Last spring, while we were testing recipes for Saveur's April 2013 New Orleans feature, I became acquainted with a wide variety of hot sauces. Only one is still on my shelf at home: Leah's Pralines Louisiana hot sauce. Leah's Pralines operates out of a shop in the French Quarter of New Orleans, selling the family's pralines, chocolates, Creole seasonings, and sauces. Made using all-natural ingredients, its subtle sweetness is not masked by the heat of the cayenne peppers, and unlike other hot sauces, the pepper flavor doesn't taste in the least bit watered down. I continue to use it for almost everything: Adding a dash to my scrambled eggs, a few drops on a raw or fried oyster, a shake or ten on ramen—I even splash it into bird seed to keep away the squirrels.
Leah's Louisiana Hot Sauce, $4.95 for a 5-ounce bottle at leahspralines.com