There are plenty of clichés that can be spoken when talking about chillies and hot sauce and those people who do like it hot, because let’s face it, some do.

But when it comes to crafting cocktails that can take some heat while delivering a balanced flavour profile, it takes some skill.

One of the key things to bear in mind is that you should build up the heat in your drinks in the same way you would when cooking.

One brand that offers a great way to add heat and balance into your cocktails is TABASCO®. The hot sauce brand is linked to the liquor industry as it is aged in bourbon barrels.

TABASCO® is a great way to add some heat and flavour into your cocktails according to Simon Hopkins, Bar Manager at Nola Smokehouse and Bar Barangaroo. “TABASCO® Pepper Sauce is peppers (capsicum) vinegar and salt, so really, it’s not that different to a shrub,” he says.

“Now with all the different flavours, you can pick and choose what you want to add. For example I love the Chipotle in a Bloody Mary and the Habanero in a chilli Margarita.”

Hopkins says rum and tequila both work well with the hot sauce range along with bourbon due to the manner in which Tabasco is made.

In terms of identifying complementary flavours, Hopkins says fresh lime and chocolate work well. “I tend to look at how it’s used in cooking and see what similar ingredients are in cocktails,” he says.

“The great thing is there are eight different varieties of TABASCO® Sauce, so you can play around with the flavours. The Habanero is great for heat and the Chipotle is great for a smokey or savoury aspect.

Hopkins says it’s important to speak to your customers about how much heat they like.

“I love the little kick it can give a cocktail and I usually have a chat with the customer about how much heat they are comfortable with. It also gives me a chance to talk to them about the production process of the sauce so they understand it better.”

To help get some heat into your creative juices Hopkins has come up with two cocktail recipes using TABASCO® – the Chilli Chocolate Old Fashioned and a Spicy Margarita with Tabasco