It’s not often that I talk about food on this blog. Actually, it’s never, but this is an exception. I am a fan of hot sauce, but I generally like ones that actually have a flavor other than pepper, and provide something that is not just a head-on burning-in-hell sensation. It seems that I can never get good hot sauce in New Jersey—I have to travel across the border to Pennsylvania. The latest one that I picked up while on a weekend trip to Lancaster was the shining moment of the vacation that included a hospital visit for my father. Not wanting to get into it here, I will say that he is much better now and resting, and I wanted to be sure of that before writing about anything that occurred on this trip.
Three years ago, when a senior in high school, I brought in a bottle of the now-popular Frostbite, which is a clear, water-like sauce that really does not have much of a flavor, other than the heat it provides from the only ingredient other than water and vinegar, being liquid capsaicin, which is what makes chili peppers hot. The sauce was great for pranks because of its color and on several occasions it ended up on someone’s food or in their drink without them even knowing – that is, until they took a sip or bite. A little bit went an extremely long way, and we found ourselves taking shots of it by the cap full. Other students looked on in confusion as the screams and shrieks came from our lunch table, and people randomly started running through the cafeteria to the nearest water fountain; water, of course, making it even worse because all it does is move the particles around in your mouth, rather than help wash them away. It has now been nearly three years since my career as
an idiot a hot sauce drinker ended, so it was with pleasure that I discovered this other hot sauce, at a jam and jelly store in Kitchen Kettle Village, located in Lancaster.
It took only one free sample of Pappy’s Moonshine Madness drenched atop a tortilla chip to hook me. This sauce kicked me in the ass so hard that I nearly lost my breath, and I even warned another person who was about to dig in after me. Even after heeding my advice, he too found himself sweating bullets shortly after. This is not just hot sauce though, but barbecue sauce laced with oil of capsicum for heat, but plenty of flavor with molasses and Worcestershire. The sauce is also 3% Kentucky Bourbon, which you can definitely get a hint of when the flames on your tongue cease to burn. It is probably 10 times hotter than Frostbite, but is much more addicting and palatable, because it actually has a flavor. After a while, Frostbite would give off this near-gross vinegar scent, which would really throw you off as you were getting ready to eat.
The label on the bottle reads, “So friggin’ hot, you’ll go blind,” and while I would not go that far, please be sure to have plenty of tissues nearby, and also something like bread or milk to quell the heat. It is no joke: water will only make it worse. I have tried the sauce on three things so far: pretzels/chips (okay), gummy worms (amazing; don’t ask), and mixed in with vegetable fried rice (even more amazing). I have to recommend that you do indeed mix it with something, because it will provide a nice spice, tons of flavor, and then a pleasant warming sensation when you are finished. If putting directly on chips or pretzels, use a microscopic amount, or you will be sorry.
I rate Pappy’s Moonshine Madness: 10/10
Greg Caggiano is a 20-year-old historian, writer, and hockey coach whose sports writing covers New York Rangers hockey and San Francisco Giants baseball. His blog, From New York to San Francisco, also features his musings on movies, music, books, history and current events.