Hot Ones Joins New Amsterdam With A Vodka To Spice Up Your Cocktails

The alcohol business seems to be going out of its way to find new and interesting drinks to bring people to its products. With the official start of summer almost here, things are heating up with a new partnership between vodka brand New Amsterdam and the hit YouTube show "Hot Ones." For those unaware, "Hot Ones" features celebrities eating progressively spicy wings while answering questions about themselves and their career. Now there is even a "Hot Ones" branded line of hot sauce that consumers can buy to experience the same levels of pain and glory at home.

I bet you can see where I am going with this: New Amsterdam and "Hot Ones" have joined to release a hot pepper-flavored vodka called Heat Check. Obviously, I knew I had to give it a go. This is not the first time I've tried hot sauce-flavored drinks. Just this year, I sampled a Truly brand hot wing sauce hard seltzer. While this works as a fun gimmick, it is not a beverage I would keep on hand. I wanted to know whether this vodka offers more versatility. I did taste the vodka on its own, but it was practically begging to be made into cocktails. So I obliged, making a classic Bloody Mary, a lemonade cocktail, and a cucumber lime cocktail, all with recipes provided by the company. Now I'm ready to answer all your burning questions about Heat Check.

What brings the heat?

Since this is a hot pepper-flavored vodka, I first and foremost wanted to find out what peppers are in it. According to the label, Heat Check contains habanero, Fresno, and serrano peppers. This provides an interesting blend of peppers that should provide a complex flavor. More importantly, it should pack a decent amount of heat. Pepper heat is judged based on the Scoville scale. The higher the number on the scale, the spicier the pepper. Fresno peppers range from 2,500-10,000 Scoville heat units; serranos range from 10,000-25,000; and habaneros hit a whopping 100,000-350,000. With this kind of range, I will be sorely disappointed if this vodka doesn't bring the heat.

Aside from the peppers, the other important factor is the vodka. If New Amsterdam is using its standard vodka as a base, that means this vodka is made from grains and distilled five times to make it smooth. But that may not be the case. Heat Check is slightly lower in alcohol than the company's standard vodka, so it is possible that New Amsterdam is using a slightly different vodka base for the flavored ones. In this particular case, however, I don't think a little extra burn will be a problem.

What sets this vodka apart?

Since we are on the subject of alcohol content, let's run through that as well. Vodka is known for being highly alcoholic, and this one is no different. Heat Check clocks in at 35% alcohol by volume, or 70 proof. While this is still relatively high, it is a solid 5% less alcoholic than the regular New Amsterdam vodka. It isn't uncommon for flavored vodkas to be slightly lower in alcohol. So this is right in line with other vodka.

Other than the alcohol content, there isn't much nutritional information about vodka. But who is drinking vodka for the health benefits anyway?

This is not the first time New Amsterdam has introduced a new flavor of vodka. The company makes a selection of flavors, including tangerine, watermelon, grapefruit, peach, pineapple, apple, raspberry, lemon, red berry, mango, coconut, and passion fruit. As you may have noticed, most of those flavors are fruits, which means the new spicy pepper flavor fits right in, as peppers are technically fruits in botanical terms. Still, there's no denying that New Amsterdam is taking a step away from the sweet to bring in the spicy.

At least it's affordable

As of June 12, 2024, this vodka will be hitting store shelves for a limited time. As an edition vodka, there is no telling how long Heat Check will be around, so if you decide you want to try it, it is best to grab a bottle when you see it. The good news is that this vodka will be available across the entire United States.

Additionally, this vodka is not expensive. A 750ml bottle of Heat Check has a manufacturer's suggested retail price of $10.99. Now, of course, the prices you find may vary. However, this will likely not be an expensive bottle on the shelves. At the time of this review, we do not know for sure whether online retailers will be selling this vodka, but it's likely, which can help those who are otherwise having difficulty finding it. New Amsterdam also has a handy dandy product locator on its website that you can use to search for retailers who sell its products.

Heat wave gives any cocktail a kick

Upon opening the bottle of Heat Check, I found that there was no peppery scent, only a general smell of alcohol. Normally, this would be boring, but for vodka, it works. I will admit, though, I was worried the flavor wouldn't come through.

I first tried the vodka straight. Although there is not much of a flavor, there is a nice burn. Luckily, though, it is the burn of hot peppers, not of cheap vodka. While you do not really taste much in the vodka itself, there is a noticeable peppery burn as it goes down the throat. I will admit to being a little disappointed that the flavor of peppers was not more prominent. Given that the company used a combination of peppers, I was hoping this vodka would provide both fruity and spicy notes.

Still, Heat Check makes a great cocktail mixer. All three cocktails I made with it were delicious, especially the cucumber lime recipe, which effectively mixed the cool and spicy flavors with the tang of citrus. Again, this vodka really adds spicy heat but not so much peppery flavor. But if you are someone who enjoys drinks with a little kick, you will probably like this product. This functionally takes the place of pepper-infused vodka, which saves you the hassle of making it yourself. If you want a quick and easy way to spice up a cocktail, this is it.


It wouldn't be fair to judge a spicy vodka based on the opinion of someone who doesn't like spicy things or vodka. Luckily, I love both. To judge this vodka, I looked at several factors. First, I assessed how the vodka tasted on its own. Vodka is often chilled, so this is how I tried it. I also tried it as part of cocktail pairings, as that seemed to be what this vodka is geared toward. I made cocktails based on the recipes included in the materials provided by the company.

I judged this vodka not against incredibly high-quality sipping vodka but as a fun flavored vodka. I was not expecting a perfectly smooth vodka, but it shouldn't taste like rubbing alcohol, either. Given the flavor, I was also looking for a decent amount of spice and peppery nuances that aren't lost when added to a cocktail. The execution of these factors is what provided me with my final verdict on Heat Check.