That was the slogan when we first invented this colorful and colorfully delicious HOT SAUCE back in 1995 at the original New World Home Cooking Company on Zena road in Woodstock NY. Watch this video and get trippy!
Before I moved top Woodstock I cooked in Cambridge, MA and managed Sugar Reef in the East Village of NY, all while guitaring and singing and fronting the underground funk band Skin. In the late '80s, the Cambridge food scene was exploding with fiery, Caribbean and Thai influenced foods. Chris Scheslinger's East Coast Grill and Johnny Levins at Greene Street Grill (originally Charlie's tap) were both in my neighborhood. I cooked at the finer dining Harvest, but knew both of these guys as well as many of their cooks both from cooking together is various places but also from he music scene. Most of the staff of these hot food joints were fans of my band and many played in bands themselves. The music and food scene were tightly woven together in Boston.
Of all the dishes that blew me away back then there was Johnny Levin;'s "Five Island Shrimp" This was simple shrimp sauteed in butter and garlic, finished with a healthy dash of FIVE DIFFERENT HOT SAUCES form 5 different islands. Yeaq, i liked Sriracha, but the one hot sauce in that dish that I really fell in love with was Matouks. Matouks is the prototype West Indian sauce, intense scotch bonnet flavor, thickened with papaya, deep, lasting goodness. When I opened New World Home Cooking in 1993, i was determined to find that flavor profile.
Check out the New World Home Cooking Promo Video from 1995 habanero sauce sriracha
In 1993 we opened New World Home Cooking in Woodstock and decided to try to create my own rendition of a killer Caribbean hot shrimp dish. Mine dish was called Scotch Bonnet and ginger Beer Shrimp. Big gulf shrimp cooked in butter, finished with a spoon of minced Scotch Bonnet peppers, red onion, mango and a hit of ginger beer for sweetness. It was DELISH but it was way tp fiery for many guests. After a few requests for "Heat Indictors" on specific dishes on my menu, I came up with "The Ric-Ter Scale. My menu dishes were rated from #1 - #10 with ten being the hottest.
The 90's Hudson Valley underground of musicians, artists and cultural creatives all loved the intense flavor and heat of this dish and the wittiness of the Ric-ter Scale. Matt Henderson, writer for guitar player magazine, while in Woodstock doing a piece on my pal Dr. Know of the Bad Brains was the inspiration for turning the dish purple! One week night her was in early and ordered the Scotch Bonnet and Ginger Beer shrimp, but requested that I amp up the heat level to #15! he consumed it all and sat on the wooden banquette glowing. "Ya got me trippin'" He declared! Then he came into the kitchen and began air-guitaring Purple Haze by Hendrix. Our brains were set on fire! I had to make the sauce purple and I had to call it Purple Haze
The tests batches began in 1994. I tried Beets ( nasty, tasted like dirt)
Berries ( lame, no sweetness and too much acidity) and then I finally remembered how red cabbage stained every pot I had purple. And there is is, the Legend of Purple Haze!
In 1995 I teamed up with John Vargo, chef and maker of Mountainman Hot Sauce to launch Purple Haze. It really took off, and it was stocked on shelves up and down the Eastern Seaboard. By 1997 it was steadily bringing in sales, but we chose to expand our restaurant from a 50 seat farm house to a 240 seat barn on Rt 212 in Saugerties. We began catering and doing triple the business. I was buried. Then 1n 1998 John informed me that our co-packer was going out of business. We decided to shut down the bottling and only sell Purple Haze in house at the restaurants.
There are still plenty of collectors with the original bottle!
Fast Forward to 2020. The original New World Home Cooking as been closed since April of 2018.
My partners at New World Bistro Bar and I have decided that Covid was too big for the both of us, so I left in June.
After a month at home in lockdown, the wheels started rolling. I launched the Ric-Ter Scale Brand mid summer 2020 and began Flavor Maker Spices, a cottage style packing situation. My fall, that was growing faster than I could handle from home, so I contracted with a copacker to get the spices produced on a larger scale. Then in December 2020, after literally hundreds of requests on social media, I decided it was time to get PURPLE HAZE back in bottles. I contracted with my pals Reuben and Jude of Vital Eats in Albany to co-pack the legendary Purple Haze! It is now on the market in stores and online.
COMING SOON- PURPLE HAZE DOUBLE DOSE- TWICE AS INTENSE A TRIP