You can never have enough Awesome Sauce. After all, it’s pretty darn awesome.
The aptly named Awesome Sauce is the creation of George Pandis, a bartender at the Lido Beach Resort Tiki Bar in Sarasota. Bloody Marys are popular there, and Pandis wanted to give his a special kick and make the drink consistently great for customers.
“The number one thing in hospitality is consistency,” he says.
He mixed in everything that he thought would make a Bloody Mary top-notch, including horseradish and Worcestershire sauce, and his elixir got rave reviews.
“People asked to take it home,” he says. As customer interest bloomed, Pandis connected with a local contact who bottles sauces. Pandis and the bottler contact worked together to make the sauce easier to bottle. “We worked on it until the product was dead on,” he says. “It’s horseradishy and spicy but not hot.” To seal the flavorful deal, he also added salted caramel so the sauce has a touch of sweetness, and the heat is mellowed.
“Anyone can do hot,” he says. “I wanted to do flavor.”
The result? Tiki George’s Buffalo-Horseradish Sauce With a Touch of Salted Caramel, aka Awesome Sauce. It’s a slightly spicy, slightly sweet, and flavorful sauce that is, well—awesome. “People love the sauce, but you have to taste it to really get it,” he says.
Awesome Sauce has more uses than just for cocktails. Pandis has seen restaurant goers use it on burgers, French fries, and quesadillas, and he also recommends it on eggs (including deviled eggs), meatloaf, chicken, meatballs, sloppy joes, and slow-cooker pork loin. The list of its uses goes on and on, and the company’s website has plenty of suggestions.
The sauce also helps to keep things simple for food preparation—you don’t need numerous ingredients to add flavor to something, just add Awesome Sauce.
Pandis would like his sauce to eventually become synonymous with the Gulf Coast, just like the way that Old Bay seasoning is associated with the state of Maryland and Maryland crabs. “I want every bar on the Suncoast to have it,” he says.
Tiki George’s Awesome Sauce is now available at about 25 local stores, including Morton’s in Sarasota and the Chop Shop in Bradenton. Some local restaurants, including Robbie’s Reef in Venice and Cortez Clam Factory in Cortez, use the sauce. You can also order it via Amazon Prime.
As tourists and snowbirds try the sauce, some have made the push to take it back home—in fact, Windy City residents can find it for sale at Chicago Raw Bar & Grill, according to the sauce’s website.
Pandis has plans for national distribution. “Our plans are much broader, but we want a local identity,” he says.
Sounds pretty awesome, eh?