Kitchn Love Letters

The Unlikely Pantry Staple I’ve Been Using in Place of Hot Sauce — and It’s 25% Off Right Now

updated Nov 28, 2021
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Credit: Acid League

If you haven’t heard of experimental living vinegar brand Acid League yet, you might want to go ahead make some room in your kitchen cabinet. These masters of gut-friendly gastronomy are cranking out wildly tasty living tonics, vinegars and vinaigrettes, wine proxies, and other delicious pantry staples. In short: They’re making vinegar cool again.

I recently got to sample a few of the brand’s newer pantry staples and have fallen completely in love with one tangy, spicy condiment that has basically replaced my need for hot sauce in everything I cook. My current kitchen crush: Acid League’s Garden Heat Living Vinegar. Oh, and psst… right now you can score 25 percent off everything — including Acid League’s Proxies Tasting Set and Gift Kits — as part of the brand’s Black Friday deals. It’s seriously the perfect time to give your kitchen condiment selection an upgrade.

An entirely new and fresh riff on vinegar, Garden Heat is made with the juices of carrots, celery, and jalapeños at its base. It’s packed with intensely earthy, vegetal flavor with juicy green notes on the nose. Upon first opening this bottle, I smelled fresh celery, carrots, mushrooms, and summer-ripe tomatoes that reminded me of my grandfather’s garden.

After I tasted the vinegar, however, I was blown away by its complexity and depth of flavor. Vegetal and tart with the perfect amount of spice from the jalapeños, Garden Heat reminds me of a much more mature Tabasco hot sauce. I couldn’t wait to add a splash to a batch of Bloody Mary mix I made a few weekends back, and I’ll honestly keep using this to replace hot sauce for my weekend brunch cocktails moving forward. I’ve also added a splash into minestrone soup and drizzled it into homemade salad vinaigrettes to kick up the heat. This ingredient is seriously versatile, addictively tart, and has just enough heat.

I’ve had the chance to try the full range of Living Vinegars included in Acid League’s Big League Vinegar Kit currently on sale for Black Friday, and I highly recommend this fun collection as a gift for any home cook looking to spice up their kitchen condiment arsenal. These vinegars are all packed with gut-friendly prebiotics, making them both functional and full of complex flavor. If you’ve only dabbled with white cooking vinegar or apple cider vinegar, it’s time to expand your horizons. Acid League will breathe new life into anything you cook.

Credit: Acid League

My advice? Take advantage of these awesome Acid League Black Friday deals while you still can. I think the Proxies Tasting Set and Gift Kits make for a wildly delicious holiday gift.

Looking for more great deals? Check out our complete Black Friday Sale coverage, and be sure to sign up for our Cook/Shop newsletter for the latest sales and must-have kitchen finds.