A Spicy Gift Guide for the Holidays

Here’s a spicy gift guide for the holidays your heat seeker friends and family will love. They’re unique, fun and spicy so you’ll proably want to buy two…one to give, another to keep! Isn’t that how it usually works? What better way to spend the holidays with awesome treats to heat things up that can also be shared? So ditch those socks you were planning on giving and add these spicy goods. Hope you enjoy my gift guide and let’s keep things spicy folks!


1. Just WOW! Someone please send me this! My two favorite things, bacon and chile peppers! You can’t go wrong with this habanero bacon from Tender Belly.

2. I haven’t tried this spicy beer yet but Rogue has gone on and made a sriracha stout. The most talked about hot sauce this year has now made it into beer! I’m not sure how I feel about it but its definitely worth a try. I’ve had a chipotle porter for a more chocolatey, spiced, smoky flavor which I enjoyed and this one would be a great choice, especially for sriracha lovers. Let me know if you get your hands on it.

3. This is a fun kit from Grow and Make. The set includes everything you need to whip up your own hot sauce. A pretty cool gift for spicy food lovers! Just make sure you give them goggles and a face mask too…kidding, these may not be too hot but definitely a fun project for a weekend night.

4. And if you don’t want to make your own, get this set from Salamander Hot sauce makers. Their Whiskey hot sauce is pretty amazing and friggin hot! I made these awesome hot wings with this sauce for a finger licking appetizer.


Spicy Honey Whiskey Hot Wings

Oh my! All I have to say is you must make these spicy honey whiskey hot wings. They’re saucy, messy and hot, hot, hot! I used Salamander’s Whiskey hot sauce which is already friggin amazing but wanted to add a bit of sweetness to tame the heat just a bit. If you like mouth burning wings, and I mean the kind that make your lips burn for at least a good 10-15 minutes, then this is it.


This was the best photo I could take at the time, tough handling a camera with sticky fingers!

Spicy Honey Whiskey Hot Wings

Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time20 mins
Servings: 4
Author: Maria



  • 2 lbs chicken wings split
  • 1 tbsp Adobo seasoning


  • 1 cup Salamander Whiskey Hot Sauce
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 3 garlic cloves minced
  • 1 small onion minced
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 1 tsp salt for the water
  • *1/4 cup whiskey optional


  • Season the wings with the Adobo seasoning and squeeze 1/2 lemon over chicken. Let marinate in refrigerator for 15 minutes.
  • Bring 2 quarts of water and tbsp of salt to a boil and add wings. Boil the wings for about 7 minutes.
  • While chicken is cooking, prepare the sauce. Add the hot sauce, honey, garlic, onion, salt, pepper and optional whiskey to a sauce pan and bring to a boil. Continue cooking until sauce thickens a little then remove from heat and set aside.
  • When chicken is done, drain chicken and pat dry with paper towels.
  • Heat about 1/4 inch of oil in a saute pan and pan fry the wings until wings are brown and crispy.
  • Transfer wings to paper towels to absorb oil then toss in a bowl with the prepared wing sauce.
  • Stir until wings are well covered and serve.

Make it for you next football game, your Friday night dinner, your next party, just make it!

NYC Hot Sauce Expo Photos

As promised, here are the NYC Hot Sauce Expo photos! Better late than never no? We had an awesome time at the event this year and picked up a few great products. If you’re a spicy food lover like I am you should definitely look into getting some of these products if you don’t have them already.


Willikers delicious spicy chocolate syrups are a must in cocktails, over ice cream or in hot cocoa. I preferred the dark chocolate made with toasted marshmallows and chile spices.


Lucky Dog brought their special wax sealed bottles for the event.


Below are the brave souls that participated in the deadly, spicy lollipop lick-a-thon hosted by Michelle from Intensity Academy. She makes the hottest lollipop in the world and some tasty spicy mayo too. How hot were these you ask? These lollies are only 2.3M Scoville units, that’s about 500-600 times hotter than a jalapeno pepper! Seriously people, why would you do this to yourself?! I make spicy lollipops and wouldn’t try this! Some people have much higher tolerance and were definitely testing their limits…pretty amazing feat I think. They look so happy here in the “before” shot but you gotta see the “after” shots! I’ll post video tomorrow for you guys if I can get it to upload.



