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Home / Articles / News / Cheap Shot /  Cheap Shot | Sidecar Follies: Using the new liquor laws to your drinking advantage
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Cheap Shot | Sidecar Follies: Using the new liquor laws to your drinking advantage

By Phil Jacobsen
Posted // May 21,2008 - Having sex at BYU is like reading the Kama Sutra upside down. Sex is sex, but you can’t have “extramarital relations” as stated by the BYU honor code. However, when I went to BYU, it seemed like the co-eds I knew who were majoring in elementary education were also getting minors in law. With a little ipso facto interpretation of the honor code, these pre-law Sandra Day O’Connors would do it all, but sex. And yes, I said, “but sex.”

Really, then, it’s not surprising that Utah’s newest liquor law has to be looked at in much the same way I saw the BYU honor code: How can I get around this? Primarily, how can I legally order a double just like I did back in the good ol’ days (last month)? Back when bartenders couldn’t pour doubles, but they could serve “sidecars” of Jack Daniels and let me pour the shot into my own drink.

So, let’s take a look at the new Utah State Legislature law 32A-5-107, mix in some greens, throw in some cherry tomatoes and toss some salad with the Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control.

Even though the new law allows for an increase in the primary liquor from 1 to 1.5 ounces, the reality is most bars are going to continue pouring 1 or 1.25 ounces per shot. This is because patrons cannot have more than 2.5 ounces of alcohol in front of them at any time. Do the math. If you’re allowed to have two drinks, but the total of these two drinks cannot be more than 2.5 ounces, then two drinks with 1.5 ounces of alcohol equals 3. And three is a magic number. It’s the number that will get your liquor license revoked.

However, if your gin and tonic has 1.25 ounces of gin, then you’re still allowed to order one more shot of whatever alcohol you’d like—as long as it’s not gin. If you want a shot of Jägermeister with your gin and tonic, go right ahead. In fact, if you lack common sense or good taste buds, you’re even allowed to mix the two drinks together.

What you’re not allowed to do is have two drinks if the second drink “consists only of the primary spirituous liquor for the other spirituous liquor drink.” Simply stated: No two gins for you.

The best way around this law is simple: Get a drinking buddy. If you drink Jack & Coke and your friend drinks gin and tonics, you can order a shot of gin and your buddy can order a shot of Jack. Go to your table and to do a little alcohol two-step I call the “Utah Swicheroo.”

But what if you’re drinking alone? First, I need to make a disclaimer: What you’re about to read is not a story from the satirical newspaper The Onion. It’s actually the new Utah liquor law. I sent the law to the best, and my favorite, contract attorney in Salt Lake City and asked if there was a loophole. He said, “More like a gaping hole.” It’s the word “only.”hspace=3

Let’s revisit your gin and tonic: If you also order a second shot of gin with a single ice cube or splash of tonic or drop of water, this means your second shot no longer consists only of gin.

Even though I’ve equated the DABC as my personal Death Star, I called the DABC and asked if I was interpreting the law correctly. I spoke to Sharon Mackay, and the strange part was—I kind of fell for her. Talking to her was like getting a hug from Darth Vader. She acknowledged the law was vague and even though a bar was not supposed to just drop an ice cube in a shot glass, at this point, she didn’t see how a private club could be cited for serving a second drink in this manner.

She then gave me hope that if the Legislature was willing to increase a shot of alcohol by 50 percent, that one day, in a galaxy far, far away, we might be able to get an extra 3 percent of alcohol in our beer.

Above all, please drink responsibly. DUI laws aren’t like the BYU honor code; you will get fucked.

 
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REPLY TO THIS COMMENT
Posted // September 16,2008 at 17:46 You people are so funny. You worry about how much you can drink, the size of the drink, the volume of the drink, if you can drive and drink, about sex you can get at BYU. OR CANT GET,HA HA, what about another worry, gas to get to the bar, the liquor store, the friends house, hell and most of all the price of the gas for the car to drive here and there, unless of course you have neither car or motorcycle, moped, and ride a bike to and fro, hell no gas money///// needed. And most of all, hey a job to have all of the above, OH the things we worry about. Laws, we need laws to keep your asses from being bored. I CAN JUST IMAGINE YOU DIDNT HAVE THEM/ WOW, WHAT WOULD YOU DO/////////////////

 

REPLY TO THIS COMMENT
Posted // May 26,2008 at 23:28 I lived in Utah from 1988 to 1994 and again from 1997 to 2003. In 88 the DABC required alcohol be dispensed in mini-bottles. The mini-bottle contained 75 ml or 1.7 oz of alcohol. When the state decided to modernize their alcohol laws they dispensed of the mini-bottle and replaced it with the smaller, 1 oz. metered shot. I see - they got rid of those archaic mini-bottles and modernized the system by giving us less booze. Of course prices didn’t drop commensurate with the decrease in serving size. I’m still trying to figure out who benefited from this legislative overhaul to modernize Utah’s liquor laws. And now Utah lawmakers are making much ado over the elimination of the sidecar in another spurious campaign to modernize Utah’s liquor laws.nnWhenever Utah lawmakers claim they are modernizing the liquor laws, they aren’t. They will never, ever give drinkers more. What they will do is claim they are improving the liquor laws with either new policy or measures that on the outside look significant, but when you do the math it always works out the same - less for more.nnIt’s been 20 years of unmitigated bullshit now. The always faithful legislative body is still talking about changing the laws and every now and then they do, but no matter how much pink paint they spray on that turd, it’s still a pile of shit to anyone who steps in it.

 

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Posted // May 23,2008 at 08:34 New Belgian’s Fat Tire is 5.3%, not 4.2%.

 

REPLY TO THIS COMMENT
Posted // May 23,2008 at 07:58 I just want to clarify this whole 6.0% beer myth. I take personal offense as a brewer of Utah beer. Utah beer is 3.2% by weight and 4.0% by volume. By volume is the way that most of America designates alcohol percentage. Contrary to popular belief out of state beer is not typically 6.0%. In fact most most American lagers (Bud, Coors, Miller) come in at a whopping 5.0% by volume. If you buy the light versions of these beers they are usually around 4.0% or less. Even out of state micro brews are often less than 6.0%. Fat Tire for instance is around 4.2%.That being said if you added an extra 3.0% to Utah beer we would be at 7.0%. this would make it a little difficult to drink a six pack with out getting plowed. Just drink a six pack of squatters IPA 6.0% or Wasatch Devastator 8.0% in one sitting and you will see the effects. I for one would love if the state lifted the restrictions on beer alcohol levels. This does not mean that I would want to drink 6.0% beer all of the time. There are other times when a 6.0% beer is just what the doctor ordered. Utah grocery store beers are great session beers. I enjoy being able to sit and watch a jazz game and have some beers without getting completely hammered.

 

 
 
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