How St. Louis Restaurants Are Navigating Curbside Cocktails | St. Louis Public Radio

How St. Louis Restaurants Are Navigating Curbside Cocktails

May 1, 2020

Pre-batched drinks have long been a low-key strategy used by bartenders to serve patrons sophisticated drinks quickly. Made ahead of time, they allow bartenders to mix perfect proportions, shake them to the perfect temperature and serve them efficiently. 

With the coronavirus pandemic shuttering the restaurant industry, though, pre-batching isn’t simply a shortcut — it’s a necessity. In mid-April, the Missouri Division of Alcohol and Tobacco Control began allowing local restaurants to sell pre-mixed cocktails, so long as they’re in a sealed container and accompanied by a food purchase. The relaxed rules that permit curbside cocktails are in effect through May 15.

On Friday’s St. Louis on the Air, our friends at Sauce Magazine explained how area restaurants’ fight to serve booze led to the new permissions. They also detailed some of the best places to get to-go cocktails during this period. After all, an upside to this whole ordeal could be enjoying some of the region’s best drinks in your own backyard on a nice sunny day. 

Joining the discussion were the magazine’s managing editor, Heather Hughes Huff, and art director, Meera Nagarajan. Hughes Huff explained that the law was suspended when Mission Taco Joint started a petition and urged on residents to call their representatives. That led to a waiver being put in place. 

“Increasingly, any [restaurant] that’s been doing carry-out [food orders] is now, if they weren't before, figuring out how to sell cocktails,” she added.

Still, Nagarajan noted that the emergency waiver doesn’t help everyone in the drink industry, since it specifically requires all liquor sales to be accompanied by a meal. 

“It’s actually prohibitive to a lot of bars from opening again,” she explained. “I spoke with Ted Kilgore at Planter’s House and he was explaining to me that that provision is prohibitive to them because [they’re] primarily a cocktail bar.”

Sauce recommends following your favorite bars and restaurants on social media to catch any updates.

Restaurants Hughes-Huff and Nagarajan mentioned as now offering curbside cocktails include:

St. Louis on the Air” brings you the stories of St. Louis and the people who live, work and create in our region. The show is hosted by Sarah Fenske and produced by Alex Heuer, Emily Woodbury, Evie Hemphill, Lara Hamdan and Joshua Phelps. The audio engineer is Aaron Doerr.

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