For Your Sweet Tooth Baker: Java and Co.’s Spicy Habanero Caramels
Okay, so it’s not a hot sauce, but these creamy caramels are made with pesticide-free habanero peppers grown in Illinois and won first place in the 2016 Scovie Awards (the Oscars for hot sauce) for the Sweet Heat category. They aren’t so hot that they’ll send anyone to the hospital, but the spicy flavor is there in every chew.
For Your Hot Sauce Hater: Vesta’s Dry Hot Sauce
You might be surprised to find out that not all hot sauce is so saucy. If your friend is not so into hot sauce, try out these dry hot sauces. The chile peppers are grown in North Carolina, where they are dried and chopped into a flaky powder. These sauces are perfect for pizza and great sprinkled on top of casseroles, string beans or other veggies.
For Your Annoying Younger Sibling: Torchbearer Sauces’ Zombie Apocalypse
You may want to give your younger sibling a million noogies, but you’d still save him or her if it came to the Zombie Apocalypse. Torchbearer Sauces’ Zombie Apocalypse is a habanero-ghost pepper blend is fun, young and overly enthusiastic, just like your younger sister. The cartoon on the front even looks just like the ones she used to scrawl all over your notebooks. It’s a sauce that works well on all those discount delivery sliders and wings your little sib is ordering every night from GrubHub, and it’s sweetened just enough with mandarin oranges, carrots and sugar.
For Your Know-It-All Older Sibling: Pablo’s Bull Fighter
You’ve always wanted to shut your older sibling up when he waxed poetical at the Thanksgiving dinner table. Here’s your chance to give that snotty sib a taste of his own medicine with Pablo’s Bull Fighter, an equally stubborn aged habanero-ghost pepper concoction that doesn’t let go of your taste buds until you’ve eaten the appropriate amount of sweet potato pie.
For Your Little Cousin: Mike’s Hot Honey
You know how crack dealers woo the young ones, right? They give them just a taste while telling them they’re not ready for the big stuff yet. There’s no better way to get your young ones hooked on hotness than with Mike’s Hot Honey. Michael Kurtz started creating his just-spicy-enough sauce after trying hot honey during his trip to Brazil. The sweet balances out the spicy in this honey, to the point where this is going to be palatable for kids, especially on Kurtz’s fave—pizza. Pizza party!
For Yourself: Heat Hot Sauce Shop’s Hot Sauce of the Month Club
You didn’t think we forgot you, did you? Fantastic Berkeley hot sauce shop Heat has a Hot Sauce of the Month Club that features small-batch, award-winning sauces. They even sometimes send you early releases that aren’t available to the public yet. Their taste is impeccable, and you can choose one or three bottles a month.
Dakota Kim is a food writer, gardener, mushroom hunter and burlesque producer living in Brooklyn. She likes to brew strange Korean medicinal teas and bake vegan desserts. She is currently working on a cookbook featuring burlesque performers called Bombshell Bakers. Tweet her at @dakotakim1.