Feeling hot, hot, hot! Brooklyn is burning up with fiery food events

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The temperature may be freezing, but Brooklyn is heating up!

On Feb. 24 and 25, two bar-based events in the borough will celebrate fiery foodstuffs — first a Bloody Mary making competition in Bedford–Stuyvesant, followed by a talk on the history of hot sauce in Gowanus.

So if you can you stand the heat, get out of the kitchen and fire up your taste buds.

Bloody Monday

Brooklyn bartenders, get ready to sweat!

As part of the 2014 New York City Hot Sauce Expo, which is taking place in Manhattan on March 29 and 30, each borough is hosting its own heat of the expo’s annual “Bloody Mary Mix-Off.”

The Brooklyn throw-down will take place at bar and barbecue joint Beast of Bourbon on Feb, 24, where 22 local bartenders will compete to represent the Borough of Kings.

Each competitor will have just 90 seconds to serve up their best rendition of everyone’s favorite hangover drink, said the expo’s co-owner Lisa Seabury.

A panel of expert judges will then grade the drinks on presentation, taste, and creativity in a blind taste test.

And spectators won’t go wanting, either — those who turn up to cheer for their favorite Mary mixologist will be rewarded with free samples. The host bar will also offer some spicy specials, including a molasses and jalapeno-infused pork belly sandwich, to go along with the mix-off, said pit master Frank Davis.

The top three bartenders will go on to the final, so Monday’s competition will truly determine the best Bloody Marys in Brooklyn, Seabury said.

“We want to see who reps the borough the best,” she said.

“Bloody Mary Mix-Off” at Beast of Bourbon [708 Myrtle Ave. between Spencer and Walworth streets in Bedford-Stuyvesant. (347) 789–9901.]. Feb. 24 at 7:30 pm, Free entry.

Spice School

Are your ears burning?

Heat-seekers can get schooled on all things picante when foodie educators Masters of Social Gastronomy host a talk at Littlefield on the history of heat.

At “Burnin’ Down The Mouth” Brooklyn Brainery co-founder Jonathan Soma and “historic gastronomist” Sarah Lohman will take spice fanatics back into culinary history to explain how spicy flavors melted eaters’ hearts in the 1600s.

The discussion will also explore the explosive popularity of Sriracha — the Eastern-inspired chili sauce that is really “as American as apple pie,” as Soma puts it.

Sriracha production has cooled since a a high-profile heated legal battle began between the owner and the California town it is manufactured in, and Lohman will give a brief rundown on the issue, too.

But despite the ongoing litigation, she said Sriracha isn’t going anywhere.

“It’s not a fad,” she said. “Like black pepper, I think it’s going to be a part of the American pantry for a long time.”

“Burnin’ Down The Mouth: Sriracha, Ghost Peppers, and History of Heat” at Littlefield [622 Degraw St. between Third and Fourth avenues in Gowanus, (718) 855–3388,]. Feb, 25 at 8 pm. Free, RSVP at

Reach reporter Max Jaeger at or by calling (718) 260-8303. Follow him on Twitter @MJaeger88.
Updated 11:48 am, January 16, 2019
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