Event organizers High River Sauces have an amazing arsenal of hot sauces. One of my favorites is the Hellacious hot sauce. Heartbreaking Dawns 1542 habanero sauce is on the money too!


Jersey’s own Born to Hula!


I picked up the All Spice Cafe sweet ghost pepper popcorn for that sweet, spicy and salty flavor that’s tough to find along with Sauce Goddess Moroccan twist popcorn for blended flavors of caramel, cardamom and chiles for an amazing complex flavor. You can find these at Peppers.com.



You have to pick up Sinclair’s Fatalii sauce from Sweet Heat’s hot sauce makers. It’s made with tomatoes and the wonderfully fragrant and hot fatalii peppers. Fatalii peppers are very similar to the citrus flavors of the habanero peppers but they are a lot spicier, more fragrant and more prominent fruity flavors.


I made a chicken pot pie this weekend and sprinkled some Volcanic Peppers dust for a little heat which surprisingly came through even with the creaminess of the pie. This little jar packs an incredible amount of heat as it should since it is made with just habanero, red peppers and ghost peppers.



This A&B hot sauce is a nice Carolina style vinegar based pepper sauce made in NYC. I like the mid-range heat of this sauce and can see it in future bowls of popcorn!


Twisted Sister’s guitarist Eddie “fingers” Ojeda’s award winning Ojeda Cherry Habanero sauce made my top list in the sweet and spicy category. It has a great natural cherry flavor and a heat that builds over time. This would be amazing on grilled BBQ chicken or ribs!


Whitehouse Station habanero hot sauce delivers pure habanero heat for that clean citrus flavor I’ve come to love. It is one of my favorite peppers right along with the fatalii pepper. Puckerbutt’s Brown Congo Jelly is not your typical thin, overly sweet jelly. This jelly is chunky with lots of pepper bits and the perfect blend of sugar and heat. Smear it on your pork tenderloin next time.



Hellfire yeah! I didn’t get to try all of their sauces but Hellfire’s The Elixir just blew me away. Can’t wait to put that on everything!


If you can’t handle too much heat and love the flavors of green chiles and tomatillos, this is the sauce for you. This was one of my favorites from NW Elixirs. Fresh, tangy, mildly spicy and perfect on eggs or smothered on baked chicken with melted cheese. Are you hungry yet?


Here’s one mini entrepreneur! This little guy, with the help of his mom and dad, created his own hot sauce and bravely tried one of my spicy lollipops! This story is pretty amazing and shows how with great parenting and guidance children can learn essential skills to become successful and gain independence down the road. Not only are they selling the Hot Cha – Waa Cha hot sauces and BBQ sauces, but Dad founded and teaches at the Chef2Be Summer program at the Nyack, NY Culinary Learning Center. The Chefs2Be program is for kids over 10 years old interested in learning about healthy eating and cooking. Visit their website for more details about the program.


The day outside was miserably wet and cold and thank goodness the event was held indoors this year. I have to say I preferred last year’s set up as vendors booths snaked through venue for easy navigation. This year I found myself a bit overwhelmed and not knowing where to turn exactly but that didn’t matter much, I was on a mission and visited every single booth there, especially the food, beer and liquor booth in VIP. There was also a tattoo artist on hand for those crazy, impulsive moments when you convince yourself you need another! I passed but mostly because they didn’t have any chile pepper designs! ha!



More food next time please!! Definitely not enough in the VIP area to get through a day of sampling sauces but the sandwiches were delicious, albeit tiny.



oh and I want these earrings!


Until next year folks! Hope you enjoyed the photos. Look for Hot Lollies spicy lollipops at next year’s event if all goes well!



