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McConnell's x Red Clay: The Inside Scoop

McConnell's x Red Clay: The Inside Scoop

Hot Buttered Rum is a classic cocktail perfect for a crisp fall evening. McC's take, in ice cream form of course, features delicious warming spices (think cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves) mixed into Central Coast milk & cream, spiked with rum, and set off with even more heat via Hot-Hot Honey sourced from our friends at Red Clay Hot Sauce. It's sweet, rich, and has a little seasonal kick to boot.

We spoke with Red Clay founders Chef Geoff Rhyne and Molly Fienning about all things spice and ice cream, plus what makes their hot sauces and hot honey the best we've ever tasted.

Tell us the story behind Red Clay.

Geoff: Red Clay was born in the kitchens of high end restaurants in Charleston where I was a chef. This is where I met my Co-Founder, Molly. She was dining in my restaurant one day and had naturally ordered the oysters -- normally steering clear from hot sauces, Molly tried this one since I made it in house and that was the official beginning to our partnership. However, the story is deeper than that and goes back to my youth of being in south Georgia with my grandparents traveling around the red clay roads to my great grandparents farm (1300 acres) as well as numerous other farms throughout the area. When I hear Red Clay, it speaks to a formidable time in my life where I was developing incredible relationships with my family, the land, and the food and products that come from it. Red Clay speaks to community and tradition the way that foods do across the world and around the table.

What makes Red Clay products and specifically Hot Hot Honey unique?

Geoff: I have worked in some incredible kitchens across the country, and I have developed a pretty discerning palate and a focus on techniques and ingredients. We use incredible products, from our vinegars to our peppers to our honey, and then we handle them with such care to let them shine. The honey itself is beautiful domestic wildflower honey that is just delicious. To that, we complement it with some acidity from apple cider vinegar for balance and then add in the heat element. The result is pretty spectacular.

Besides ice cream, what else goes great with Hot Hot Honey?

Geoff: I feel like this should be phrased from the opposite perspective because it's amazing on just about everything. Breakfast foods like biscuits, waffles, and yogurt, fresh fruit, as a glaze for vegetables or proteins, in a salad dressing, or in a cocktail. My absolute favorite is a fried chicken biscuit with our hot-hot honey. *Eye rollingly good*!

Are you an ice cream lover? Any stories?

Geoff: I honestly don't know that I associate with non ice cream lovers--it's sort of a lifestyle. In all seriousness, I remember as a kid we would make homemade ice cream where we would make vanilla or peach ice cream in the churner that was surrounded by ice and rock salt. Just an unbelievable treat.

If you had to choose just once, which Red Clay product is your favorite and why?

Molly: We go through bottles of Verde Hot Sauce the most frequently in our household, and I love it because it's fresh, herbaceous and the best green hot sauce on the market. It's fresh salsa verde in a bottle with serranos, vidalia onion, fennel and cilantro. That said, my first Red Cay love is our OG Hot sauce on local oysters, so it's hard to say no to our Original Hot Sauce.

Any words of wisdom to spice skeptics?

Molly: Red Clay's mission is to bring a balance of elevated flavors in all we make -- sweet meets spicy meets salt, acid & umami. In addition, we want you to taste your food, so we don't make anything too hot that it could burn your palate. Our Original Hot Sauce is amazing and quite mild. If you're a spice skeptic, Red Clay's Original Hot Sauce will be your jam.

What makes this collaboration so special?

Molly: One of our wonderful Red Clay crew members, Maithili Chotalia, is LA-based, and McConnell's is her favorite ice cream of all time. When our brands met at Expo West (a trade show), she would not NOT let us partner somehow. I love how our brands are aligned on crafting mouth-watering products with the highest-quality ingredients we can source in a playful way, and this West Coast meets South ice cream blend is no exception.

Hot Hot Honey and ice cream. Seems weird but it’s delicious. Any thoughts on that?

Molly: Life is most beautiful when it's unexpected. Try the ice cream.

Haven’t tried Red Clay Hot Honey Buttered Rum yet? Try it now at our California scoop shop locations or order online HERE.

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