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Food by VICE

How I'm Dealing with the Sriracha Ban

Huy Fong Foods, the company that produces the popular hot sauce, can't make more until mid-January, so a vodka company stepped up to the plate by producing Sriracha-flavored vodka. That liquor sounds like a bad idea wrapped in a marketing gimmick, but...

by Angelina Fanous
Jan 7 2014, 9:14pm

A bottle of Sriracha. Via

Sriracha is the condiment of American dreams. People are squeezing this shit on everything. Sriracha as we all know—green cap, rooster—is based on a sauce that comes from the coastal city of Si Racha, Thailand, but the version you care about was invented by David Tran, a Vietnamese immigrant whose combination of chili peppers, distilled vinegar, garlic, sugar, and salt caught on first in the Southeast Asian diaspora in Los Angeles, then became famous throughout America and the world.

Unfortunately, Tran's company Huy Fong Foods has experienced some setbacks since late November. The neighborhood complained about the stinky scents wafting from its factory, which led to a 30-day hold on all of the spice merchant's products that will last until mid-January and is being enforced by the California Department of Public Health.

When word of a potential shortage broke out, panic ensued. Hardcore consumers created Sriracha survival guides. Some people tried to figure out how to make their own sauce at home. One liquor company, UV Vodka, decided to roll out their newest flavored liquor, Sriracha vodka.

UV Vodka is a known for their flavor-infused vodkas, which range from “Candy Bar” (it tastes like chocolate caramel) to Salty Watermelon (self-explanatory) to Whipped (whipped cream). Sriracha Vodka is its most recent concoction, and the company's website calls it the “Bloody Mary’s new best friend,” which, OK, that does actually sound like it could be a decent use for a liquor that otherwise has no reason to exist.

While I waited in solidarity with fellow Sriracha addicts for the hold on production to be lifted later this month, I figured I’d try my hand at drinking the booze that’s infused with the sauce you’d typically pour over ramen, eggs, sandwiches, and into the eyes of your enemies. Rather than growing instant chest hair from a straight shot of the firewater, I got together a few friends for a taste test—in order to find out if there was an actual reason beyond a marketing ploy to buy spicy, peppery vodka, I compared Bloody Marys made with Sriracha Vodka to those made with plain vodka.

Bloody Mary Mix and Sriracha Vodka

8 ounces tomato juice

1 Tbs. freshly grated horseradish

2 Tbs. Worcestershire sauce

½ lemon, squeezed

¼ tsp. celery salt

Ground black pepper, to taste

2 jiggers Sriracha vodka

When I opened the cap to pour out a shot of the substance, I realized that only the outside of the bottle was red. I felt like I had been duped. The Sriracha-infused vodka itself is a clear, odorless liquid, like any other bottle of vodka. Was Sriracha sauce really in there, or did this reek of a chemist’s hand? I wasn’t brave enough at that point to pound it by its lonesome, so I shook up both of the Bloody Mary versions at the same time. We quaffed each one on its own and alternated sips to compare the flavors.

Bloody Mary with Vodka

8 ounces tomato juice

1 Tbsp. freshly grated horseradish

1 Tbsp. hot sauce

2 Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce

½ lemon, squeezed

¼ tsp celery salt

Ground black pepper, to taste

Dash of pepper

2 jiggers plain vodka

The obvious: the drinks were both crowd pleasers, but a Bloody Mary is only as good as its mix, and the vodka makes little difference. The Sriracha Vodka Bloody Mary and the plain vodka Bloody Mary tasted pretty much the same.

When I had finished drinking one of each version, I had enough liquid courage to stomach the idea of spicy Sriracha vodka straight, so I filled a glass with plenty of ice cubes, poured enough for one jigger, and watched the clear liquid slowly swerve through the empty crevices between the cubes. I took two sips. Previous reviews prepped me for the worst. I let the spirit linger on my tongue, expecting a firey taste, but it was more of a smoky flavor. It was as if I had dropped a spoonful of paprika into my glass. Maybe I was already drunk. Maybe I had enough Bloody Mary mix left on my palette. Maybe I’m just a big fan of paprika. At the end of it all, the vodka wasn’t horrendous—which far exceeded my expectations.