I recently visited the Tabasco factory on Avery Island in search of the McIlhenny family's latest novelty hot sauce creation. Among the raspberry chipotle ice cream and Tabasco cola was a hybrid that is spicing up the competition in the hot sauce market: Tabasco sriracha.
The sauce was released for a test run three weeks ago and is only available through the Tabasco Country Store. Food writers nationwide (from New York Magazine to TIME) were thrilled to learn that this rara avis — which is marketed as combining the sweet, garlicky heat of sriracha with the lip-searing kick of Tabasco — exists in the wild. But what does it actually taste like?
Color: Tabasco sriracha is a darker, smokier color than traditional sriracha sauces, closer to a deep maroon than sriracha's signature scarlet.
Texture: The smooth, pureed texture (think homemade ketchup) of Tabasco sriracha adds to its appeal, making the globby consistency of traditional sriracha seem a little unappetizing. It's almost thick enough to spread on crackers as a standalone condiment, and would give Tabasco a run for its money atop raw oysters.
Spice: Tabasco sriracha combined the best elements of Tabasco and sriracha into one sauce, with sriracha's sweet chile slow burn offset by the vinegar-heavy aftertaste of Tabasco. It's saltier than either of the condiments on its own, but its saltiness enhances the nuanced flavors of ginger and garlic.
Packaging: While it's not quite as portable as Tabasco, the conical shape of the bottle, clean white brand and whimsical, Thai-inspired gold leafing is the most aesthetically pleasing of hot sauce bottles.
Price: This new kid on the block is expensive ($4.99 for 15 ounces) when compared to traditional sriracha and Tabasco, at almost double the price of a similar sized bottle of sriracha.
Verdict? Louisiana revolutionized spicy condiments with Tabasco in 1868 and is poised to do it again if Tabasco sriracha reaches shelves worldwide.