Undiluted Drink? That’ll Be Another Buck.

I love scotch. And when I order one, I always get somewhat annoyed by the pleb bartender who asks me if I want it with ice. Doesn’t he know that a fine single-malt should never be served with scotch, or watered down, unless with a mere thimbleful of spring water from the very locale in which the whiskey was distilled?

But according to this article over at USA Today, my own anal-retentive pretentiousness is chargeable by up to a buck. There is a mounting tendency amongst bartenders, restaurants and airlines to charge an extra dollar for drinks without ice, because “there’s more liquor in it.”

Which is, of course, bullshit. Bartenders have largely become so pedantic about sloshing liquor into your glass that they have precise measuring cups behind the counter. If it’s an issue of the aesthetics of ‘filling’ the glass, you simply keep smaller glasses behind the counter. What’s most absurd is they are charging the $1 no-ice surcharge against drinks that aren’t even supposed to have ice in them, like martinis (and, I’d argue to the bloody death, scotch!)

I like Patricia Dailey, editor in chief of Restaurants & Institutions: “A drink’s a drink. Control your glass size.”

The $1 ‘straight up’ charge has drinkers all stirred up (Thanks, Upgrade Travel!)


Edit Your Comment

  1. Paul D says:

    I will very quickly cease patronizing any establishment that actually uses any measuring device for shots or cocktails.

    A good bartender should know how much is enough.

  2. bambino says:

    Yes, you are being a bit pretentious in demanding that the tender shut his mouth. I hate to tell you, but most people do drink their scotch with ice. Hence the popularity of the ‘scotch on the rocks’. Now, the dollar charge, I agree, is unmitigated bullshit.

  3. Pelagius says:

    Blended scotch is one thing, single malt is another entirely. Any good bartender should know the difference.

    I understand that those damnable measured-serve thingos are legally required at UK bars. Fascists!

  4. bambino says:

    This also reminds me of the Daily Show expose of whatever redneck southern state it is that requires their bartenders use mini-bottles of liquor instead of liter bottles. As if they can’t measure a shot. Or maybe they can’t?

  5. madderhatter says:

    Doesn’t he know that a fine single-malt should never be served with scotch … Umm, a fine single-malt should never be served with scotch ? :o

  6. mariser says:


    that there state would be South Carolina. and I think that another reason for the mini-bottles was that is much harder to threaten to disembowel someone with them.

  7. AcidReign says:

    …..Alabama had the miniatures in bars and restaurants up until the late ’70s, too. And it was partly for the consumer’s protection. I’ve worked at joints where the empty Cuervo bottle was filled back up with Montezuma, and Canadian Club refilled with Club 400. I mostly order bottle beer out, and drink liquor at home, although I did go a little sazerac-crazy in New Orleans this past Memorial Day…

  8. flyover says:

    At every restaurant I’ve worked at who charged the extra .50/$1, the extra charge literally came with an extra .75 ounce of liquor, so YES you are paying, but for extra booze.
    And, if you do the math, generally on ice pours are 1.25 ounces, usually at $5 for the worst swill in the place. Let’s make your single malt a base of $8. 8 / 1.25 = $6.4 an ounce.
    An extra buck for $.75? Actually a bargain, geniuses.
    I haven’t read the article, so I’m not sure if the author got into the #s, but most likely the average american consumer up in arms doesn’t, because thinking hurts!

  9. flyover says:

    My bad, extra .75 for a buck, is what I meant. I never claimed I was a genius either!

  10. any such name says:

    south carolina no longer has the mini-bottles law in bars. but i believe that just changed recently (after the daily show report with samantha bee)