Whiskey Barrel-Aged Hot Sauce

By Norman Chan

The hot condiment of this year.

The Smithsonian's Food & Think blog has a mouth-watering post on the relatively new trend of barrel-aging hot sauce. Across the country, brew pubs (like San Francisco's Magnolia) are experimenting with using discarded whiskey barrels to age their hot sauce. The oak in the barrels seeps into sauce, giving the flavor some added complexity. Plus, there's actually a fair amount of whiskey retention in the barrels, which range from eight gallons all the way to 53 pounds--those alone will hold several hundred pounds of chilies.