Remember when takeout cocktails felt liberating? They became legal maybe two months into our new virus-driven, bar-free reality. You’d FaceTimed at least one Tinder match and were developing a toxic codependent relationship with your sourdough starter. What’s true now was true then: You could really use a drink.
Bars and restaurants had sold fifths and mixers in the form of cocktail kits for a while by then, but those were always more of a pricey support mechanism for our favorite booze purveyors than an option that could meaningfully replace what we’d lost. After all, the joy of drinking out (other than bonding with strangers in the bathroom line) is having an expert do the shaking or stirring for you.
This newfound ability to leave a bar with a bottled manhattan felt near-utopian, and not just for sidewalk sippers. At Pike Place Market’s Joe Chocolate Co., guava frosés and other boozy slushies made up nearly a third of the cafe’s revenue by summer’s end—a “massive business saver,” says co-founder Sam Tanner.
There was just one problem: Takeout cocktails beg to be consumed immediately, not carried all the way home. What kind of monster would let a pina colada churned lovingly by a behind-the-counter slushy machine melt in their sanitized hand?
The kind of monster, of course, who follows the rules. Open-container laws prevail everywhere fun is not supposed to be had. They also frequently prevent law-abiding citizens from engaging in what could be the pandemic’s greatest silver lining.
Of course, codifying more lax open-container enforcement during summer months would have been ideal. Though Seattle would no doubt embrace a boozy PSL, the span between the last warm days of summer and the next time we’ll be tempted to picnic in parks is a chasm of uncertainty. But so long as it’s safer to avoid congregating indoors, there’s a case for tossing out the dregs of prohibition. Quickly, please. My painkiller is melting.