Get Ready for the NYC Hot Sauce Expo

Get ready for the 2nd annual NYC Hot Sauce Expo this weekend brought to you by High River Sauces! This event will be packing some serious heat! If you love hot sauce and spicy foods this is one event you absolutely cannot miss! It’s not too late to get tickets so get them online to save a few bucks! Last year was a huge success with hot sauce producers from all over the country and plenty of food and drink to go around.


Here are a few photos from last years’ outdoor event. Good thing event is indoors this year since it may be a rainy and chilly weekend. So head over to the Penn Plaza Pavilion next to Penn Station to sample some of the best hot sauces around. This will be an easy commute for those coming from outside of Manhattan. It’s also a great opportunity to try sauces you normally wouldn’t find in this area and to support a few small businesses…and if you’re feeling brave, enter one of the spicy foods contest!   It’s going to be one hell of an event. See you all tomorrow! I’ll be sure to post a few photos for those of you who can’t attend.

Plenty of Sriracha Products Out There

Freaking out over the possible sriracha shortage? No worries, there are plenty of sriracha products out there you can try until Huy Fong Sriracha makers resolve their issues with the Health Department. First they were shutdown because of odor complaints near their facilities in southern California now they’re in violation of health codes.

I can just imagine what living in that area must be like, I too suffered through the perils of making hot sauce when I made my own recently. I looked like I was starring in some post nuclear meltdown scene; gloves, goggles, head wrap, bandanna covering face…but the results were amazing!

photo credit: Sriacha for Breakfast

The Huy Fong plant seems to be working through their issues but in the meantime, here is a comprehensive review of mostly all the sriracha’s out there from the folks over at Sriracha for Breakfast! Oh, you thought there was just one? Well there are plenty sriracha products out there and some even better tasting than the red rooster. Also, for all you sriracha fanatics, not judging ;-), make sure you visit the Sriracha for Breakfast Facebook page as well for all things sriracha.

Great Spicy Finds At The Chile Pepper Festival

I made it out to the Brooklyn Botanic Gardens this past weekend and came away with a few great spicy finds at their annual Chile Pepper Festival. It was an awesome event with plenty of spicy products to sample, live music, food, beer and all within the beautiful grounds of the Brooklyn Botanic Gardens. It’s definitely a great event for finding new small batch products and to also support local businesses.  There were two rows of vendors as soon as you walked into the park, savory hot sauces and products on one side and spicy sweets on the other!



Redhead has a nice curry based spicy sauce, I want to heat it up and spread it on roti or pita.


I picked up Nonna’s Spicy Red Pesto to spread on crusty Italian bread or to stir into a pasta for a zesty and spicy meal. It’s such a versatile sauce you can just serve it with crackers.



One of my favorites, Heartbreaking Dawns 1498 hot sauce…I keep one in my desk at the office!


Spicy and flavorful Indian Tikka Masala sauce, all the samples from this brand were delicious.


Now for the sweets! Here are a few of my favorites from the event…


I liked the smooth texture of Madecesse Cinnamon Chili Pepper chocolates. It was spicy and a heavy on the cinnamon which I loved. You got the heat from the chile peppers and the warmth of the cinnamon for a great flavor combination. The Taza Chocolate Mexicano was another favorite. Rick dark chocolate perfect for melting down for spicy hot cocoa or just shaving over desserts.


Now these Little Bird Chocolates were my absolute favorites. The candied jalapenos dipped in milk chocolate were  surprisingly delicious and had a nice amount of heat. What I really enjoyed was how well the flavors worked together and the chewy jalapeno candy added a nice texture.



I picked up a few of these Spoonable chile caramel sauces to give away as gifts but have to keep a couple! Would be great to spoon over ice cream or spread on toast. They’re sweet, buttery and spicy…


If you needed to give your taste buds a break you could shop at a few of the local farmers produce stands…




or roam the grounds and see the beautiful chile pepper plants in the Herb Garden.



Oh and these black pearl beauties!


Overall a very well organized and planned out event! This is one to add to your annual festival list!