Hot Sauces for a Spicy Cinco

It’s not like we ever need an excuse for upping our hot sauce intake, but Cinco de Mayo is as worthy an occasion as any. And for such a worthy occasion, we prefer a hot sauce that’s worthy of really being called a hot sauce. With that in mind, we just expanded our line of bottled up fiery flavor, and we want to tell you all about what we’ve got.

Let’s start by talking about Señor Lechuga, a blazingly spicy hot sauce that’s exclusive to Murray’s. Señor Lechuga produces three styles of hot sauce, each based on habanero peppers and Carolina reapers. Those things are eye-wateringly hot. But what makes Señor Lechuga so excellent is that the heat doesn’t come at the expense of flavor. You like things smoky? There’s a Chipotle rendition that brings both the heat and the smoke of a fire. Prefer a hit of sweetness? The Pineapple version tastes like Caribbean pepper sauce. Of course, you can also go the Original route if you’re looking for the straight dope. Hot sauces have as wide a range of texture as of flavor, and Señor Lechuga keeps the consistency thin, since a little of this stuff goes a long, hot way.

Wide-ranging flavors and textures? Sounds like cheese, no? In fact, hot sauce and cheese have a lot in common, which is why they pair so well together. For Señor Lechuga, we like to pair the Pineapple version with Piave Vecchio. The cheese is often likened to Parmigiano Reggiano, with a crystalline paste full of the concentrated sweetness of tropical fruit, which makes it a natural partner to the tropical profile of this particular hot sauce.

There are a couple other hot sauce and cheese pairings we are particularly fond of. One is Smoked Habañero Barbeque by Marshall’s Haute Sauce with Point Reyes Original Blue. To our mind, Marshall’s has made the perfect barbeque sauce: smoky and sweet with a balanced heat and a depth of flavor that comes from molasses, cinnamon, and cloves. Since Original Blue is extra creamy with a peppery pungency, it goes quite well with the Marshall’s.

And for an extra en pointe Cinco, we suggest Queen Majesty Jalepeño Tequila & Lime sauce with Don Froylan Queso Fresco. The sauce has a splash of apple cider vinegar and a bit of green apple to add complementary sweetness to the tartness and heat, and its flavor profile means it works particularly well with this fresh, smooth, subtle cheese. They make a killer one-two combo atop everything from enchiladas to eggs.

We so love the pairing of cheese and hot sauce that we’re devoting an entire class at our Bleecker Street shop to it. On Thursday, May 10, we’re turning up the heat with our favorite cheeses cranked up to eleven with our favorite spicy condiments. In conjunction with Heatonist, Brooklyn’s Purveyors of Fine Hot Sauce, we’ve come up with some fiery pairings that will make your taste buds scream. You can get your tickets here.

Have a happy Cinco!