Last week, I had the unique pleasure of visiting 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 positioned to revolutionize the spicy condiments game: Tabasco sriracha.
Released as a test run three weeks ago and 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-singeing kick of Tabasco—exists in the wild.
No one has answered, though: what does it actually taste like?
Fortunately, I snagged a bottle while at the store, and set out to see how this new creation combines the best of Southeast Asian and South Louisianan flavors.
Color: Tabasco sriracha is a decidedly darker, smokier color than traditional sriracha sauces, closer to a deep maroon than sriracha's signature scarlet. (Tabasco, as always remains a blinding fire engine red.)
Texture: The smooth, puree-like texture (think: homemade ketchup) of the Tabasco sriracha lends to its appeal, making the globby feel of traditional sriracha seem at least 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 is somehow able to magically combine the best elements from both Tabasco and sriracha into one sauce, with the sriracha's sweet chili slow burn offset perfectly by the vinegar-heavy aftertaste of Tabasco. It's far saltier than either of the condiments on their own, but the high salt factor is able to help enhance 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 all hot sauce bottles.
Price Point: This new kid on the block is expensive ($4.99 for 15 oz.) when compared to traditional sriracha and Tabasco, at almost double the price for 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.