BOSTON (CBS) – Phantom recently purchased four jars of cocktail sauce at a local supermarket. The zesty contenders were Bookbinder’s, Crosse and Blackwell, Heinz, and McCormick. See if you can guess which classy condiment ended up at the top of the food chain.

Bookbinder’s cocktail sauce finished in last place. Phantom was encouraged by all the visible pieces of horseradish in this plump little jar, but as soon as he took a taste, he was discouraged by a terribly overpowering punch of vinegar. Tasting this stuff straight was a painful experience,  though dipping some shrimp did little to help the cause.

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A huge step up from there is Heinz. Not surprisingly, this dark red sauce tastes a lot like ketchup, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. With a decent amount of heat, and a pleasantly thick consistency, Heinz is perfectly adequate for the masses. But Phantom’s advanced palate was looking for a bit more acidity to brighten up the eating experience.

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(Image Credit: Phantom Gourmet)

(Image Credit: Phantom Gourmet)

The runner up is McCormick. This bottle’s wide mouth opening allows the sauce to come streaming out.  While this stuff is a bit thin, McCormick is the only competitor to list lemon in its ingredients, imparting a fresh taste the others struggled to achieve. Unfortunately, this recipe goes too light on the spice, which in the end, resulted in some weak sauce.

At the top of the food chain is Crosse and Blackwell. With is classy looking label, British lineage, and 300-year history, this brand has a lot to live up to. And it most definitely delivers, with a thick red sauce that achieves the perfect balance of sweet and heat, with an added depth of flavor thanks to the addition of Worcestershire in the recipe. This is a cocktail sauce worthy of even the most jumbo shrimp, which is why Crosse and Blackwell is at the top of the food chain.

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