Super-condiment? Mad Hatter heats, spices, and marinates

The creators of Mad Hatter didn't set out to invent a super-condiment, but they did see a void in the ever-changing hot sauce market.

As Nathan West tells it, his partner, Cailen von Briesen, a New Mexico native, was accustomed to eating habañero chilis– one of the hottest peppers around– for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Dissatisfied with the predominant dehydrated-ingredients-and- vinegar hot sauces on the market, the two began playfully experimenting six or seven years ago, and came up with a habañero and pineapple combination.

"It's a non-abrasive heat with a twist of sweet," says West, who as a musician took it with him on the road. "It made sh*tty food really taste good."

West says it also worked as a marinade, dip, and spread. Word of mouth spread, so to speak, and three years ago, the hobby became a business with a contest to design the Mad Hatter logo.

Inadvertently, the brand could tout being a vegan as well as gluten-free and dairy-free product because its ingredients are (besides the habañeros and pineapple) only olive oil, garlic, onion, and spices. There are no preservatives or artificial flavorings or colorings– hence a pale demeanor and a need to refrigerate after opening.

West recounts the testimony from a diabetic man who said he couldn't eat hot sauces before Mad Hatter because of the processed sugar.

 "We are a healthy lifestyle with an edge," says West, stressing the company's community sponsorships of a men's soccer team ("undefeated"), a Mad Hatters Little League team, and the Mad Hatter main stage at the April 29 Mountain Cove Music Festival in Nelson County. Mad Hatter will have a team at an upcoming CrossFit event in May.

"It marries up with the healthy lifestyle," notes the avid sponsorshipper, who says his condiment is totally handcrafted, even down to bottling and labeling. It's available at about 15 locations around town, including Beer Run, Market Street Market, and the Organic Butcher, as well as online.

"We've shipped to Kabul and Paris," says West. "My overall goal is to carpet-bomb Charlottesville, then carpet-bomb Virginia," says West.

And then, presumably, he'll carpet-bomb the world.


Wincing once again at the Hook's unfortunate quote in an otherwise awesome article. In the same sentence you talk about bombing and list two cities that have been famously bombed to hell? Why not "We've shipped to Nagasaki, and we're going to atom bomb Charlottesville!" or "We've shipped to Japan and Thailand. We're going to be like a tsunami on the local food scene!"

When was Paris famously bombed to hell? The Franco-Prussian war?

This sauce is incredible. Not only is it great on nearly every edible substance known to man, but it has also been known to make normally inedible objects digestable. Unconfirmed reports have it that it can also cure smallpox. Sure, smallpox has been eradicated, but its nice to know if it ever came back, there's a backup plan.

I cooked Hatter on Salmon last night. Unbelievable!! By far the best, and most universal sauce I've EVER eaten. ROCK ON!!

My wife loves to switch up and make 'new recipes'. Once this Mad Hatter came into our lives it was a game changer. Every meal is so delicious. Now I know what my mother used to say is true, "If you eat this you will laugh in your sleep.". Well my dear mother must have been some kind of soothsayer predicting the birth of his Super Condiment! It's the bomb with an after burn!

My favorite use for Mad Hatter is to brush it onto unbaked pizza dough in place of olive oil. Add whatever other toppings you like, including pizza sauce. It makes a delicious pizza.

Relax casual readers out there! The use of a bomb in this respect is a zealous but metaphorical, taste bud appealing concept, not the bad news you are used to reading of the literal type! Mad Hatter is a fantastic condiment, try it mixed in with some burgers, marinating your favorite grilled items, or even on some tofu! Developed and produced locally, support your neighbors!

To Always Outreaching: Right ON ! Well said indeed. We are talking about a Supercondiment with an edge! It will soon be part of our vocabulary. ie: 'I am going to Haterize your meal!' It really is a friend of food. So glad I found it!

I use it on my salads stuff ever!

This sauce is literally the best part of any meal you add it to. I keep a bottle at work and add it to just about any lunch I have. I feel lucky to be one of the first to hear about it!

I "Hatterized" a plain chocolate cookie -- as strange as that might sound -- it was surprisingly delicious! Mad Hatter works great in/on everything I've tried so far. Since the cookie was a success, I think I'll experiment with ice cream. I must say, if there ever comes a day that "Hatterizing" my food is no longer an option, I'll have to try picket lining the food stores.

Oooops "I am going to Hatterize your meal!". Thats the correct spelling!!!

The Mad Hatter Sauce is awesome stuff. If you like unique and a well thought out condiment, Mad Hatter is for you. It is the perfect blend of special habenaros and a wonderful pineapples fixed into a delicious state of wonderful.

I was never a hot sauce fan until I tried Hatter ... and am now hooked! From pizza to chicken, salads to grilled veggies with quinoa, this will make all things, edible and non-edible, delectable!

I will never try another condiment, so long as I live and have a bottle of the super condiment by my side.

Tasteful, healthy, and good for body and soul. It's like Heaven bottled up with a slice of pineapple on the side.

That magic sauce seems to be particularly good on comment spam. As long as I live, I'll never comment spam again without it!