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Tipsheet

Step Away From the Sangria, and Put Your Hands Behind Your Head

Casual happy hour drinker enjoying a refreshing sangria on a balmy Virginia evening? Meet government overreach:
A Virginia Alcoholic Beverage Control agent conducting a routine inspection in 2006 cited La Tasca Spanish Tapas Bar and Restaurant in Old Town Alexandria for violating an obscure 75-year-old state law:

It's illegal to serve sangria in Virginia.

The fruity cocktail of wine and brandy that is a must-have at Spanish restaurants violates a law that forbids mixing wine or beer with spirits. If convicted, a bartender could go to jail for a year.

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The 1930s-era law makes it illegal to serve drinks that mix wine and spirits, lest one get too tipsy and spill spirits on one's bias-cut skirt or the fender of one's roadster on the way out of the speakeasy...or something.

Other drinks prohibited in the Commonwealth:
Other popular drinks are also off-limits, including kir royals, which are made with sparkling wine, and boilermakers, which include beer and a shot of liquor.
An Alexandria representative is introducing a bill that would allow for sangrias, but no other prohibited drinks. Ahhh, the wisdom of government. I can't wait to have it running my health care!

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