Necessity, as they say, is the mother of invention. And Sandra Ruffino was ready to invent.

But she wasn’t exactly sure what liquor she had in the house when she set out to create a drink for The Advocate’s Cocktails at Sunset contest.

She turned up a bottle of tequila, some triple sec and grenadine. In the fridge, she found orange juice, pineapple juice and, of course, hot sauce.

When Ruffino was through mixing and stirring, she’d created the Sweet & Spicy Sunset, a tasty concoction that earned her top honors in this year’s competition, which ended with the announcement of the winner at a pool party hosted by L’Auberge Casino & Hotel June 23 at its rooftop pool. Those gathered for the event got to sample all six finalists. Votes were tabulated from that night and those cast at L’Auberge’s Stadium Sports Bar & Grill through June 20.

“We were prepping for a beach trip, so that was the inspiration,” Ruffino explains. “It’s a cocktail that goes well with any sunset, whether you’re at the beach, the pool or on the river.”

Jack Summerell’s Salty Chichuhua, his version of a margarita, came in second.

Susanne Duplantis was inspired by the old-time ice cream she enjoyed as a child that had a gumball on the bottom.

“Only this one’s for adults, and I call it a Screwball,” she says of her cocktail that came in third.

Other finalists included Jeff Plauche’s Satsuma Rye Ole Fashioned, Brian Harrell’s Old Yankee Cocktail and Chris Everett’s Polluted Sunset.