Name a more iconic duo than Tabasco hot sauce and your taste buds — we’ll wait. That little red bottle has been spicing up dishes and burning tongues with a signature combo of peppers, vinegar, and salt for years — 150 years, to be exact. The first batch of Tabasco was introduced in 1868 and the Avery Island, Louisiana-based production is still going strong in 2018.
To honor this milestone birthday, the Tabasco brand and owners, the McIllhenny family, are throwing a year-long party. The anniversary celebration kicked off in New Orleans (where else?) in January 2018 and will continue across the globe for the remainder of the year. And when we say “across the globe,” we mean it — Tabasco is available in over 185 countries.
What we’re most excited about, though, is the special-edition hot sauce release: the Tabasco 150th Anniversary Diamond Reserve Red Sauce.
Tabasco’s flagship sauce (and its seven other standard variations) feature one main ingredient: tabasco peppers. These heirloom chilies — which were named for the Mexican state of Tabasco, its place of origin — start off green and slowly age to the bright red color we associate with the sauce.
The Diamond Reserve Red Sauce is like normal Tabasco sauce, except taken up to 11. This unique recipe is “made from a selection of the finest tabasco peppers on Avery Island, chosen for their superior color, texture, and robustness.” The chilies are aged, then married with the usual salt and vinegar mixture — except Diamond Reserve gets sparkling white wine vinegar instead of your standard distilled variety.
All the “finest tabasco peppers” come with a price, however. A 6-ounce bottle will cost you $35 compared to the typical $2 for a bottle of the Original Red Sauce. But it’s not every day that you get to celebrate a 150th birthday.
“My family and all of us at McIlhenny Company are truly humbled by the love we’ve seen for Tabasco Sauce that has brought us to this incredible anniversary,” Anthony A. Simmons, president and CEO of McIlhenny Company and fifth-generation McIlhenny family member, said in a press release. “I don’t know if my great-great-grandfather [Edmund McIlhenny] ever dreamed that his backyard start-up would have given rise to an entirely new food category.”
A tip of the hot sauce bottle to you, sir.