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Thursday, May 23, 2024
Blind Spot 7
Blind Spot Social Club, a restaurant and bar in Madison, photographed April 10, 2024.

Mixing it up: Exploring the mocktail trend in Madison's bar scene

Mocktails continue to increase in popularity and become a staple in Madison’s social scene.

In recent years, Madison’s bar scene has witnessed a growing trend: the rise of mocktails, or nonalcoholic drinks which replicate mixed alcoholic beverages. 

These alcohol-free concoctions offer an exciting alternative for those looking to socialize without consuming alcohol. From well-known spots like Merchant and Lucille to the local go-to Blind Shot Social Club, bars across the city are embracing this trend, offering a diverse array of alcohol-free concoctions.

Mocktails have surged in popularity for a variety of reasons, according to Michelle Duvall, owner of Blind Shot Social Club. 

“When we opened, we had a non-alcoholic cocktail menu,” Duball said. “Back then, it was more of a novelty, but now it’s becoming more of a standard. People are interested in nonalcoholic options, and it’s about 20% of our bar program.”

Caroline Riordan, a University of Wisconsin-Madison student and bartender at the Edgewater, said the appeal of mocktails extends beyond alcohol abstainers and attracts a diverse demographic, especially during dinner service.. 

This growing demand for mocktails reflects a broader cultural shift towards moderation and wellness, particularly in a state renowned for its vibrant drinking culture, Riordan said. 

“Mocktails support the social fabric of drinking culture,” Riordan said. “They provide a welcoming option for those who opt for a non-alcoholic alternative, ensuring that everyone can participate in social gatherings comfortably.”

As mocktail menus continue to expand and evolve, bartenders and hospitality professionals play a pivotal role in promoting and normalizing nonalcoholic options. Duvall said it’s important to craft enticing mocktails that cater to diverse palates. 

“We really enjoy being able to offer so many fun, cool things to drink that are thoughtful but still not necessarily containing alcohol,” Duvall said. “I do think it's cool that you walk through the restaurant and you don't know who's having a cocktail and who's having an alcohol-free cocktail, because they all look like something that is something you'd want to drink, regardless of what's in it.”

To locate the nearest mocktails near you, visit Destination Madison.

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