Tucker O'Brien has lived in Madison most of his life. He did spend some time in Colorado, where he worked in a restaurant kitchen as a prep cook, which got him interested in flavors and how to mix them. When he came back he got a job at Madison Beach Hotel as a bus boy, worked his way to bar back and then to bartender. He thanks Ryan Donahue and Tyler Carlson for teaching him everything he knows. Q: Tell us more about this drink you created using orange vanilla balsamic vinegar. A: My boss came to me with the idea of making salad dressing a key component in a drink. I thought it sounded crazy but also fun. I tried making a creamsicle martini and it just came out terrible. It tasted like straight salad dressing. I tried something with rum; I won't even talk about that. Then I settled on bourbon. Q: What has the summer been like here on the beach? A: It's been extremely busy. We're a newer restaurant bar/hotel. This is our third summer and now we're killing it. We have live music: That draws a lot of people, too. Q: What ingredients are you excited to work with for fall? A: I'd love to use amaretto. Almond is such a weird flavor to put in a drink, great for fall and winter. My mom grows chocolate mint in her garden, so I might try to make a chocolate peppermint drink. Q: On the spot: an amaretto cocktail. A: Disaronno, van Gogh coconut vodka and coconut puree, shaken.
Sara Grant, The Hartford Courant
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