Bartender Interview: Brian Sassen of Repour Bar, Miami 

  

Repour Bar is a laid backpack retreat in the middle of South Beach. Housed inside the Albion Hotel it features comfy couches and inventive cocktails. It’s the place to be to escape to escape from the glitz of Miami sit back grab a drink and listen to the soundtrack of life whether that’s the classic hip hop streaming from the speakers or the live music. After a great experience (full review to follow) I had to interview one of bartenders who make Repour Bar what it is, Brian Sassen. 

How did you initially get involved in bartending? 
Seemingly, I always had a passion for the bar/restaurant/nightlife industry. Something about the bar, the bartenders, and the rapport between guests and bartenders, always intrigued me. I loved the social aspect, and as a 22 year old waiter, I had an opportunity to transition to the bar, and I ran with it. 

What was the idea behind the Repour Bar?
Repour is your home away from home. Isaac Grillo, the owner of this amazing establishment, comes from Colorado, and wanted that kind of feel in his bar, along with “bada–” cocktails. The goal from the outset was a chill place, with dope music and bada– drinks. Kind of like a basement you would have hung out in with friends growing up.

What is your approach when it comes to formulating cocktails?
When formulating cocktails, my approach varies a lot. But for the most part, I always want to one up myself. So, I may have a popular drink that I worked hard on. When its time to put together a new menu, I wanna blow that drink out of the water. Also, my approach varies from guest to guest. I often make drinks from scratch, that I have never made, based on what I think a particular guest will enjoy. You will often see my thinking face, when I have proper time to wow a guest.  

If you are stuck on desert island what is your drink of choice?
I’m assuming its like 100 degrees, so pina coladas please
However, if its off the coast of canada, a real nice Boulevardier with Highwest double rye, cocchi torino and gran classico bitters should do the trick. Just thinking about it makes me horny.

If you could share a drink with anyone living or dead, who would it be and why?
Dead — Jim Morrison. who the hell knows where that night would end up? anything short of the desert would be a let down. 

Alive — my amazing girlfriend, Daniela. She is more fun than anyone I know, and would keep the party going even after everyone passed out. 

What do you think is the most underrated drink?
The Singapore sling. Not nearly often called for enough. But if made properly, is wonderfully refreshing, complex, and flavorful. The best part about it is, no 2 bartenders will make it the same. 

What drinking/cocktail trend do you wish would go away and why?
The guest that comes to my bar and says, “Surprise me!” Stop saying Surprise me!! Tell me what you want. Otherwise more trends will all fade in time, and I’m good with that…. Smoke, Beer cocktails, etc… I’m old school. Bring me an old fashioned or a 50/50 gin martini and i’m a happy drinker. 

What is one of your favorite original creations and would you be willing to share the recipe?
Back in 2008, I was working in NYC at BLT Fish, which is the first spot that had my drinks on their cocktail menus. One in particular, did not sell so well, but I loved and to this day still remains unique for me. It was rich, savory and wildly different, and at the time I had a huge hard on for sidecars.

Loose Goose
2 oz Cognac (Hennessey VS)
.25 oz Cointreau
.75 oz Homemade Gooseberry Marmalade 
1 oz Fresh Lemon
4 Healthy dashes Angostura Orange Bitters
Top With Club Soda and Garnish with Fresh Gooseberry
Very seasonal item. I was lucky enough to have a farmer’s market down the street in Union Square. It was the only place I could find my gooseberries. 

Repour Bar (inside Albion Hotel)
1650 James Ave
Miami Beach, Fl 33139
305-913-1000
 

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