It turns out that the most limiting factor in your ability to produce new hot sauce varieties lies in your ability to think up new names for the stuff. So far this year I’ve bottled and labeled 10 batches: Bottle Rocket Pepper Sauce, Pineapple Pepper Sauce, St. X, Trade Winds, Bob’s Atomic Banana, Scotch Bonnet Blaster Sauce, Tropical Hot BobSauce, Tropical Bob’s Flaming Fig Sauce, Happy Dragon Pepper Sauce and Chocolate Jerk Sauce. The pepper plants out back are busy making a second crop, so now I have to come up with more names.
The sauces vary from tangy, fruity types to mustard-based, curry types and one Jamaican jerk-type sauce. The Bottle Rocket is my first attempt at a fermented pepper sauce (the process used to produce most Louisiana-style hot sauces). The rest are mixed “fresh” and then sterilized via a canning process.
In some cases I may have paid too much attention to the hotter-is-better crowd. Bottle Rocket, for instance, is so hot that just a few drops would season a whole pot of gumbo. My latter sauces, and those yet to come, will include less heat, so that the excellent flavor of the peppers themselves can more easily shine through. A pepper sauce can’t be that successful if it’s uncomfortably hot for 80% of the potential “audience.”
I think the perfect pepper sauce, applied in moderation to almost anything, creates a warm glow, a kind of whole-body warmth that brings on a sense of well-being. I think that if rival warriors could sit down over platters of jerked chicken and rice and just the right pepper sauce, it’s possible they might never get back up and fire RPGs at each other any more.
It’s worth a try, right?