BEST FOR A FRESH TASTE: Kold Sauce – Original
This new brand of hot sauces is handmade in small batches in east London by founder Drew Wolf. Kold Sauce is naturally fermented, cold pressed and unpasteurised, and is aged in barrels much like wine, kimchi or sauerkraut, giving it a freshness that sets it apart from traditional sauces. By keeping things raw, Kold Sauce is full of natural bacteria and it has a fresh flavour that supercharges a multitude of dishes. Created by Drew in the first lockdown, Kold’s range of three sauces have been selling out as fast as he can make them, and are available to buy online as well as in independent shops such as Top Cuvée, Hill & Szrok and Yardarm.
BEST FOR BRUNCH: Sauce Shop – Maple Habanero Drizzle
The Sauce Shop gang describes this one as an 8/10 in the heat stakes. Labelled a ‘sweet chilli sauce for the brave’, fruity habanero chilli and maple syrup make this an ideal brunchtime condiment. Drizzle on pancakes and bacon or douse on wings for a sweet habanero chilli hit. Other notable spice-tinged flavours from Sauce Shop include sriracha and honey drizzle, buffalo hot sauce and amarillo hot sauce. Those after some lockdown fun should seek out its chilli challenge gift set…
BEST FOR WINGS: Frank’s Red Hot Sauce
Frank's Red Hot Sauce was the secret ingredient in the original Buffalo wings, which were created at the Anchor Bar & Grill in Buffalo, New York back in 1964. To make the ultimate hot wings at home, preheat your oven to 210ºC (fan). Mix butter and Frank’s Red Hot Sauce in a medium bowl and set aside. Arrange your chicken wings on a large foil-lined pan. Bake on the lowest oven rack for 30 minutes or until crispy, turning once. Toss the wings in the sauce mixture until well coated, then serve with blue cheese and celery. Classic.
BEST FOR VERSATILITY: Longbottom & Co Hot Sauce
Designed to be liberally drizzled over pretty much anything, Longbottom & Co’s hot sauce is a tomato and pepper-based concoction, made using scotch bonnet chillies. The creators believe a good hot sauce should be something you can serve with breakfast, lunch and dinner – hence the tomato background notes. Other products in the collection include ketchup, canned bloody marys and pure tomato juice.
BEST FOR KANSAS-STYLE SAUCE: Pain Is Good – Habanero & Garlic Hot Sauce
As the brand’s name – and the face on its packaging – suggest, this bottle is not for the timid. The habanero and garlic edition is made with a selected blend of garlic, spices and some hot, hot peppers, with just a hint of citrus for some added zing. Other sauces in the collection that are also worth checking out include gochujang, sriracha and Jamaican-style hot sauce.
BEST FOR HEAT: Mic’s Chilli – Naga Knockdown
Handmade in Wicklow, Ireland, the Inferno range of Mic’s Chilli sauces are all rather excellent. Made using fiery habaneros, each drop of Naga Knockdown will breathe life into the humblest of dishes. Decorated with images from Mexico’s Day Of The Dead festivals – designed by award-winning illustrator Steve Simpson – this all-natural sauce contains over 50% naga jolokia ‘ghost’ chilli, for a fruity and fierce experience.
BEST FOR A LUXE TOUCH: Truff – Black Truffle Hotter Sauce
Truff’s award-winning truffle hot sauce is a must-try. Available to buy at Selfridge’s food hall, this isn’t any old hot sauce. Instead, it’s a blend of red chilli peppers, black truffle, black truffle oil, organic agave nectar, red habanero powder, cumin and coriander, giving it a real point of difference to its competitors. Whether you add it to pasta, burgers or soup, this is a potentially addictive addition to your sauce collection.
BEST FOR RIBS: The Ribman – Holy F*ck Hot Sauce
The Ribman has been a London legend for the best part of a decade. In normal times, you’ll find him at Truman Brewery market from 3am every Saturday, cooking and getting ready to serve the capital’s best ribs at 9am, topped with his famous Holy F*ck Hot Sauce, made with scotch bonnet peppers and naga jolokia chillis. Now available to buy in bottles, the sauce is made fresh every week. It’s not made to a set recipe, so the taste will always differ slightly, but the heat and flavour are unrivalled.
BEST FOR GARLIC FANS: Vampire Botherer
The Garlic Farm on the Isle of Wight has been growing its eponymous allium for over 50 years. These days, it isn’t just about the bulb: it produces a range of chutneys, relishes and condiments. Fractionally more merciful than the Garlic Farm’s award-winning Vampire Slayer, this zesty new jalapeno sauce has a fresh, garlic zing and is completely delicious in burgers and sandwiches.
BEST FOR SOMETHING NEW: Saucybitch – Hot Stuff
Saucybitch sauces is the only hot sauce brand to be stocked at Le Bon Marche – Le Grande Epicerie in Paris. With packaging featuring owner Dean’s french bulldog Captain, all five flavours offer a modern take on a classic hot sauce. Hot Stuff is packed with premium red jalapenos, habaneros, bird’s eye and romano chillies, then rounded off with a generous hit of garlic. Its medium-spicy heat rating means it has widespread appeal, and is the ideal strength for drizzling into home cooking or using as a saucy hot dip. As you might expect, the Triple XXX is one for heat fiends.
BEST FOR SMOKE: Khoo’s – The Heavy Smoker
Alex Khoo is obsessed with spice and sustainability. In 2012, he established Khoo’s in Sheffield, using locally sourced chillies to make his own hot sauce. He grows most of the chillies himself in a polytunnel in his back garden and even built his own smoker, controlling the process from pepper to packaging. The Heavy Smoker – a Great Taste award winner – is made with a secret chipotle blend, sweet peppers smoked over whiskey cask oak, hot fresh chillies, prunes and garlic, and works extremely well on tacos, burritos, burgers and scrambled eggs.
BEST FOR MEXICAN DISHES: Valentina Hot Sauce
For a Mexican take, Valentina's salsa picante is a great chilli sauce with flavour as well as heat. The mix is made from puya and serrano chilli peppers, giving it citrusy notes and a medium heat. We recommend adding it to Mexican salsa for an extra hit of spice, in huevos rancheros – or any egg dishes, for that matter – or simply serving with tortilla chips.
BEST FOR A CITRUS HIT: Bonnie Sauce Co – Jalapeno & Lime
The team behind the Bonnie Sauce Co creates handmade, versatile hot sauces with a Mexican influence. Of the eight on offer, we like the jalapeno and lime mix best. A staple in burritos, the lime’s zesty flavours work really well when added to mayo, tartar sauce or whisked up into a vinaigrette to give salads a kick.
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