You’ve probably heard the saying you can never have too much of a good thing, but in the case of hot sauce you may just want to come to the table prepared. Hot sauce is a great solution to spicing up bland food, or to give it an extra kick, but sometimes you’ll find you’ve hit your limit, at least for the time being. When your mouth feels like its on fire and you just can’t douse the flames, you’ll want to be ready.
Unfortunately, while a big glass of water sounds like a good idea, it’s not always your best bet. That icy cup of water may make sense to your brain, but it won’t help when it comes to quenching your taste buds. That’s because capsaicin, the spicy hot part of a pepper, repels water. You may feel some temporary relief when the cold water hits your mouth, but the fiery sensation is coming back, and possibly even worse as it spreads throughout your mouth. Soda and beer react similarly for the same reason. Because coffee is hot already, it’s even worse for tempering the flames.
Instead, go for something cold, namely a big glass of whole milk. Many people suggest milk because it can actually help neutralize capsaicin. If for any reason you don’t have milk handy, reach for other high fat dairy products such as yogurt, cheese, ice cream or sour cream. Another possible solution is to try eating bread, potatoes, rice or any other starchy food. They won’t dissolve the capsaicin, but they’ll help soak up some of the burn. You can also try offsetting the burn with a banana, avocado, or try coating your tongue with honey. If all else fails, try drinking some sugar water. You may get enough relief that you’ll forget all about the burn the next time a hot sauce craving strikes.