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Top 10 Tips for becoming a 'Hot Sauce Connoisseur’

Top 10 Tips for becoming a 'Hot Sauce Connoisseur’

Some Like It Hot .Shop |

James Nicolian

So you wanna be a Hot Sauce Expert? Flamin' J (www.SomeLikeItHot.Shop ’s very own big chief James Nicolian) gives his advice on how to navigate your way into becoming a chillisauce hot shot…

  1. Read the Bottle -
    1. What To Look For - This is the 101 of looking like an expert - read your bottle and know what to look for! Start by checking the ingredients list. This starts with the main ingredient by quantity and works it's way down - so it should also give you an indication of the style and flavour - i.e. is it vinegar heavy, does it have chilli mash as the main ingredient, what preservatives are there, spices, sugar or fruits? Does it mention the type of chilli - this (and the amount used) will help you you have an indication of how hot the sauce will be). Look out for allergens (listed in bold). Check the label for the country of origin, perhaps they even list their (somewhat objective) heat level, and serving suggestions..
  2. Shake It Like You Mean It -
    1. Why shake? -  Well firstly it's not unusual for sauces to experience some separation in the bottle, and whilst this often doesn't look great, it's usually a great indicator of fresh ingredients and a lack of additives - so don't be put off. Don’t taste from the top without a good shake, because often that's where the oils or spices will rest and the heat will concentrate!
    2. Shake Style - Much like a cocktail bartender your shake face is key - they say that your shake face, is the same as your face when you..... well you get the idea.
  3. Know Your Chillis
    1. Read up - like our article here on the A-Z of chillis, learn about their origins/history and common uses,and their heat level. 
    2. Maybe even try and grow a few - don't be intimidated if starting from seeds is too much work, get down to Waitrose or B&Q and buy an established plant to start you off. 
  4. Know Your Limits
    1. It’s Not Big and It’s Not Clever - a lot of the people who do online challenges are pro Chilliheads, with experience. Dangerous side effects are possible if you suddenly up your heat level without knowing your tolerance. 
    2. Learn about the scoville scale - this helpful guide from Mic’s Chillis - tells you about the heat you can expect from their sauces, but start slow (Jalapaneos are about 2500-8000 SHU for reference) before you work your way up to those Million Scoville sauces like Mic's Vodoo Reaper. 
    3. Know how to deal with a capsacin overdose - the worst thing you can do is drink water, which will spread the capsacin to other parts of your mucus membrane. Instead try dairy or high fatty drinks and food, like milk or cream.
  5. Choose Your Moment - 
    1. People often ask me what my favourite chillisauce is, - but it depends on the moment and the accompanying food. It's all about the flavour ...
    2. Pairing hot sauce - green sauce for nachos, pizza sauce, taco sauce,  there is even hot sauce designed for coffee and ice cream. Get tastings and find the perfect combo.
  6. Get Down with the Lingo -
    1. Know the types of Chilli and their pronunciation - their is nothing worse that being at a chilli festival and being THAT GUY who calls it a JAL-A-PEE-NO. (Clue it's a silent J pronounced Hal...)
  7. Expand Your Horizons -
    1. Think beyond the sauce - try spicy drinks, condiments, use new ingredients, find tasty confectionary, and hot snacks - and above all learn - look for hot sauce blogs, chilli podcasts and books about hot sauce. 
  8. Take A “Shelfie” - 
    1. Photograph your hot sauce collection and get it on social media - nothing says I am an expert like showing off your latest new sauce online.
    2. Get Social Media Savvy - join fb groups (like the Some Like It Hot Facebook Group), use hashtags, follow your favourite brands and chillihead influencers - sign up for newsletter updates so you know when the latest sauces drop.
  9. Befriend a #Chillihead -
    1. Ask your real life mates if they like hot sauce - start a buying collective, meet up, challenge each other - share purchases and reviews - attend events together.
    2. Find new mates online in groups / or meet at events
    3. Reach out to your favourite brand owner - support local, buy at local markets and be their brand champion online.
    4. Meet Your Local Some Like It Hot Shop / Hot Sauce Sommelier - we are in the process of launching satellite stores, and running tastings across the UK with our team of trained Hot Sauce Sommeliers. Sign up to our newsletter to find out more.
  10. Discover Something New - 
    1. Join a Hot Sauce Subscription Club - OK it's shameless plug time - be the first to subscribe to our Hot Sauce Subscription Club in the UK - and get a monthly box of chilli goodies, make friends in the community and discover the latest products available in the UK.

And like all good cults, once you’ve reap-er-ed the benefits of becoming a chillsauce aficionado, enjoy recruiting new hot sauce addicts to share your hobby! (Use the code "SLIHfriend" - to give your pals 10% off.