I’ve wanted to make a hot pepper sauce for the longest time. Today, I finally did it!

The concept is pretty simple, but the ways of going about it are more varied and complex than I ever thought possible.

My all-time favorite hot sauce is Tabasco. I love it. It has just the right amount of heat, I like the flavor… It’s what I was weaned on. It is also the most difficult and complex to make – fermenting pepper mash literally for years, to begin with. I was looking for something a bit quicker.

After looking at a score of recipes – I bought a hot sauce cookbook a few years ago – I decided to just wing it.

I had gathered maybe two pounds of assorted hot peppers from the yard – mostly tabasco and jalapeno with a few others thrown in – and started to work.

I stemmed the peppers and put them in the blender – seeds and all – with white vinegar. I also added about 8 dried guajillo peppers that I bought for something I never made. I did a few batches, making it all as smooth as possible. Into the pot I added sugar, water, salt, and a tiny bottle of Fuoco dell’ Etna liqueur we picked up in Sicily that’s just been hanging around collecting dust. And then some Absolut Peppar Vodka because, why not?!? It’s been hanging around for years – no one drinks it – so it’s time to put it to use, as well.

I brought everything to a boil, cooked it a bit, strained it, and bottled it.

The end result is pretty damned good. It’s slightly sweet and slightly vinegary at first – and then the heat hits.

And it has some heat!

This is one of those things that will never be replicated but that’s okay. This should get us through the winter.