It may not seem like an obvious choice for the holidays, but hot sauce can be an amazing gift. It is often low in calories and sugar (a welcome relief this time of year), non-perishable (meaning you can buy it ahead of time and/or ship without worrying about exact timing), and the bottles tend to be small in size, which means they fit perfectly into a stocking. Also, people who like hot sauce REALLY like hot sauce. There’s a reason the phrase “sriracha on everything” exists; once you discover how many foods are improved with a little heat (and possibly a little acidity, sweetness and other flavoring), it’s hard to stop using it. But whether our brand is Huy Fong sriracha, Frank’s, Cholula, Tapatío or Tabasco, we can all get stuck in a rut. And branching out can be hard. The gift of a new hot sauce is one that we might never buy ourselves, but it can be a welcome change nonetheless. These days there is a whole rainbow of hot sauces to choose from, with varying heat levels, flavor profiles, acidity levels and consistencies. There are even stores like Heatonist in Williamsburg, Brooklyn that specialize in high-quality, independently produced artisanal hot sauces, many of which are made with heirloom, organic and/or non-GMO ingredients. This is all good news, but the increased number of options can make choosing a new brand more difficult. Here are some of our favorite new hot sauces (all with tolerable heat levels and made by independent American producers) to help you find the perfect gift for the capsaicin junkie in your life.

Food & Wine

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