Wednesday, 3 March 2010

Scotch Bonnet and Bourbon Hot Sauce

A fiery hot sauce is always a welcome condiment in any man's kitchen. Not only is it a must for drunken male showdowns, but you always need something to give those cute trick or treaters come halloween. Below is my recipe for a hot sauce that in large doses could probably be used as a weapon. It was my dads birthday recently and he is always a bugger to buy for. He loves chillies and hot sauces so I thought I would brew him some up with a personallised label. He has hot sauces on literally every meal he eats so it was always going to be a winner. There is a cool ethnic food store in Charminster where I bought a carrier bag full of fresh scotch bonnet chillis for around £6 which compared to supermarkets offering just 3 for nearly £1, I considered it a bargain.

The key to hot sauces is to add other flavours but without loosing the actual flavour of the chillies. This is why scotch bonnets or habanero chillies work really well as they have a sweet, fruity flavour to them that doesn't subside once the capsaicin starts to kick in. Capsaicin is the chemical in the membrane and around the seeds which contains all the heat and burning sensation when eaten. Don't be a slap-dash chef here, make sure you taste what you are making every step of the way and introduce other flavours a little at a time, especially when using milder flavoured chillies such as jalapeno or thai.

The bourbon I used was a healthy tot of Woodford Reserve, the sweetness and smokiness of the whiskey really mellows the sauce and with the few dried chipottle chillies I threw in it just gave the sauce an extra dimension. Don't worry if you have to leave them out though. It will still taste great, though I would advise the use of bourbon.

Don’t be shy of the vinegar. It’s there to help pickle the sauce and give it a longer shelf life. The recipe below will be of a similar consistency to ketchup but by adding more vinegar you will end up with a runnier version which is equally as good. It all comes down to personal preference although some vinegars with strong flavours such as balsamic should be used in moderation so as not to overpower the flavour of the chilli peppers, but get creative and find what you like best. You can play around with flavoured vinegars, I used some tarragon vinegar which worked really well.

Hot Sauce

200ml of red wine vinegar
50ml of balsamic vinegar
Shot of Bourbon
25 Scotch bonnet chilli peppers roughly chopped
2 dried chipottle chillies
5 garlic cloves, grated or finely diced
1 shallot, finely diced
1 red onion, finely diced

Put a large high sided pan on a high heat. Combine the onion, shallot, garlic and fresh chopped chillies and sauté for 4-5 minutes.

Add the water and dried chili’s and reduce to a simmer for around 20 minutes or until the chillies are all soft and have absorbed the water.

Add the bourbon and give it a few minutes, constantly stirring until the alcohol has cooked off a bit. Leave to cool for 10 minutes. Stick it all in a blender and whiz up adding your vinegars slowly, add a little extra vinegar for god measure.

Leave to cool completely before funneling into sterilized jars or bottles. Use cautiously. It’s potent stuff!


  1. I have masses of Bourbon but can't get scotch bonnet. Do you think it would be worth doing with other chillies?

  2. Definitely.
    If you could find habaneros that would be even better, but jalapenos wil work quite well due to their thick flesh. In fact you can use this recipe almost as a skeleton and swap ingredients for similar ones. If you use a milder flavour chilli then I must stress to add your other flavours a little at a time so as not to loose the chilli's, and keep tasting. You can always use white vinegar which has a much milder taste to it and won't impinge on that of the chillies. But a good hit of bourbon in the sauce really does go down well.

  3. Dorset Naga ! Come on man!

  4. I've had naga chilli before but it wasn't a Dorset naga. I'd like to get hold of some, or grow some.

  5. Kiks - - not too far away. Going to pop down late spring.

  6. Yeah, thats where I got some from. Insane. They are juicy , and taste a bit cucumbery, if that makes sense. The level of heat is ridiculous though.

    Tesco sold them for a bit too.!/video/video.php?v=163986934411