Things have been heating up in the Hudson Valley all summer long. Why not infuse home culinary creations with a bit of zing?
Spice fanatics and heat-seekers will delight in the region’s plethora of hot sauces. These local brands take the farm-to-bottle approach with condiments high on the Scoville scale. Ranging from mildly hot to absolutely scorching, these liquid fires bring bold sensations to your dishes.
Beth’s Farm Kitchen
Our Pick: Cherry Bomb Hot Sauce
Beth’s Farm Kitchen has crafted small-batch goodies in the Hudson Valley since 1981. Its “Spicy Creations” line features artisanal hot sauces, jams, and chutneys with an extra kick. The sweet and mild Cherry Bomb provides an awesome accompaniment for Asian cuisine, seafood, and delicate vegan dishes like tofu. The Bayou-inspired habanero hot sauce, a British-style chunky tomato chutney, and hot plum chutney round out Beth’s Farm Kitchen’s vibrant pantry-fillers. Taco Tuesday? The green jalapeno hot sauce utilizes fresh Hudson Valley peppers, tangy vinegar, and traditional additions like garlic and onions.
Our Pick: Raw Heat Habanero Carrot Hot Sauce
Established in 1972, Hawthorne Valley sources its ingredients from its 900-acre farm in Ghent. At the farm store in Hudson, local foodies can find two farm-fresh hot sauces. Organic, biodynamic hot peppers, garlic, and other ingredients fuel the Raw Heat sauces. Habanero-Carrot and Ginger-Garlic round out the smoking-hot ferments. Hawthorne Valley’s hot sauces are probiotic in nature; a large spattering aids gut health. Plus, the wild-fermented kimchi includes a helping of smoldering hot peppers.
Our Pick: Maple Cayenne
With one of the most diverse hot sauce lineups in the Hudson Valley, Rhinebeck’s Horseshoe Brand is full of surprises. Take the Mango Fatalii, for example, which features the fruity, citrusy heat of African fatalii peppers. Bhut Jolokia (ghost peppers) and habaneros team up in XXXTra for a mouth-searing hot sauce. The kiwi jalapeno hot sauce is perfect for summer barbecues, and the Scotch bonnet-based Caribbean hot sauce infuses any dish with tropical flavors. Nothing screams “Hudson Valley hot sauce” more than the Maple Cayenne, a sticky-sweet sauce full of Crown Maple ingredients. Has there ever been a better condiment for chicken and waffles?
Our Pick: Organic Yellow Hot Sauce
Every ingredient found in Hudson Harvest products was grown in the Hudson Valley. The Kingston-based company produces three styles of organic hot sauce: green, yellow, and red. Apple cider vinegar gives each sauce a distinctive brightness to counteract the medium-to-hot heat. The yellow variety features organic jalapenos, green serranos, and sweet peppers for a complex yet balanced flavor profile.
JaJa’s Pepper Sauce
Our Pick: JaJa’s Pepper Sauce
Owner Jacqueline Hewitt’s hot sauce was perfected over three generations. From her mother’s Trinidadian kitchen to her current Millbrook home, JaJa’s Pepper Sauce is a refined product. Not too spicy, this tangy sauce features red habaneros, onions, garlic, and white vinegar. This family recipe has found its place among many Hudson Valley culinary traditions.
Poor Devil Pepper Co.
Our Pick: Evil Possessor
Columbia County’s Poor Devil Pepper Co. makes a memorable first impression. From unique flavor combinations and bombastic branding to thier raw, probiotic nature, these hot sauces will quickly become a fridge staple. Naturally fermented, these live sauces continue to evolve in the bottle. Plus, nearly everything that goes in is fully organic. Gold Tooth blends turmeric-mustard with honey and yellow cayennes, while Kali Curry brings Indian flair. The Mountain Mama features seasonal hot peppers, causing slight variations in heat depending on the time of year. However, there’s nothing quite like the Evil Possessor. This limited-release “umami bomb” highlights Hong Gochu Korean hot peppers and classic cayennes alongside honeynut squash, chickpea miso, and badger flame beets.
Our Pick: Mother of All Dragons
From Trinidad to the Hudson Valley, Richard “Ram” Rajkumar crafts dozens of colorful, creative hot sauces. Like many other producers in the region, Ram utilizes organic Hudson Valley hot peppers. Ram’s Valley sauces feature everything from Carolina Reapers to Scorpion peppers. Naturally fermented sauces focus on the flavor profiles of the peppers themselves. A few of his creations include Green Hulk (green habaneros, green Thai chilis, jalapenos), Jerk Pepper (red habaneros, scorpion peppers), and Flavor Me Mama (Hungarian wax peppers, red cherry peppers, and habaneros). For an extra spicy hot sauce, turn to the Mother of All Dragons. Red ghost peppers and red habaneros provide the heat, while fermented garlic, carrots, and cherry peppers grant slight relief. Be sure to pay the storefront in Uptown Kingston a visit.
Ric Orlando’s Legendary Hot Sauces
Our Pick: Purple Haze Psychedelic Hot Sauce
Hudson Valley celebrity chef Ric Orlando certainly knows his way around a kitchen. He beat Bobby Flay and won Chopped twice. Orlando’s Legendary Hot Sauce line draws inspiration from dishes created in his New World Restaurants in the Valley. Balanced, complex, and completely “shock-free,” these sauces rank highly in the flavor department. Dirty Blonde Sweet and Sticky Hot Sauce features clover honey, tropical juices, and turmeric with Savina habaneros. Trini Daddy Caribbean Hot Mustard takes hot dogs to the next level. However, Orlando’s Purple Haze Psychedelic Hot Sauce has certainly garnered the most hype. Originating from the “Purple Haze Shrimp” dish at his Woodstock restaurant, Purple Haze packs enough habaneros to cause hallucinations (not really). Red cabbage naturally colors this sauce, while pineapple, ginger, and apple cider vinegar bring bright flavor notes. The Dave Matthews Band took a gallon of this sauce with them on tour due to its addictive nature.