8 hot sauces perfect for gifts
Whether it’s for the casual spice enthusiast in your life or the most hardcore chile head you know, hot sauce can be an excellent gift. For the heat lover, few things are more exciting than getting a new sauce to try out. With a little bit of planning, you can put together a nice little gift box or just score an interesting bottle to use as a stocking stuffer or small present. These hot sauces are guaranteed to elicit a response, however fiery it may be.
The Trendy Option
Fly By Jing Sichuan Chili Crisp
Since Fly By Jing started in 2016, it’s swept up foodies and Chinese food lovers alike with its spicy, encompassing flavor and crunchy-smooth texture. It’s just a bit tingly and decently spicy. And the jar looks super cool.
$16.50. AO&Co., 1641 Tower Grove Ave., St. Louis, 314.899.0991, Facebook: AO&Co. Market and Cafe
The Dependable Option
Salsa Valentina (the big one)
Yeah, it’s fun to open up a package and find the coolest sauce on the street; other times, you just want a huge amount of classic flavor. Keep your friends or family stocked with the good stuff for a long time by gifting them a 34-ounce bottle of Valentina.
$3.50. Jay International Food Co., 3172 S. Grand Blvd., St. Louis, 314.772.2552, facebook.com/jayinternationalfoods
The Hardcore Option
Da Bomb Beyond Insanity Hot Sauce
We had to include at least one nuclear option here, and chile freaks agree that Da Bomb hits the mark. It has a literal bomb with a caution sign on the front, which is meant to be your first and last warning that it’s hot as hell. Your most passionate hot sauce lovers will appreciate getting to try this one, but make sure they don’t use more than a drop or two.
$15. Hot Sauce Werks, 418 S. Main St., St. Charles, 636.395.7290, instagram.com/hotsaucewerks
The Local Options
Hot Charlie’s Hot Sauce
Local sauce hero Charlie Backer makes everything from hot-dusted popcorn to spicy frozen pizza. His original hot sauce has a Buffalo vibe, making it perfect for wings, pizza, sandwiches and pretty much everything else.
$7. Oakville Butcher Block, 4311 Telegraph Road, Oakville, 314.939.1133, oakvillebutcherblock.com
Passenger Chili Crisp
This series of spicy chile crisps by Perennial Artisan Ales owner Phil Wymore is a solid entry into a condiment style that’s blowing up right now. The “hot” version of Passenger finds a deep, smoky umami in its assorted peppers, onion, mushroom powder and Sichuan peppercorns. Spicy, tingly, marvelous.
$14. The Wine and Cheese Place, 7435 Forsyth Blvd., Clayton, 314.447.9463, wineandcheeseplace.com
The Incredible Flavor Option
Rancho Gordo Rio Fuego Very Hot Sauce
If you’re a bean head, you probably already know about Rancho Gordo, one of the finest purveyors of heirloom beans in the U.S. Don’t sleep on their delicious hot sauce, which brings an incredible depth of flavor (and is fairly spicy). Gift it with a couple packs of their heirloom beans and your recipient will be in heaven.
$6. Rancho Gordo, ranchogordo.com
The Can’t-Use-Enough Option
Bravado Spice Co. Creamy Herb & Jalapeño
Bravado has been a big player on the scene since being featured on popular spicy food YouTube show Hot Ones. You may not want the super spicy bottles featured there (the Ghost Pepper and Blueberry, the Black Garlic Carolina Reaper, and the AKA Miso Ghost-Reaper), which is fine. We don’t blame you; we like to taste our food too. The Creamy Herb & Jalapeño hot sauce has an unreal herby, earthy, vinegar-forward flavor and isn’t too hot, so you’ll find yourself using it on everything. Which means get a couple of these. Or do a Bravado tasting package with all of the above.
$10. Hot Sauce Werks, 418 S. Main St., St. Charles, 636.395.7290, instagram.com/hotsaucewerks
The (Not So) Secret Option
Secret Aardvark Habañero Hot Sauce
OK, Secret Aardvark isn’t really a secret; in fact, it’s easily recognized by true hot sauce OGs. That’s probably because it’s extraordinary. It’s one of those sauces that packs a seriously spicy punch but also tastes wonderful and isn’t overwhelmingly salty – it’s the trifecta of fantastic artisan hot sauce.
$9. Winslow’s Table, 7213 Delmar Blvd., University City, 314.725.7559, winslowstable.com
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