Like any good entrepreneur, the women behind Spcy Grls made sure to do ample research before launching their line of hot sauces in Whistler.
"We've eaten a lot of tacos and a lot of corn chips," said Amie Comerford, one half of Spcy Grls Hot Sauce alongside Kirby Emmett.
Both working at Amsterdam Pub in the village, Comerford and Emmett, a professional chef, bonded over their love of all things spicy. Before long, they were experimenting with their own batches of hot sauce, and for the past two months, they've been bottling half a dozen different flavours.
"We started cooking hot sauce and it started to be delicious and we gave it to all our friends. From there, we thought, 'Why don't we try to sell it?'" said Comerford.
Landing on the right recipes has been a process of extensive trial and error, Comerford explained, tinkering with different ingredients until they struck the right flavour profile. An admitted connoisseur of Mexican hot sauces, Comerford said she would study the ingredient list on the back of bottles for insight.
"A lot of the chillies used in Mexican hot sauces dry in the sun for weeks. We can't do that as easily here," she said. "So, with our fruit sauces for example, we'll ferment them in the fridge. They ferment for two weeks minimum and then we blend and strain. Others are fermented and everything goes right into the bottle, so it's a chunkier hot sauce.
"You just got to keep trial and error-ing until you find the right balance."
Take the Tropical Heat hot sauce, which packs a flavourful punch of spice from the habanero peppers that is balanced by the sweetness of the pineapple. In the first few batches, Comerford said the flavour profile was a bit too tart for her liking, so they added a healthy helping of roasted peppers "to make it a little bit smoother and avoid that vinegary bite."
Rounding out Spcy Grls' flavours is Muy Picante, made from searing Thai red chillies and similar to piri piri sauce, a staple of Portuguese cuisine. There's Mango Madness, a fruity sauce made from mangoes, jalapeno and Serrano chillies. Comerford compared the Sexy Margarita sauce, made with tequila, salt, lime and garlic, to a "mild salsa" that pairs well with Mexican food. Then there's Little Mama's Chipotle, a mellow play on the popular Tex-Mex flavour that Comerford called the "goes-on-everything hot sauce." Last but not least is Buckin' Chillies, perfect for Whistler's favourite boozy brunch beverage, the Ceasar, and made with horseradish Worcestershire sauce.
Currently available at Whistler Brewing Company, the 27-year-old Comerford said she would love to see Spcy Grls in other shops and restaurants around the resort. "Ideally I'd like to be a stay-at-home hot saucer," she said with a laugh. "At the moment, we're trying to get into the farmers' market, and trying to talk to a few restaurants, especially our Ceasar spice sauce since there are so many places in town that do their own Ceasars. Why can't they do a Spcy Girls Ceasar?"
Check out Spcy Grls on Instagram and Facebook to learn more.