Not All Trends Are Allowed in NY: alcohol infused ice cubes prohibited in New York

There are so many shows about restaurants and bars these days. The nation’s top talents in mixology create amazing drinks and cocktails for Bar Rescue’s bars and clubs to revitalize and update their drink offerings. However, if you see something brand new, be sure to check it out before you implement the same offerings at your establishment. Liquor laws vary tremendously from state to state and can sometimes be unpredictable.

One new trend was alcohol infused ice cubes. These are prohibited in New York. You can infuse the ices cube with herbs, aromatics, juices and even smoke, just not alcohol. The law that comes into play is ABC 106(2)(a) which provides:

No retail licensee for on-premises consumption, except corporations operating railroad cars or aircraft being operated on regularly scheduled flights by a United States certificated airline or persons or corporations operating a hotel, as defined in subdivision fourteen of section three of this chapter, for exclusive use in the furnishing of room service in the manner prescribed by rule or regulation of the state liquor authority, shall keep upon the licensed premises any liquors and/or wines in any cask, barrel, keg, hogshead or other container, except in the original sealed package as received from the manufacturer or wholesaler. Such containers shall have affixed thereto such labels as may be required by the rules of the liquor authority, together with all necessary federal revenue and New York state excise stamps as required by law. No retail licensee for on-premises consumption shall reuse, refill, tamper with, adulterate, dilute or fortify the contents of any container of alcoholic beverages as received from the manufacturer or wholesaler.

There is a new trend in infusing alcohol with herbs, fruits and other flavorings. There are several commercial systems available that deliver amazing infusions. Unfortunately, you’ll have to try these custom infused spirits outside NY or make them at home for personal use. New York restaurants and bars cannot infuse their own garnishes with alcohol at the establishment. They can purchase alcohol infused garnishes pre-made by the manufacturer, but cannot make their own home-made versions.

If you have a pending disciplinary action related to this issue, it is a good idea to seek experienced counsel to defend you in the disciplinary proceedings. These penalties are serious and can have grave consequences on your future personally and professionally.