamon cola marketing hook. The product isn’t new by any stretch – Pepsi has sold a cinnamon cola beverage with the very same name and almost identical packaging in Southeast Asia on-and-off again for at least two decades (sometimes, coupled with a spearmint-flavored counterpart called Pepsi Ice.)

Since cinnamon is a pretty polarizing flavor, naturally, your mileage will vary on the quality of the soda. While the cinnamon aroma is strong – if not overpowering – when you open the bottle, the actual cinnamon kick isn’t as tastebud-scorching as you’d expect. In fact, the aftertaste kinda’ feels like sipping on a cold glass of ginger ale while chewing some Big Red gum; you’re either going to find it appealing or disgusting, and there’s really no way to tell until you’ve given it a taste test for yourself.

Pepsi Fire 3

The hue of the cola is nice (it’s darker than standard Pepsi but not as atomically vibrant as Mountain Dew Code Red) and it has a nice sparkly, tingly mouthfeel. Oddly enough, it doesn’t taste anything at all like the short-lived Pepsi Holiday Spice, which despite being marketed as a cinnamon cola, had more of a dark cherry kick than anything else. I really can’t think of anything else out there to compare it to, not even Old City Soda’s cinnamon-flavored cola (which is noticeably sweeter and less spicy than Pepsi Fire.)

This is a hard one to score. Just for its uniqueness it’s probably worth a try, even if many drinkers may consider the overall flavor mildly off-putting. If you like cinnamon (or getting sloshed on martinis), I say pick up a 12-pack. But if you harbor a distaste for the spice, do you really need me to tell you stay far, far away from this beverage?

(Nutrition Facts – 1 bottle – 260 calories, 0 grams of fat, 85 milligrams of sodium, 69 grams of total carbohydrates, 69 grams of sugar, 0 grams of protein, 63 milligrams of caffeine..)

Purchased Price: $1.49
Size: 20 oz. bottle
Purchased at: Circle K
Rating: 6 out of 10
Pros: The cinnamon flavor is potent without being too intense. The medley of Pepsi and ginger ale is surprisingly decent. Taking that first swig and instantly recalling your first freshmen year kegger.
Cons: Unless you are a hardcore cinnamon connoisseur, it takes some time to get accustom to the taste. The packaging is really unimpressive. Trying to figure out why Pepsi thought it was a good idea to release a “hot” cola at the very beginning of summer.

92 thoughts to “REVIEW: Pepsi Fire”

  1. It’s just ok. I’d probably go with a 5. I couldn’t decide if I liked the throat burn at the end. A novelty and nothing more.

  2. As someone that doesn’t drink alcohol, I’m glad Pepsi is getting creative with their drinks.

    With that said, I thought Fire was okay. I think a 5 or 6 out of 10 rating is fair. It’s something I would drink every once and a while but not as much as I would a regular soda.

    1. I strongly agree. I thought, as a Slurpee, the cinnamon “burn” lingered much longer, and that’s what I enjoy about this “soda.” Drinking it from the can, it just seems to be a moderately strong cinnamon taste with an aftertaste of cola.
      Generally, I think it tastes like eating a few Red Hots candies while taking a sip of (watered down) Pepsi.

    1. I agree completely, deffinantly a rum drink immatator. 8yrs sober, brought back some good memories and some bad. 5/10 would be fare for taste, 8/10 for likeness to rum mix doppelganger.

  3. This Pepsi Fire SUCKS the big one!!!! Worst $3.33 I ever spent, I think Pepsi should give me a refund.

    1. Totally agree. The cinnamon almost chokes you as you take a sip. Not a good thinges to happen. Won’t buy this combo again. Will stick to regular pepsi.

  4. I really like Pepsi Fire and I’m Usually NOT A Fan Of Pepsi But Pepsi Fire is good. It was a good idea.

    1. What were you thinking? Pepsi Fire is absolutely awful. Poured most of the bottle out. Quit making it. Pepsi and cinnamon do not belong together.

  5. On first sip I thought it tasted like Fireball whiskey and Coke. Smells great, but leaves something to be desired. Can a flavour palette be vague? Yes. Yes it can.
    Ps: I loved the Holiday Spice Pepsi. Would live to see it return.

