Competitors in MCW's kickoff, the Agave Gauntlet: Casa Noble Cocktail Relay, will be paired off into teams by drawing straws the night of the competition. Some are longtime pals, some are relative newcomers; some gregarious, some a touch reserved: we figured we should level the playing field by helping them, and you, get to know each other a little better a head of time.

 

CONTENDER: Michael McDonald

Michael McDonald was among the first to reply to our survey of incredibly intimate questions with the appropriate balance of levity & professionalism. McDonald only recently moved to Madison to helm the bar at the forthcoming Field Table, but he's a veteran contributor to Wisconsin cocktail culture through his work with Bittercube and at a slew of Milwaukee restaurants and bars. He's also president of the state's chapter of the United States Bartenders' Guild. We're delighted to welcome him to the fold.

Where you work + your shift schedule:
Field Table, schedule TBD

Twitter/Instagram handle: 
Most of what I post is on @usbgmke

Who do you consider a mentor? Most important lesson they taught you?
Darkwing Duck.  How to get dangerous.

What sensations/emotions does the phrase "personal brand" immediately invoke?
Anxiety and fear...a bit of a tickle.

Favorite work of art:
Sean Davis

Tequila: sip neat, or in a cocktail?
Neat. Gone are the days that only allow us to shoot rail tequila, with a lime and salt.  There are so many great products that serve us better with no noise.

MSG: Parmesan or Uncut Powder?
Uncut.

Setting aside lime & orange--what are your go-to flavor combinations for agave-based distillates?
Spices, I love Manhattans with agave-based distillates.  Also spices and peppers.  Real hot right now. Pun a bit intended.

What's your favorite Wisconsin/Midwestern source of acid – something tart/tangy to balance a cocktail?
Shoot me, Cranberries. We cultivate a lot of cranberries here and they offer a tart acidity not found in many fruit.

Over-under on how soon Wisconsin will be wine country:
I don't gamble so I really don't know what that means.  As soon as this whole climate shift gets to it.

Your favorite tool (bar... or life):
Silly String

Favorite vessel you've sipped out of:
Whole pineapples with crazy straws shared amongst great friends.

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Agave Gauntlet competitors will not be awarded extra points for costumes, but are welcome to dress up however they please.

Agave Gauntlet competitors will not be awarded extra points for costumes, but are welcome to dress up however they please.

 
Gone are the days that only allow us to shoot rail tequila, with a lime and salt. There are so many great products that serve us better with no noise.
— Michael McDonald