Grinders Death Nectar Review

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Let me just start by saying this: I read a little note that the cooks who make Grinders Death Nectar wear hazmat suits. I think that’s a good enough indicator of what to expect here. It’s terrifyingly hot — so hot it made me curse many obscenities after trying it. But is it so hot that it’s all you taste? Is there more to Grinders Death Nectar than total hellish burn? And can you even use this sauce outside a dare? Let’s dig into it all.


Let’s begin with the ingredients list (and it contains some surprises): Pineapple juice concentrate, habanero mash, capsicum, tomato paste, mango purée concentrate, tamarind concentrate, spices (sugar, salt, garlic, onion, brown sugar), squid ink, espresso coffee grounds, caramel color, chipotle purée, lime juice concentrate, garlic powder, ghost chili powder, lemon juice concentrate, potassium sorbate, and potassium benzoate. It also contains shellfish.

Alrighty then. As you can see there’s a crap ton of ingredients here. It’s like the kitchen sink — everything from citrus to espresso grounds to squid ink. But don’t be fooled, you don’t taste any initially. Even the pineapple juice concentrate (sitting atop the list) is not here to start.

Honestly, it’s pure heat shock to start. And that’s no surprise seeing habanero mash and straight up capsicum extract hit in the second and third position. More on that below.

So, how to safely get to the flavor? Use a base. Even then, you have to be a hot sauce daredevil to get close enough to this sauce to taste some of its flavors. When I mixed Grinders Death Nectar into a bit of chili (a toothpick amount) I could get a touch of the citrus here. Most will only get the extreme heat, so a lot of the ingredients on the list aren’t part of the immediate flavor profile.

Grinders Death Nectar on a spoon

Heat Balance

Know now: If you think jalapeño peppers are hot then don’t even go near this sauce. The mix of habanero extract, capsicum, chipotle pepper purée, and ghost pepper powder is fierce.

Grinders (the maker of this hellish sauce) calls it an inferno-like heat. But I don’t think that is a good enough descriptor It doesn’t capture how terrifying the heat really is. Seriously. There is a reason that it won a Scovie award — its heat level is from another planet, 337,000 Scoville heat units (SHU). Compare that to a jalapeño pepper (2,500 to 8,000 SHU) and it’s not even close. Really, it sits at the top of the range of a fresh habanero pepper (100,000 to 350,000 SHU) and that’s a culinary space for true heat enthusiasts alone.

It’s hard to call a sauce this hot balanced, but it is because the heat here is the point. Grinders Death Nectar makes no claims otherwise, from the name to the marketing. That said, I do wish some ingredients in the sauce punched a bit harder. I wonder what a sauce with both citrus and espresso powder would really taste like.

As to eating something this hot: The spiciness hits you right away, moving to the back of your throat where it’ll stay. Your mouth and your lips will be burning for at least 20 to 30 minutes after trying Grinders Death Nectar. This heat builds, but I don’t know how you could take multiple bites of this and not want to crawl up into a ball in the corner.


The good news on usability — a bottle of Grinders Death Nectar will last you a long, long time. A toothpick’s worth goes far.

No surprise here — this is an exceptional sauce for when you’re going for HOLY HELL HOT! For most everyone, it needs a base if you don’t want your face to melt off. Mix it into barbecue sauces, chilies, condiments, and salsas to amp things up.

I am not talking about a teaspoonful here, I am talking about a toothpick amount. Make sure that you use this with caution and start small. I loved adding this to a large bottle of barbecue sauce that I thought was a little too sweet and needed a bit more of a kick, of course death nectar gave me just that, with a tiny toothpick amount.


The bleeding skull on the front of the label is a great metaphor for how your face feels after you take one tiny bite of this. The bottle has that “medicinal” shape that adds to the allure on the shelf. It’s spot-on packaging. Even in a world of extreme hot sauces that lean into skulls and bold graphics, this one catches the eye. The design is really quality.

The Grinders Death Nectar description on its website reads: NOTE: This sauce is so f’ng hot it will blow your mind & burn off a few taste buds. Not intended for children under 18 or cry-babies of any age. Again spot on. The fact that the sauce lives up to this branding seals the deal. It walks the talk and that adds up to a ton of collectibility.

The Score

Grinders Death Nectar is a quality hot sauce for the true extreme eaters out there. It’s big time heat at 337,000 Scoville heat units. Flavor-wise, there’s a hint of citrus behind the heat, but truly the spiciness is the star. Use with caution.

Overall Flavor3
Heat Balance4
Based on a scale from 1 (lowest) to 5 (highest)

UPDATE NOTICE: This post was updated on May 9, 2021 to include new content.
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I had this at a Grinders restaurant years ago. I was a fan of heat and didn’t know what I was getting into, so when I ordered it, the bartender gave me a sample first, and left me alone to try it. She came back and informed me that the kitchen staff sent their compliments on me taking it like a man, and I said “thank you” and changed my order to something a little less absurd. There’s hot, and then there’s Thai hot, and way past that, there’s this stuff.