Food & Drink

Hot Sauce: Pepper Vinegar (Pique)

Makes 1 pint

A take on hot sauce straight from Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands

Photo: Peden + Munk

A small cup of Gatlin's house-made sauce.

In Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands, pique is what they call a bottle of peppers steeped in vinegar. “Sport peppers” is the name for the bottle of peppers and vinegar you find on your table at restaurants in Louisiana. You sprinkle the pepper-laced vinegar on your food. You can make pique in any bottle. Just increase or decrease the proportions to fit. I like to use a glass pancake-syrup dispenser with a plastic top, which allows you to remove some peppers and hot vegetables and mash them in your food.


    • 5 habanero-type chiles

    • 1 carrot, peeled and chopped

    • 1 small onion, chopped

    • 4 garlic cloves, peeled

    • 1 1-inch cube peeled fresh ginger

    • 1 thyme sprig

    • 1 3/4 cups cane, cider, or white wine vinegar

    • 1 tsp. rum


  1. Make a small slit in each chile with the point of a knife to allow the liquid to penetrate it quickly. Stuff the chiles, carrot, onion, garlic, ginger, and thyme into a pint-size syrup dispenser. Add the vinegar and rum and wait a week for the flavor to develop, or you can hurry things up by heating the vinegar first. If you use hot vinegar, the pique will be ready in a few hours. When you use all the vinegar, just add more. One bottle of peppers is good for three or four batches of pique.

Recipe reprinted with permission from The Hot Sauce Cookbook by Robb Walsh, copyright 2013. Published by Ten Speed Press, a division of Random House, Inc.