    1. Yeah I tried this the other day. A friend had a bottle….now mind you I LOVE cinnamon flavored everything, but to me this tasted exactly like Hot Damn without the alcohol content in it. To me Pepsi really messed up this time, EVERYONE I’ve talked to thinks this Soda pop is N-ASS-T-Y!! Sorry Pepsi but it’s too much cinnamon flavor, if there was just a hint …maybe it would be ok and it’s WAY too sweet. I’m not even sure alcohol could fix this.

      1. OK, I am going out to buy a bottle of this tomorrow. The opinions are just sooooo polarized. Especially yours! haha

  6. If you know anyone who doesn’t have heartburn but wants to try the experience, just tell them to chug a 20oz Pepsi Fire.

  7. I was very excited when I saw Pepsi Fire. I love cinnamon everything. That being said, it was horrible. It was dark pink and I don’t think it tasted like cola at all. There was a VERY slight cinnamon taste in the back of my throat as an after affect. I usually take new things into work for people to try, but I’m not sure if I want to subject anyone to this.

  8. I’m sorry, but you really missed the mark. Vodka flavored? No way. Vodka isn’t even supposed to have any flavor. It’s neutral alcohol. And the 1893 Colas in no way shape or form taste of gin. Cola isn’t even a mixer with gin. I’ve been to a number of gin distilleries and tastings have no idea what you’re talking about. The 1893s are, however, wonderful mixers with bourbon or whiskey.

    I think Marvo should have someone else do this soda for a Review #2.

    1. I don’t get the gin thing at all. My first thought when I took my first sip of Pepsi Fire was, “Where is the fire?”. It’s amazingly, and ridiculously weak in the cinnamon. How the hell do they manage to make a cinnamon flavored cola with LESS “bite” than normal Pepsi? I didn’t think it was possible to mess this up so badly. Calling it “Fire” isn’t supposed to be ironic, is it?

  9. HATE this flavor! I love cinnamon but it just doesn’t taste right in pop. It has a slight taste when first taking a drink. I then really tasted it at the back of my tongue. I’m sorry I bought a 12 pack instead of a 20 oz!

  10. HATE this flavor! I love cinnamon but it just doesn’t taste right in pop. It has a slight taste when first taking a drink. I then really tasted it at the back of my tongue & throat. I love the Red, White & Dew, but this is horrible. I’m sorry I bought a 12 pack instead of a 20 oz! PEPSI……I want a refund!

  11. I’m a major cinnamon lover but this soda did not work. It reminded me of the Hot Damn! alcohol that my dad drank as a kid. I could only drink a sip and then I tossed it!

  12. Not sure why you think the taste is like gin. I found it to be a combo of Red Hots and cola. The initial can I had left a burning sensation in the aftertaste, not that different from the line of drinks that produces Brainwash. They are fond of putting jalapeno juice in their drinks. After having several cans of this over the last few days, I no longer notice the burning sensation from drinking it. Like you get used to it after a while. I only wish they had enhanced the cinnamon flavor you normally find in cola, rather than putting a really “hot”, fake version in it. If you’ve ever had Jarritos cola, you’ll start to detect cinnamon in other colas you drink. But this is still much better than that awful blackcurrant and orange flavored stuff they recently put out. The first two “craft” ones are pretty good, they didn’t need to try improvising on something that already worked. (and I like blackcurrant where it belongs, so it’s not a European thing)

  13. Worst thing I’ve ever put in my mouth and I have put some nasty stuff in my mouth. TRUST ME!

    Simply put I would not pour this on my fase if it was on fire for the fear of another lil drop getting in my mouth.

  14. I love it.The first swallow was very powerful and great tasting.This is my new go to.Good job pepsi

  15. One of the most vile things I’ve ever drank. Taste like drinking liquid red hots.

    1. I wish it had half the burn of red hots. It was so wimpy that I couldn’t believe they called it fire.

  16. I’m a huge cinnamon fan (the real stuff), and I like cinnamon candy just fine.

    Alas, I am from the South; we do.not. drink Pepsi.

    1. What part of the south are you from. I am from the Carolinas and WE drink Pepsi.

  17. I really appreciated all the comments here. I don’t think I’ll try this, but will stick to Goya’s Ginger Beer instead. It has capsaicin in it. That’s enough “fire” and “burn” for me!

