Is your best culinary friend a red rooster? If so, it's going to be a tough few weeks if you didn't stockpile enough Sriracha to get you through the hold on hot sauce shipments. And let's face it: December is full of events and foods that desperately need pepping up, from dried-out party hams to office potluck casseroles to morning-after eggs.

State regulators told the Huy Fong company to halt shipments due to new, stricter public health guidelines that require sauces be held for 35 days before shipping, a move that sent panic through the Sriracha-loving world last week. The distinctive red rooster bottles may turn into the Tickle Me Elmo of this holiday season. But, with a little creativity and perseverance, we know you can make it to mid-January.

1. Concoct your own. There are recipes out there that re-create virtually every good (and bad) commercial favorite out there -- including Sriracha. Author Robb Walsh includes a Homemade Sriracha Sauce recipe, in his "Hot Sauce Cookbook." Find a link to the recipe on the Eat Drink Play blog at blogs.mercurynews.com/eat-drink-play.

2. Make new friends. That eatery down the street has been buying Sriracha in bulk. You just need to get your hands on one bottle! Best way: Hang around the back door. When break time comes around, wheel and deal with the cook.

3. Embrace the ghost. Try another side of the Asian continent, India, where Bhuyt Jolokia rules the realm of heat. It's popularly known as the ghost pepper, the hottest pepper in the world. Find an Indian restaurant that dares you to finish one of their ghost pepper dishes (you could score a free cocktail or entree) or shop for a bottle of ghost pepper sauce.

4. Try Jamaican. Have you ever eaten a true Caribbean jerk chicken? Your lips and mouth are numb for hours. If that's the effect you're after, get yourself some Scotch bonnet peppers (the backbone of spicy Jamaican cuisine) or a sauce that contains Scotch bonnets. Or high-tail it to the nearest Jamaican restaurant, mon, and douse that heat with a Red Stripe.

5. Go cold turkey. Sure, hot peppers have lots of health benefits, but that spicy stuff can also tear up your tummy and redden your complexion. So take a break until the Sriracha shortage is over and you may avoid a new future addiction -- to stomach-soothing Maalox.