Posts Tagged ‘alcohol’

Another Restaurant Allegedly Serves Alcohol to a Child

June 9, 2011

In what may be the start of a disturbing trend, it seems that yet another child may have been served an alcoholic drink in place of the chocolate shake he actually ordered, this time at a Chili’s restaurant.

Readers will of course remember the situation where a 4 year old child was served an alcoholic drink in an Applebee’s restaurant recently. In that case, there was no question that the drink was alcoholic or that it was served to the child since it was provided, oddly enough, in a sippy cup. That case became the butt of jokes for numerous late night comics, with the likes of Jay Leno and Jimmy Falon repeatedly mentioning it in their monologues.

Applebee’s announced following the incident that they would change their procedures in order to ensure that this never happens again in one of their restaurants. Now it seems that Chili’s may have to follow suit, also changing policies after another four year old was allegedly served a Mudslide in place of a chocolate shake. The report came from a Chicago branch of the restaurant where the mother of the child claimed that her daughter had tried the drink but declared that she didn’t like it because it “tasted funny.”

The mother tasted it and discovered that there was alcohol in the drink. Chili’s, however, has been denying the claim from the mother and says that the drinks were all served correctly but that someone at the table accidentally or deliberately switched the drinks. No charges were filed against the Chili’s employee in question as there was no clear evidence of wrongdoing on the part of the restaurant. However, this clearly does call for our industry to be more careful about serving drinks, especially when children are at the table and have ordered drinks which may appear similar to the alcoholic ones that adults have ordered.

Spiked Coffee is In

December 1, 2010

In the movie Some Like it Hot, starring Marilyn Monroe, Tony Curtis and Jack Lemmon, the proprietors of the club shown in the beginning of the movie serve coffee in their illegal speakeasy. The time was prohibition and the way they would “officially” make the claim to be alcohol-free was to serve coffee. Of course the coffee was spiked and was offered in such playful varieties as scotch coffee, sour mash coffee and the like.

While that was fiction, it turns out that real life really does follow fiction. In addition to the issue of alcohol being mixed with caffeinated power drinks such as Red Bull that we discussed a few weeks ago, it turns out that many restaurants are now bringing customers in (if they have a liquor license) by serving spiked coffee.

The drinks are not intended to hide the alcohol from the police (given that prohibition ended long ago), but new types of coffee cocktails are now being prepared in some bars and restaurants to bring a new edge to traditional drinks.

Not Easy to Do

It turns out however that mixing coffee with alcohol, even if you are aware of the issues (as we reported previously – it can be dangerous, especially for younger drinkers) is not a very easy thing to do. Try mixing up some sweet liquor with a cup of coffee and you’ll end up with a goopy mess rather than a drink which will entice customers to keep coming back for more.

Experimentation is the Key

As with creating new dishes, your barista and or bartender will need to get together with you and do some experimenting. They’ll need to work to create a series of drinks that not only taste good but that actually look good as well. Keep playing around with the ingredients and taste test them with friends and relatives before you start offering them on the menu.

Iced and Hot

Both iced coffee drinks and hot drinks will work in this concept. It’s a good idea to work on different ideas and not just stick to the cold drinks we might assume we’d create for this kind of cocktail. You should also consider both sweet and spiced drinks in order to come up with the optimum range of different drinks for your restaurant.

Caffeine and Alcohol Can Be a Deadly Combination

November 15, 2010

If you’ve gotten used to serving your younger customers (and by young, we mean those in the 21-30 year old range, not the ice cream and soda pop set) Red Bull with vodka, you may soon have to rethink your plans for serving such drinks.

While alcoholic drinks mixed with caffeine tends to be a very common drink (rum and coke anyone?), new evidence has emerged that the combination can be extremely dangerous, especially for younger drinkers.

Caffeine Masks the Effects of Alcohol

The biggest problem with serving caffeine together with alcohol, doctors say, is that the caffeine has the effect of masking the effects of the alcohol. This makes it difficult for people to gauge just how drunk they actually are and they tend to over drink, potentially leading to serious problems.

Four Loko Especially Considered Dangerous

A fruit flavored drink called Four Loko, according to a recent report in the New York Times is considered to be particularly dangerous because it combines 12 percent alcohol with the same amount of caffeine as a cup of coffee.

A number of students from Ramapo College in New Jersey and another school, Central Washington University in Florida recently found themselves in emergency rooms after drinking the Four Loko drink.

State Attorney Generals Investigating

Eighteen attorneys general from various states have petitioned the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) to investigate and to declare the drinks unsafe. Until now the FDA, while not approving of the mixture, has not done anything to stop it from being served.

Some states are also looking into passing laws specifically with the intention of banning the sale of such drink mixtures, though no such laws have as yet been passed.

Consider Non-Caffeinated Drinks

We are suggesting that restaurateurs with alcohol licenses consider offering non caffeinated alternatives to the caffeine drinks they have traditionally offered as a standard item and offer to substitute the more traditional drinks only on request from patrons. This way, you are protected from potential liabilities should one of your patrons get sick.