Pass the Tabasco, please...
Tabasco Bamboo Oyster Tray
One Saturday while Alexa's childhood girlfriend Heather was visiting from Florida we decided to take off for Avery Island to see the Tabasco factory. Located 140 miles west of New Orleans but only about 103 miles from us. We had a great time learning about the iconic hot sauce but I was able to get a bright bamboo tray to add some color and nostalgia to the bar.
Tabasco Bloody Mary Pitcher from local antique shop
A collection of antique bottles used at Tabasco inspired me to...
group my own collection on the bar.
A Little History Lesson...from Tabasco.com
The Birth of a Pepper Sauce...
The diet of the Reconstruction South was bland and monotonous, especially by Louisiana standards. So Edmund McIlhenny decided to create a pepper sauce to give the food some spice and flavor — some excitement. Selecting and crushing the reddest peppers from his plants, he mixed them with Avery Island salt and aged this “mash” for 30 days in crockery jars and barrels. McIlhenny then blended the mash with French white wine vinegar and aged the mixture for at least another 30 days. After straining it, he transferred the sauce to small cologne-type bottles with sprinkler fitments, which he then corked and sealed in green wax. (The sprinkler fitment was important because his pepper sauce was concentrated and best used when sprinkled, not poured.)
“That Famous Sauce Mr. McIlhenny Makes”
“That Famous Sauce Mr. McIlhenny Makes” proved so popular with family and friends that McIlhenny, previously a banker, decided to embark on a new business venture by marketing his pepper sauce. He grew his first commercial pepper crop in 1868. The next year, he sent out 658 bottles of sauce at one dollar apiece wholesale to grocers around the Gulf Coast, particularly in New Orleans. He labeled it “Tabasco,” a word of Mexican Indian origin believed to mean “place where the soil is humid” or “place of the coral or oyster shell.” McIlhenny secured a patent in 1870, and TABASCO® Sauce began its journey to set the culinary world on fire. Sales grew, and by the late 1870s he sold his sauce throughout the U.S. and even in England.
Still Made the Same Way
Over 140 years later, TABASCO® Sauce is made much the same way except now the aging process for the mash is longer – up to three years in white oak barrels and the vinegar is high quality distilled vinegar. Labeled in 22 languages and dialects, sold in over 160 countries and territories, added to soldiers’ rations, and put on restaurant tables around the globe, it is the most famous, most preferred pepper sauce in the world.
Five Generations Later
TABASCO® Sauce is still made on Avery Island, Louisiana, to this day. In fact, about half of the company’s 200 employees actually live on Avery Island, with many of their parents and grandparents having worked and lived there as well. Paul McIlhenny, the current president, is the sixth McIlhenny in a chain of direct descendants who has strived to preserve the legacy and traditions of the company’s creator.