Novel Liquor-Based Hot Sauce: Physicochemical Attributes, Volatile Compounds, Sensory Evaluation, Consumer Perception, Emotions, and Purchase Intent

Foods. 2023 Jan 12;12(2):369. doi: 10.3390/foods12020369.


Hot sauces are popular peppery condiments used to add flavor and sensory excitement to gastronomical preparations. While hot sauce occupies a retail category well over a century old, a novel production method using liquor as the base preservative rather than traditional vinegar is now commercially available, and its uniqueness begs study. Hot sauces produced with tequila, rum, vodka, and bourbon were compared to traditional vinegar-based hot sauces concerning physicochemical properties, volatile compounds, microbiological quality, sensory scores, emotions, and purchase intent (PI). Under accelerated conditions, pH, titratable acidity (TA), water activity (Aw), viscosity, and color were analyzed weekly for 20 weeks, whereas rheological properties, coliforms and yeasts and molds were examined on weeks 1 and 20. Hexyl n-valerate, butanoic acid, 3-methyl-, hexyl ester, and 4-methylpentyl 3-methylbutanoate were found in high concentrations in the pepper mix as well as the hot sauce produced with vinegar. When compared to vinegar-based hot sauces, liquor-based hot sauces had similar Aw (p > 0.05), higher pH, viscosity, and L* values and lower TA, a*, and b* values (p < 0.05). Samples formulated with liquors increased the relaxation exponent derived from G’ values having a greater paste formation when compared to vinegar-based hot sauces. The sensory evaluation was carried out in Honduras. The liquor-based hot sauces had a significant (p < 0.05) impact on emotion and wellness terms. Bourbon and tequila samples had higher ratings than control samples in several wellness and emotion responses (active, energetic, enthusiastic, good, curious, pleased, stimulated, and wild). Adventurous, joyful, free, worried, refreshed, and healthy scores were not significantly (p > 0.05) different among treatments.

Keywords: chili sauce; emotions; novel liquor; pepper; purchase intent.

Grants and funding

The work was mainly funded by NCSU faculty start-up funds (MM 411050-02834). This study was supported by Swamp Dragon Company, the Department of Food Bioprocessing and Nutrition Sciences, Plants for Human Health Institute at North Carolina State University, and the School of Nutrition and Food Science at Louisiana State University. In addition, this work was also supported by the Open Access Publishing Fund of the National University of Agriculture (Universidad Nacional de Agricultura) (Honduras).