PROHIBITION ALERT: And you’ll never guess where…
…Wrong again. It’s UTAH, the great state of fear-mongering.
Apparently, Utah state legislators are pressing for laws that will restrict restaurants from making mixed drinks in view of minors seated in their establishment. According to senate president Michael Waddoups, such legislation is necessary to protect the “safety and mental future of our children.” As we all know by now, “monkey see… monkey do.” Lord help us, we can’t have our children driven to insanity by watching bartenders pour up drinks… shield their virgin eyes, and presumably wait until the drinks arrive safely at the table, where they may be consumed in full-view of youngsters far and wide.
Indeed, restaurants falling under this new proposed category of restriction will be forced to remodel if their bar is visible from main dining areas. Hey, while we’re at it, we might as well go ahead and ban people from being allowed to light cigarettes in front of minors as well, eh? Apparently the problem with mixed drinks, according to legislators, is the act of making them in front of youngsters instead of the far less harmful act of drinking them; therefore, if we continue to follow this logic, a ban on lighting cigarettes in view of minors should likely be passed as well. Granted, the act of smoking in front of kiddies ought to be fine and dandy, right?
Hell, let’s take no chances… why not go ahead and just kill two birds with one stone? Why not say all smokers have to sit at the bar from now on as well (which will already be shielded from the highly impressionable young eyes of our children, of course). After all, this is America the free, baby.
I jest of course, but things are close to heading in the direction I’ve satirically described for you in the tirade above. The entire issue surrounds Republican Utah Senate President Mike Waddoups, and the fact that others in the Republican caucus share his outdated opinions. Waddoups and his company presently lead opposition against efforts by Governor Jon Huntsman Jr. to make Utah more tourist-friendly by loosening its outdated spirit laws. Granted, Utah boasts some rather “antiquated” (i.e. draconian) liquor laws in general… for instance, according to the Utah Alcoholic Beverage Control Web site, “Utah law requires restaurants, private clubs, and airport lounges to use a metered dispensing system that is calibrated to dispense no more than one ounce of primary liquor in a mixed drink. Secondary alcoholic flavorings may then be added to a mixed drink as the recipe requires not to exceed a total of 2.75 ounces of spirituous liquor.” This, of course, completely disrupts the ability for a well-trained bartender to make certain beverages properly according to recipe, as many do indeed call for more than one ounce of primary liquor. A full list of Utah’s alcohol laws can be viewed by clicking here.
Folks, I am no less against the consumption of alcohol by minors than any other sound-minded citizen who takes measures to maintain responsibility in every manner, especially regarding alcohol and its proper use. However, history tells us that suppression of anything is a terrible way to prevent its use by the wrong parties. The prohibition period (should have) proven already that disallowing spirits only led to illegal trafficking of the stuff, thus increases in crime. Granted, Utah lawmakers aren’t looking to prohibit the sale of alcohol altogether, but to further tighten the already choking grip that the legal system there has on establishments which serve spirits is a step in the right direction toward renewing these same old, ineffective ways.
Perhaps, though many would still erroneously consider it “irresponsible”, there is logic to the notion that parents who drink liberally (but never to excess) around their children and who make great effort to educate them about the potential dangers of alcohol, would both exemplify its proper use as well as “demystify” its taboo qualities by having it around them in a controlled setting. As stated by John Doxat, well-worded editor of The Indispensible Drinks Book, “Education must be the only answer. Repression never works.”