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Madison bar professionals talk mocktails and more

We chatted with a couple of local bartending experts about how to make mocktails at home, the perfect Madison mocktail, and hangover cures.

Multiple cocktails on a table

Cheers to no hangovers, 608. | Photo by Merchant

While Madison is notorious for being a big drinking city, we know how to live it up without liquor as well.

To celebrate Dry January, we chatted with Michael McDonald and Caitlyn Nicholson about N/A elixirs. McDonald is the bar manager at State Line Distillery and has led the development and creation of the entire bar program, including Dry January offerings. Nicholson oversees the bars at Amara, Lucille, and Merchant.

Q: If someone wants to start making mocktails at home, what’s one staple ingredient and/or utensil you’d suggest they keep on hand?

  • MM - Fresh citrus. Mocktail or cocktail, if it calls for juice, get some fresh fruit and juice it. Citrus really only holds its fresh flavor for 12 to18 hours so keep it fresh and you’ll taste the difference.
  • CN - A fruit and vegetable juicer.

Q: If you were to make a mocktail that represented Madison, what would be some of its key ingredients and why?

  • CN - A non-alcoholic Old Fashioned. N/A spirit (malt spirit works best), demerara cranberry syrup, fresh orange, cherry, and a lemon-lime soda (you can buy this or make it at home!), followed by a non-alcoholic beer.

Q: For those of us who aren’t participating in Dry January, what’s your go-to hangover cure?

  • MM - Eating before the festivities, maybe even throughout the night. One to one drink to water ratio sure goes a long way.
  • CN - Lemon, honey, and ginger shots, OR an ice cold Coca-Cola.
State Line Distillery pink cocktail in a Coupe glass

Try State Line’s Blueberry Muffin Sham mocktail. | Photo by State Line Distillery

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