Golden God Hot Sauce

Our birthdays are usually witnessed by either a house party or camping. This year it was a little bit of both thanks to an opportunistic, long-ago-made reservation for a desert rental property in Joshua Tree built almost entirely out of mirrors, glass and gold bricks, called Acido Dorado.
We drove out last week, lugging the usual stockpile of iced booze, aged vinegars, citrus fruits, a 15-pound watermelon, sharpened knives, French cheese, BB gun, not one but two tortilla presses, and batches of still-proofing bread doughs. The rental contract helpfully reminds patrons to “bring your own drugs and alcohol,” so that wasn’t a problem. (Although the instructions do include a corollary rule: don’t climb the ornate gold fence proclaiming yourself a “golden god…even if you are in fact a golden god.”)
We forgot only one thing: hot sauce.
Given that our taste buds no longer register food that doesn’t contain capsicum, this was a major oversight made worse by the fact that our planned meals involved pizza and tacos, fried eggs and beans. So we did what we do and whipped up a hot sauce on the spot. Rather than just vinegar punch, we wanted something sweet: We started with freshly pulsed and strained watermelon juice, and whisked it with pure habanero powder. (Looking nearly identical to cayenne, but significantly hotter, we found habanero chili powder in the bulk section of our health food store. But cayenne will work just fine.) From there it was a quick squeeze of lime, a hearty dash of good red wine vinegar, and a quick boil with a flick of flour to give it body.

Armed with hot sauce, we blissed out the rest of the weekend… pulsed a kimche Bloody Mary to slurp while shooting cans; climbed boulders in the Joshua Tree National Monument during a surreal sunset; baked a tasting flight of insane pizzas; and shared the golden hot tub with a desert roadrunner. This sauce is sweet, zingy and hot, so you will need cold beer and a watering hole if you attempt eating it in the desert, and please remember you are no god, but mere mortal before squirting too much of this into your mouth.
Watermelon Hot Sauce
(Makes about 1/2 cup)
1/4 cup fresh watermelon juice
1/8 cup red wine vinegar (distilled white is ok)
1 Tbs. Habanero powder
1 tsp. paprika
1 tsp. flour
1 tsp. salt
half a lime
1. If you are juicing your own watermelon start by slicing off chunks, adding to a blender or food processor and blending until pureed. Then strain, to remove seeds and flesh, and repeat. This recipe calls for so little, it behooves you to either be making a pitcher of agua fresca or a shit ton of cocktails.
2. Put watermelon juice in a mixing bowl. Add to it 1 tablespoon habanero powder and paprika. Whisk well for 20 seconds, until thoroughly dissolved. Then add your vinegar, salt and lime. Whisk again.
3. Pour the mixture into a small skillet on high heat. Just before it hits a boil, add the teaspoon of flour and stir. When it boils, lower to simmer and let go for 1 minute, just enough to slightly thicken and bind. Remove from heat.
4. Once cool, refrigerate in a small squeeze bottle or eye dropper. Dose often.
Soundtrack: Talking Heads’ “Once in a Lifetime”
Beverage: Alesmith’s Decadence 2008

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2 Responses to Golden God Hot Sauce

  1. mangocheeks says:

    Wow, this sounds fantastic. I will have to make it as soon as watermelons arrive here.

  2. Jaysen says:

    I’ve made this every year for the past three years and it is usually more enticing to people than the tamales I serve them with!

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