Mix the cornmeal, flour, salt, baking powder, and baking soda in a large mixing bowl. Add the cheese, onions, jalapeŇos, and hot sauce and mix well. Add the eggs, buttermilk, and 1/2 cup water. Mix well.
Pour enough oil to come halfway up the sides of a large heavy pot or electric deep fryer and heat over high heat to 360?F. In batches, without crowding, drop tablespoons of the batter into the hot oil. Deep-fry on all sides until the hush puppies rise to the surface and are golden brown, 2 to 3 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer to paper towels to drain.
Sprinkle with the Essence if you wish, and serve hot.
Yield: 18 hush puppies