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Goodbye to another quirky bit of local color

In case you hadn't heard, 2006 brought an end to the "minibottle" era in South Carolina. Until recently, my former home state had been the last in the union to require all drinks sold in bars to be made from those tiny plastic bottles like they have on airplanes.

The AP article above says the minibottle law was originally a temperance measure. That may well be true, but the law had quite a few fans from the pro-drinking side as well -- people who didn't trust bartenders to give you a full shot, or not to water down their liquor bottles. Indeed, the minibottle's 1.7 ounces represent a fairly healthy shot of liquor. The law stipulated that a bartender had to break the seal on a new mini-bottle with each drink made, and use its entire content in making the drink.

All right, so it was a silly law. It still represents a quirky bit of local color that part of me will miss, however. The mixed drinks in South Carolina bars always tasted different than they did other places, since the recipes often had to be adjusted to accomodate 1.7 ounce increments, the only measure allowed by law.

I'll particularly miss the South Carolina version of Long Island Iced Tea, which was available only by the pictcher down there. I mean, think about it. By the time you empty whole minibottles of all those liquors, you have way too much for a single glass. That's why if you ordered Long Island Iced Tea you always had to have someone to share it with you -- or else be prepared to be schnockered.

Ah well, such is the price of progress, I suppose.


I actually kept hearing about this and had no idea what they were talking about; the last and only time I was in South Carolina I was ten and driving through to Orlando with my family and my godfamily - that was a fun trip (not really - I don't know how the adults dealt with six kids asking "are we there yet?").

I too enjoyed Long Island iced tea by the pitcher in college, as that was the only way to get it in south Carolina at the time (as you mentioned); but in recent years there has been a mini-bottle with the four liquors combined so the bartenders could serve it by the glass! The things you miss when you're away.

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