  18. Did not light my fire. Tasted syrupy, like an RC Cola with a 30% sweetness reduction, and a melted atomic fireball jawbreaker. After the first few good swigs, you feel a burn on your pallett which is nice. Maybe better just having a shot of Fireball with a coke chaser. This was not good.

  19. Just tried some. It smelled like stuff you use to clean the bathroom. It tasted fine, but the after taste made me feel like I swallowed bathroom cleaner.

  20. I really disappointed. Kinda tasted like a rear watered down fire ball and Pepsi need a stronger Pepsi taste I’ll give it a 2 out of 10.

  21. I really like the Pepsi fire, not a Pepsi fan, Pepsi Fire gave me a feeling of drinking a rum and coke. The spicy was really slight and added a better taste to the ordinary Pepsi. I gave it 7 out of 10

  22. I didn’t like it all, not good for cola whatsoever..I mean I love cinnamon, but this was just awful and I’m stuck with a 12 pack that probably won’t get finished. I love Pepsi but want a refund on this one.

  23. Apparently, the author’s never tasted vodka. I’m not sure how anyone confuses cinnamon with vokda. I love cinnamon, and I love Pepsi Fire. For me, it’s more like a spicier cola, but it leaves with feeling like you’ve just had a cinnamon stick. I’m hoping they don’t take it away soon!

  24. i work at a small convenient store and will be removing this product from our cooler! It is horrible! Opened one yesterday and was disgusted. We will be receiving credit for this product. One sip and threw it in the trash. I have never tasted a soda product that gross!

  25. If you can’t find this in your area, you can mix a two liter of flat Sam’s cola and a bottle of cinnamon mouthwash while punching yourself in the face for the same Pepsi Fire experience.

  26. Vodka? Definitely doesn’t taste like any vodka I’ve ever tasted. It tastes like a disappointing version of Fireball.

  27. Sorry Pepsi, Fire just falls short for me. Maybe if I really put some Fireball in it I would get what I was looking for. I found the cinnamon flavor nearly missing and leaving a definite artifical after taste. Great Idea, not so great execution.

  28. Am I the only one smart enough to realize that this is meant to imitate the taste of putting red hots in their cola?

  29. If I wanted to drink a soda that burnt my throat I could just leave some root beer in my car all day and drink that. Hard pass on this one.

  30. Had a hard time finding it finally found the last bottle at Walmart. Put it in freezer I like my Pepsi cold. After first taste. Really liked it. Way to go Pepsi!! All I drink is Pepsi.. Texans love Pepsi. Please keep making it.

  31. This is quite possibly the most putrid tasting soda pop I’ve tasted… Pepsi must have test marketed it on prison inmates who haven’t had a pop in years. Tasted like flat Pepsi with a couple of drops of cinnamon extract in it. If someone offers you one, do yourself a favor and RUN?!!!!

  32. It was disgusting. I’m glad I only purchased one bottle because I had to dump it out because no one in my house would drink it.

  33. Sorry, I meant vodka. And I think the person writing it said vodka based on the seemingly endless varieties of flavored vodka available. I’ve never seen it, but a hot cinnamon one is probably being sold somewhere. Those of us who don’t really drink wouldn’t know. I’m wondering if Red Hots is a regional thing, because I only saw one other person mention it. I’ve bought a second case already. I’m really starting to like it.

  34. I am actually pleasantly surprised. I wasn’t sure how it was going to taste but it has the right balance of spicy and sweet. It’s like drinking Pepsi with Fireball whiskey without having the alcohol bite. The only issue I have with it is a strange one…if I take a breath in before I drink it I start to cough. It is really strange, but there is something about the cinnamon that catches in the throat if you breathe it in before taking a sip. Other than that I really like it.

  35. I think that Pepsi Fire is revolting! To me it had a very medicinal taste. My mouth and throat felt like I had swished and then swallowed Lavoris Mouthwash (Lavoris is/was a red, cinnamon flavored mouthwash which may or may not be marketed today). It left a nasty aftertaste; the rest of it is in our refrigerator… Quite a bit!

  36. It was ok. Not spectacular. What made me toss half the bottle was when I looked at the 20oz label and saw it had 70g of sugar. No thanks.

  37. This was horrible. Worst after taste ever. Couldn’t finish the bottle. Glad I only bought one.

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