Lawless Distilling Bartender Named “Most Imaginative”

Brandon Sass won the 12th Annual Most Imaginative Bartender regional competition

How do you feel about a cheeseburger cocktail? The judges at the Bombay Sapphire Most Imaginative Bartender competition apparently felt really good about it, as Brandon Sass’s cheeseburger-inspired gin drink just landed him a trip to England to compete for a North American title.

His drink is really a riff on the classic Ramos Gin Fizz: creamy, sparkly, rich. He uses a packet of mayo, along with a honey mustard syrup. And “cheeseburger”-washed Bombay Sapphire Gin? Really? 

We’ve never won the finals, but Nathaniel Smith from Spoon & Stable made it to the championships in 2015 and 2016. Other finalists have included Tyler Kleinow, Rob Jones, Jesse Held, Chad Larson, and Andy Truskolaski. Big hitters. The bartenders have to win a Twin Cities competition to advance to the regional, and then the top two bartenders at that regional advance to the North American finals. Sass had to knock off finalists from Chicago, Detroit, Columbus, and Omaha to advance.

“The MIB competition consistently pushes the industry to showcase new levels of imagination, and it’s an honor to be named a finalist knowing the caliber of talent that has come out of the MIB program throughout the past 12 years,” says Sass. “It’s thrilling to be able to compete alongside so many creative bartenders in the region and I look forward to representing Minneapolis at the finale in London.”

Not sure if you’re going to make this at home—but maybe Brandon will make you one over at Lawless’s excellent cocktail room.

2 oz. “Cheeseburger”-Washed Bombay Sapphire Gin
1 packet Hellman’s Mayo
1/2 oz. Cream
1/4 oz. Lemon
1/4 oz. Lime
1 1/2 oz. Honey Mustard Syrup
2 dash Bittercube Blackstrap Bitters
2 oz. Seltzer

Inspiration: “I love the tradition of the American Cheeseburger. The historical dance from soda fountain at the pharmacy, through Prohibition, into the classic diner, the drive-in, all the way to the modern fast food joint. Alcohol has obviously since left the quintessential burger restaurant, but it should make a comeback in this variation on the classic Ramos Gin Fizz. This cocktail seemed to have existed alongside the American diner culture, sometimes mingling together, in the case of the Buena Vista in San Francisco. I’ve incorporated all the flavors of the classic American cheeseburger into this truly American cocktail.”