Back for its 7th year, the annual NYC Hot Sauce Expo took place this past weekend at the Brooklyn Expo in Greenpoint. To the delight of spiceheads from all around the region, dozens of vendors showed up with custom crafted hot sauces, alcohol, jerky, syrups, candies and more, each packing a ton of heat! The trend in this year's event seemed to focus more on flavor than heat—not that you couldn't find the hottest of the hot here too—and we tried just about every sauce we could find.
The best locally-made sauces we found came from Queen Majesty Hot Sauce, a selection of delicious sauces made right here in Long Island City by none-other-than Reggae DJ Queen Majesty. Winner of the 2019 Screaming Mimi Award in the Pepper Blend Mild category for her Blue Point Toasted Lager Hot Sauce, the Queen had a good range of flavor-first sauces that are made all natural using local ingredients, are vegan, and sugar-free. The limited edition Charcoal Ghost hot sauce is a must-have for any sauce collector out there who likes a flavorful, smoky heat. You can find Queen Majesty sauces at the Heatonist, Sahadi's, Murray's, and other local gourmet shops.
The best locally-made drinks we found came from Hella Cocktail Co., a Brooklyn-born company now making mixers, syrups, and bitters out of LIC. They had a Spicy Margarita Mix and a Spicy Bloody Mary mix with just the right amount of heat as to not overpower the cocktail. Non-spicy options like the Rosemary Collins were delicious as well, packing a ton of flavor into an easy-to-use mixer.
Alongside all of the spicy food and drink, sauces and other spicy edibles, the weekend event was jam-packed with events such as the 'The Worlds Hottest Ramen Challenge', a 'Booze & Infuse Cocktail Competition', and 'The Guinness Book of World Records Reaper Eating Challenge'. If you love spice and weren't there, you definitely missed out on a good time. Don't worry though, plans are already in motion for next year's expo!
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