Pepper Sherry

This pepper sherry is a popular Caribbean condiment made, with hardly any effort, from hot chile peppers and sherry or rum. Drizzle or splash it over eggs, rice, beans, stew, tacos, and more for unexpected intrigue.

Four bottles of pepper sherry.

Plop some hot peppers in a bottle of booze and set it aside for as long as you can resist. What could be easier? Or more versatile! We’re dribbling this over and into beans and rice, stews and soups, fish tacos. Just don’t take a swig of it. And, as author Virginia Burke recommends (because we know you’ll be tempted), “If you succumb to temptation and eat the pepper, you can always add another one to the sherry later.”–Renee Schettler

Pepper Sherry

  • Quick Glance
  • (2)
  • 5 M
  • 5 M
  • Makes 50 (1-tbsp) servings
5/5 - 2 reviews
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Remove the stems from the peppers and halve them or prick them with a fork or skewer. 

Soak the peppers in favorite sherry or rum for a few days. You can do this in a mason jar or, if the peppers are slender enough, you can simply slide them into the bottle of booze. Keep in a sealed bottle in the fridge for up to six months.

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Recipe Testers Reviews

Think of all the wonderful things you can do with and to this! First of all, you can change the subtle taste of “hot” by choosing different peppers with which to experiment. I used yellow chile peppers for one batch and California serrano peppers for another batch. I elected to try the recipe using the rum instead of the sherry. And now I’m waiting to let each batch sit a while, so that they really rock and roll. They’re both fairly tame right now, but good. I plan to use one or the other in black beans with rice.

It is an old tradition around here—meaning New Orleans—to have a bottle of hot peppers in vinegar or other “spirit” on the table next to the S&P and the Louisiana Gold Hot Sauce. Pepper “Sherry” how do we love thee—let us count the ways! Grillades and grits? Check. Bloody Mary? Check. Beans and rice? Check. Fried chicken? Check. Buffalo wings? Check. Yep! And best of all—slice a pepper and plaster it in between layers of a great muffaletta! OH YES!


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  1. I was first introduced to sherry peppers or pepper sherry, whichever you prefer, over 40 years ago when I met my prospective in-laws. I was given a bowl of split pea soup and a strangely shaped vial (vile?) of a dark liquid filled with peppers. Afraid to offend them, I put a tiny drop in my soup, then another, then another- I was hooked, and needed the recipe. According to my island husband, take some bird peppers HOW MANY??? and cook them HOW LONG? in some vinegar HOW MUCH? WHAT KIND? Then put them in a jar WHAT SIZE? and then pour in cooking sherry HOW MUCH??? Still confused, I turned to a Bermudian cookbook. Even more vague. Bottom line? As this recipe states, take some peppers and let them soak in rum or sherry, or even cooking sherry depending on your budget or fear of the unknown. Put them away for a bit, then have a small taste. Hot and mellow at the same time? Ready to go in split pea soup, bloody marys, fish chowder, collard greens, BBQ sauce, basically anything that needs a little kick.

  2. Living just outside of St. Augustine, FL, I can tell you the Datil pepper is just an outstanding pepper. I don’t even try to duplicate Outerbridge’s pepper sauce, but trying to get close has been a wonderful trip. Pepper sauce on greens, a must. Enjoy.

    1. Hi Tia,

      They are wonderful! In Bermuda, we call them sherry peppers and use them in everything from traditional Bermuda fish chowder (along with a splash of black rum!) to split pea soup. They just add that yummy kick.

  3. I have a question. I threw a bunch of hot peppers into the freezer and would love to now throw them in a bottle of sherry. I figure that due to the freezing they would probably break down if I left them in too long but I wonder if I strain them out after a week would I be ok? Just long enough to infuse but not too long?

    1. My hunch is that the flavor would be slightly waterlogged, Joanne, just like the peppers. We keep a stash of aji amarillo peppers in our freezer–they’re from Peru and the only way you can buy them is frozen–and as you guessed they collapse into mush as soon as they’re thawed. So we puree them with vinegar and garlic and a mild olive oil into a hot sauce. You may want to consider doing that with your frozen peppers and saving the pepper sherry for fresh peppers, Joanne.

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