Be careful when you ask for heat!

The past few weeks have been cold and snowy in most of upstate New York. I always say snow is good for business. When it gets cold outside, my inbox starts filling up with vacation request to warm destinations. The cold days seem a little better when you have a vacation to countdown to.
Wishing for some heat, makes me think about a trip I took with my brother and friend Mike a few years ago. It was a snowy late January trip, and we were beyond happy to leave the cold of Buffalo, NY and head to the island of Grenada. We had a layover in Trinidad and Tobago along the way with a few hours to kill at the airport. We did what many tourists on vacation do… headed to the airport bar for a drink. We were greeted by several friendly locals. You could tell the bartenders enjoyed their job.
There were some Canadians that were on the same plane as us (we flew from Toronto). After sitting at the bar talking with our new Canadian friends about how cold it was back home, a bartender who overheard our discussion said, “I have something that will warm you up if you want to try it”. He then presented a bottle of hot sauce called Trinidad Scorpion Pepper Sauce. The friendly bartender said it's a must try for any visitor seeking an authentic taste of the Caribbean. I said, “We are from Buffalo, we are used to hot sauce." Jonathan, one of the Canadians, said “whoever drinks a ½ shot of it, I'll buy their next drink.” In hindsight, the drinks weren't that expensive, but for some reason all three of us, and 2 of the Canadians traveling with Jonathan accepted the challenge.
The bartender rang a bell and served up 5 half-full shot glasses of Scorpion Sauce. He yelled out, "Scorpion Sauce tasting here we go." Now there is a small crowd of bartenders and curious tourist watching over us. The countdown begins, 3….2…..1….., bottoms up. Unaware of the imminent adventure that awaited us, we each chugged our hot sauce to the cheers of the crowd.
It was hot, oh man it was hot. It wasn't hot chicken wings hot; it was my mouth feels like a dragon hot. I looked over at my brother and his face was bright red. Luckily the bartender had brought us water with our shot. We all began chugging the water. It didn't even help. Somehow the water seemed to make it hotter! I grabbed a sugar packet off the table and dumped in my mouth to no avail. I looked over at Mike and watched him squeeze a ketchup packet in his mouth. All five us were panting like dogs and laughing at each other. Realizing that we needed something stronger to cool our burning taste buds, the bartender brought us coconut milk, which he said is known for its soothing properties against spicy foods. As we sipped on the coconut milk, with tears streaming down our faces, the locals and other tourist couldn't help but laugh, finding our reaction to the innocent-looking pepper sauce highly amusing. We laughed about our experience as we drank our ice-cold beer from Jonathan the Canadian.
From that day forward "Trinidad Scorpion" has been a running joke among us. We even bought a few bottles to take home as souvenirs, vowing to use it sparingly and with caution! The rest of the trip was awesome. Grenada is known as the spice island, but no spices at the resort topped the heat from the airport. The spicy tale is one we will never forget, and each time it snows in Buffalo someone text a picture saying “looking to warm up?” The answer is always sunshine yes, Trinidad Scorpion no.