Pennsylvanians can now order cocktails to-go legally thanks to a bill signed Thursday afternoon by Gov. Tom Wolf.
The bill allows restaurants that have lost more than a quarter of average monthly sales due to coronavirus pandemic to sell cocktails to-go.
The bill is a welcome sign of relief for bars and restaurants that are used to bustling kitchens and busy bars. Corey Moore, bartender at The Bercy in Ardmore says he welcomes the change with open arms. He also says the staff at his location, as well as its sister locations Stove and Tap in Malvern and Lansdale, are chomping at the bit to get back to work.
“It feels like a fresh breath of air in a stale environment. With everything going on right now, with everybody having restrictions or limitations to what they can or cannot do this allows us in the restaurant industry to not only be able to open to a certain capacity but, it also allows us to employ staff, put them back to work, and at the same time being able to serve our guests in a way that they expect, Moore says.
Wine Dive General Manger Jeffrey Hyman says the sale of to-go cocktails is just as exciting for his staff as it is for patrons.
“We’ve been home for a while now, the liquor stores were closed for a bit as well. So I think a lot of people are looking for something to take their minds off of their troubles. We wanted to do something that’s fun. We’re really excited that we’re finally able to do that,” says the South Street bar staffer.
Cocktails to-go can be anywhere from 4 ounces up to 64 ounces and must be in a sealed container. How the drinks themselves are packaged is up to the individual restaurant. Hyman says Wine Dive and its family of restaurants which include Tio Flores, Hawthornes and the Cambridge focused on sustainability for its packaging.
“We decided to go with something that is recyclable, reusable, easy transport bottles, so they’re nice plastic container bottles, and then all of our cocktails come in two different sizes. We wanted to pick something that’s light, easy, reusable, something that we can give to our customers and they can use it for others as well,” he says.
The Bercy and its sister properties wanted their packaging to preserve the in house experience as much as possible. Moore said they also wanted to use as many thighs that they already had on hand as possible.
“We’ve converted what used to be our go to for certain foods and items and now we’ve converted that for liquid beverages. The garnish is on the side, so if it’s an old-fashioned you get the Luxardo cherries on the side. We’re not sacrificing the value and quality of ingredients when you order it to go. We’re still giving you the exact same thing that you’ve loved all along,” Moore says.
Keeping the takeout cocktail experience close to what you would get if you were seated at the bar was important to Moore and he says it’s one of the main reasons why someone would order a to-go drink instead of making it at home.
“Anyone can make a Cosmopolitan at home. You can make an Old-fashioned at home. You can make a margarita at home. The trick is, does it taste like your favorite place? Does it give you that thought of nostalgia that makes you remember the good times in the fall or the winter or spring when you were sitting at your favorite restaurant enjoying a drink that your favorite bartender you know made for you? This allows us to really get back in touch with our guests, not only with a personal touch but giving them a level of excellence that they’ve may not be able to get at home,” Moore says.