Takeout Cocktails: One Coronavirus Change We'd Like to Keep

Let's be honest, we all want to keep margaritas to-go.
Let's be honest, we all want to keep margaritas to-go. Photo by Alan Levine
Governor Greg Abbott announced the re-opening of restaurants on a limited basis this week, but it's clear not all of them will re-open immediately. Many will continue to focus on take-out orders until they can ensure the safety of not only the patrons, but their employees.

Reports out of other states like Georgia, where re-opening business has become a priority, demonstrate that not all restaurants are ready to start up again. Safety is the number one concern, but also some have had success with take out business and they don't want to sacrifice it for what promises to be paltry numbers of dine-in customers for the foreseeable future.

One thing most seem to agree on, however, is takeout alcohol. We've heard from friends that some restaurants have seen alcohol sales skyrocket now that the state is allowing them via takeout. There is clearly a desire for grab-and-go cocktails, but will a state that still has "blue laws" on the books keep a policy in place that goes against their mostly staunch policies? Probably not.

Virtually everyone who has been grabbing food to go and the restaurants who are offering it approve of alcohol on the to-go menu. On a recent trip to a couple different Tex-Mex stalwarts, the cost of margaritas "for two" was quite reasonable, especially considering there were enough ingredients for more like four or five.

Texas has never been a state that favored liquor sales of any kind really. It was only recently that breweries were given the nod to sell retail to visiting customers. And we have heard whispers that, despite the desire or restaurants and the clear demand of customer, the TABC has no intent of allowing to-go margaritas and other cocktails to continue.

Part of us understands. We are handing alcohol to people as they drive away. But, our recent Tex-Mex experiences were rather benign. We didn't get a sippy cup full of tequila. Instead, we got the ingredients and had to mix it ourselves. It wasn't, frankly, much different than buying a bottle of tequila and lime juice at a liquor store. But, because it came with our meal, it felt special.

So, we would humbly request the state of Texas consider allowing the continued sales of alcohol in to-go orders. Maybe require that food be purchased or that it be limited to certain delivery methods — mixed drinks sold as ingredients only? But, find a way to keep some of the good times rolling because we all need something to get us through the pandemic. 
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Jeff Balke is a writer, editor, photographer, tech expert and native Houstonian. He has written for a wide range of publications and co-authored the official 50th anniversary book for the Houston Rockets.
Contact: Jeff Balke