In Oklahoma, adding bacon strips to vodka can get a person arrested, thanks to its strange alcohol laws.
The state has an effective ban on infused liquor due to ambiguous wording about refilling containers that previously held alcohol, according to Reason.
Thus, Oklahoma City police arrested Colin Grizzle, manager of The Pump, bar that specialized in infused vodka drinks, though it’s unlikely the law meant to criminalize those specialty drinks.
“They were warned at that time, and given a citation, told you can’t do that,” MSgt. Gary Knight of the Oklahoma City Police Department told KFOR in Oklahoma City. “The bottle has to be served, just as it came.”
Whether the police are enforcing the law incorrectly, The Pump has stopped serving infused drinks. That’s hurting its brunch business as other restaurants continue to serve the drinks.
Oklahoma “has some of the strictest liquor laws in the country,” but “California regulators also have been known to take a dim view of flavor-infused spirits,” Jacob Sullum noted. There, the Golden State prohibits bars from cutting, blending, mixing, or infusing drinks with another ingredient that “changes the character and nature or standards of identity” of the spirit.
It’s not the first time that business owners in the Oklahoma City area have faced legal penalties for alcohol-infused consumables. At La Nude, a nude bar that can only serve non-intoxicating beverages, officers made arrests for “alcohol-infused cherries.”
“Alcoholic beverages and nudity – you can’t mix the two,” Valley Brook Police Chief Michael Stamp told KFOR in March. “You can’t be totally nude in an alcoholic establishment.”
In Tennessee as well, a 2006 law banned “alcoholic drinks that include fruit, herbs, or any other special ingredients,” according to WSMV in Nashville.
Popular tastes have shifted, though state alcohol laws have struggled to keep up. Bacon vodka, strange as it may seem, faces legal restrictions in multiple states.
In addition, alcoholic slushies have faced bans in New York, alcoholic energy drinks faced a grand demise after unscientific fear-mongering forced its downfall, and a cannabis-infused drink is only available in Washington state for now.
The “arbitrary cocktail meddling,” as Sullum wrote, is more common than many consumers realize. As tastes, trends, and fads evolve, the law lags behind market demand.