Love Bajan-style mustard-based hot sauces? Pirate’s Lantern Pepper Sauce should be on your map of sauces to seek. But is Pirate’s Lantern an “X marks the spot” winner, or does its flavor, heat balance, and usability have it walking the plank? Arrr….only one way to find out. Let’s rip into this spicy treat and reveal the treasures it holds.
Pirate’s Lantern is a Bajan-style hot sauce, and like many sauces from Barbados, it uses a mustard base. That and the vinegar are the one/two punch (outside of water) on the ingredients list: Vinegar, water, mustard (vinegar, mustard seed, mustard bran, salt, turmeric, spices) onions, salt, hot peppers, rum, horseradish, and spices.
This is certainly a vinegar-forward sauce that carries a mild kick, but it’s that combo of tangy and hot (between the mustard and the chilies) that take center stage. Then the mix of spices (including mustard’s turmeric) layer in adding an exotic spiced twist.
That said, Pirate’s Lantern is a thin, slightly watery sauce, which tames down the mustard bite and allows those flavors of onions, hot peppers, rum, and horseradish to really shine through.
And let’s talk about that rum. It’s really the key differentiator here. The addition of rum brings a delicious sweet side to Pirate’s Lantern. It fits with the entire Barbadian sub-tropical style — a total talking point when pulling out this hot sauce at the dinner table.
This also carries a decent salt kick at 45 mg per teaspoon, 2% of your daily allowance. That’s a decent amount, but it works. It’s not overpowering and frankly acts as a well-balanced common flavor undertone to some pretty distinct flavors.
Pirate’s Lantern Pepper Sauce lists “hot peppers” on the ingredient list, but it’s no secret that they are scotch bonnet peppers. Scotch bonnets carry a pretty heft kick — 100,000 to 350,000 Scoville heat units (SHU) — the same as its close cousin, the habanero.
But Pirate’s Lantern comes nowhere near those heights. Rather, it’s pretty mild, which should come as no surprise seeing “hot peppers” is listed in the second-half on the ingredients list (and they label this as a “pepper sauce” and not a “hot sauce”.) The scotch bonnets are well diluted. No heat range is listed for Pirate’s Lantern. But you won’t be reaching for this one for its heat as it is.
The heat balance almost works given the sauce is rather thin, but I can’t help feeling like it could be spicier. This sauce leans into flavor and it just feels like just a touch more heat would actually enhance the overall flavor profile even more. It’s a spiciness that adds nice warmth, but never reaches the back of your throat and doesn’t linger. Short of it: this is not a sauce you turn to for an even marginally spicy hot sauce experience.
Mustard-based hot sauces can be tricky to use. But where they work, they really work. And Pirate’s Lantern is no exception.
This sauce is amazing on anything that you would normally top with mustard. This sauce is amazing with sausages, pretzels, and hot dogs, sandwiches, and popcorn. Yes, I said popcorn — I’m one of those weird people that does the whole “hot sauce on popcorn” thing. It provided a delicious tangy kick to the bowl.
Note that this sauce is not as thick as mustard, so you need to be cautious when pouring it out. It can come out rather quickly. It’s easy to over-pour. So far, I’ve preferred to put this sauce on the side and dip into it rather than pour it on top of my food and risk my plate getting soggy.
For mustard lovers out there this is going to be a definite go to sauce, but even if you don’t like mustard, you don’t need to steer clear of this sauce because the vinegar profile mixed with the spices makes this a smooth ride.
I also highly recommend shaking this bottle for at least a good thirty seconds, otherwise you may just pour out a very watery yellow liquid without all the good stuff.
The color of this sauce is downright pretty, a yellow that’s almost like the light from…wait for it…a pirate’s lantern. The packaging, design, and sauce all work well together. The name is unique, though when I hear the word “pirate”, I do think something more wild. Back to that heat thing again.
Pirate’s Lantern Pepper Sauce is a tasty mustard-based, Bajan-style sauce with the unique addition of rum to the flavor list. It’s tangy, well-spiced, and a bit sweet. It’s mild — but perhaps to a fault. It feels like the heat could just be a little more to balance out the flavor. (Amazon)