Blind Shot leads the way with non-alcoholic offerings
Blind Shot Social Club stands out with its commitment to fun non-alcoholic drinks.
Normally, when you go to a bar or restaurant in Madison you get a hefty cocktail, wine and beer list — often leaving water, soda or juice as the only non-alcoholic options.
One establishment in Madison, Blind Shot Golf and Social Club, is trying to change that.
“[My husband] Brent and I kind of poured ourselves into this place, even our backgrounds,” Blind Shot co-owner Michelle Duvall says. “But, as a couple neither one of us drink. So for us it was important to put into this what we would hope to see in other places.”
When Duvall sat down to do research for Blind Shot’s business plan back in 2019, she found there is an opportunity for non-alcoholic drinks that Madison had yet to embrace. She found non-alcoholic cocktails, wine and beer offerings from around the world while surfing Instagram and Facebook, and decided to incorporate as many drinks as she can into their menu. Three months into opening the business, Blind Shot offers nine non-alcoholic cocktails, nine non-alcoholic beers and a selection from a few non-alcoholic wines.
“There’s so many reasons why people don’t drink, Brent has never drank, and as for myself, I got sober and stopped drinking back in 2014,” Duvall said. “We’ve seen people who are health-focused, designated drivers, pregnant women and even sobriety groups who come in and want to still drink something that’s fun and unique — not just run of the mill.”
Even with all the extra research, Duvall says creating non-alcoholic drinks is similar to their alcoholic counterparts — it’s most trial and error. Some of the stuff she makes is (self-admittedly) terrible, so she goes back to the drawing board to try something different.
Duvall says offering non-alcoholic drinks is personal. From a sobriety standpoint she knows how important it is to foster community. She says she doesn’t want people to feel like they’re cast to the side, instead offering things that can make them feel good.
She says a community of non-alcoholic drinkers is forming at the Social Club already, whether it’s coming in for drinks, or just following their social media. A few out-of-state businesses reached out to talk to Duvall as well — a bar in Minnesota wants to develop its own non-alcoholic menu, and a company in Lithuania sent some non-alcoholic products.
“We’re seeing a lot of people come back over and over. It could just be to pick up a bottle of non-alcoholic wine we sell over the counter for a girls night, or people picking stuff up for gender reveal parties,” Duvall says. “A few businesses have contacted us with questions about the non-alcoholic menu. They don’t think it would work in the midwest, with all the drinking culture. But I don’t know, I tell them to go for it.”
With plenty of non-alcoholic options available at Blind Shot, here are a few of Duvall’s favorites.
That Hits the Spot
Duvall says she didn’t want to just make a margarita when she first got non-alcoholic tequila, so she decided on this drink instead. Currently one of her favorites, That Hits the Spot uses Ritual Zero Tequila, lime juice and non-alcoholic Pabst Blue Ribbon and is topped off with a tajín rim. The zero calorie non-alcoholic drink is a riff on the classic Michelada.
Too Cool for Work Related Activities
This drink uses citrus Seedlip Grove (a nonalcoholic spirit), lime juice, a little bit of jalapeño simple syrup and homemade watermelon tomato juice. Duvall says the drink is light and refreshing with a lot of different layers. The drink is almost a direct mirror of one of the alcoholic cocktails, the People’s Elbow, which has tequila.
My First Apartment
This acknowledged hit-or-miss drink combines Coca-Cola, maple syrup, lemon juice, a little bit of soy sauce and topped with cinnamon. Duvall says the drink “sounds kind of ridiculous,” but that once you drink it you might really enjoy it. “Some people get really on board, and some people don’t know what they just drank when it’s finished. But they thank you for the effort anyway,” she says.
Oh Orange is Sweet
Popularity wise, Duvall says this tops the list. The drink combines orange juice, heavy whipping cream and coconut — which is then thoroughly shaken so it fluffs up. Oh Orange is Sweet is topped off with ice and soda water in the drink. It turns into a fluffy, drinkable Dreamsicle.
Napa Valley Wine
Blind Shot gets these nonalcoholic wines straight from the Northern California valley. Duvall’s favorite offerings include a chardonnay and a Luminar red blend that taste almost exactly like the real thing. The wine is offered as spritzers or by the bottle.
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