Tasting rooms are great. You walk in, chat with the folks behind the counter (who seem almost always to be friendly) and have a chance to try a new spirit. What’s not to like?
Well, in Washington one thing you might not have liked is that you’d be required to taste your sample straight. For years, the laws in Washington prevented distilleries from pouring anything other than a neat sample. Now, for many of us, this is not a problem. I’m more than happy to sample any whisky or rum neat. But others among us might prefer to try the sample with a little something (other than water) in it. And in fairness this makes perfect sense – you probably won’t be buying that bottle of vodka to go home and drink it straight so having to sample it neat is a bit of an oddity.
Well the good news for Washington residents is that the law has recently changed. Under legislation signed by the governor earlier this month, tasting rooms are now free to pour samples which have been “adulterated”.
This is a funny choice of word, since alcohol is already thought of as an adult beverage. Having an adulterated adult beverage feels, a bit redundant or, at the very least, a bit redundant.
What the revisions to the law really mean is that you can offer to mix the sample with either additional alcohol of the distiller’s own production – or with a nonalcoholic mixer. As before, you can also add water or ice.
So let’s see, what do we get if we mix alcohol with nonalcoholic mixers and add some ice. I feel like there’s a word for that. It is right on the tip of my tongue. Something like rooster-rump or phallus-train. If only I could remember the word… I do remember it can look something like this:
The word itself doesn’t appear in the language of the statutory revision. And I won’t mention it here since there is some apparently some political sensitivity to tasting rooms being able to offer rooster-rumps. But this is good news for both distillers and consumers alike. Tasting rooms are about to get quite a bit more interesting for consumers, and with a bit of luck more profitable for distilleries.
Note that the legislation does not change the total amount of alcohol that may be poured at a tasting room to any individual person per day. And you still need to make sure that the person pouring samples has their Washington Class 12 alcohol server permit.