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The Tennessee ABC liquor-by-the-drink application and renewal applications ask in Question 15: "Do you intend at any point during the next license year to produce, store, sell or offer for sale infusions as that term is defined in T.C.A. §57-4-108?"

Which begs the question: what the heck is an infusion?

Infusions are made by placing one or more flavoring ingredients, such as fruit or herbs, into alcohol.  Importantly, infusions are "not intended for immediate consumption." 

If a restaurant or bar makes a concoction that has to steep for a while to be ready to serve, it is an infusion and is subject to the infusion law.  Think Jalapeño Lime Tequila or lavender-rosemary vodka.

A pre-mixed cocktail like bloody marys, margaritas or sangria - ready to consume once it is prepared - is not an infusion.

The law for infusions is fairly simple:

  1. Infusions have to be labelled with each ingredient.
  2. Infusions cannot be stored in a wine or spirits bottle that has the original label.
  3. Infusions cannot have “added stimulants,” drugs or illegal substances.

Problem is, out in the field, ABC agents have no idea what is inside an unmarked jug of hooch. Although the container could contain a pre-mixed cocktail, the agent cannot tell if the elixir is an illegal infusion or a lawful pre-mix.

We recommend that folks attach a simple label to pre-mixed cocktails to help Tennessee ABC agents and to avoid unnecessary citations. Best practices suggest that the label should also contain the date that the pre-mix was made or an expiration date. This can be as simple as masking tape and a sharpie.

Conjures up the classic Beastie Boys tune "Brass Monkey”

When it's time to get ill, I pour it on my face

Monkey tastes def when you pour it on ice

Come on y'all it's time to get nice.

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