A bartender prepares a glass bottle to pour a to-go cocktail at Sacramento bar The Snug.

Image credit: The Snug

If your living room became your favorite spot to sip an elegant cocktail in this past year, you're not alone. To-go cocktails were a fixture at bars and restaurants across the United States during the COVID-19 pandemic. And now, thanks to new legislation, it looks like they’re here to stay.

The Most Dramatic Change in State Alcohol Laws Since Prohibition

In recent weeks, nearly twenty states have approved measures to allow bars to continue to sell to-go cocktails, and at least 15 more are considering similar bills. This is the most dramatic change in state alcohol laws since the repeal of Prohibition, according to the Vice President of the National Restaurant Association.

In California, restaurants will be able to offer to-go cocktails through the end of 2021 according to an announcement from Governor Newsom.

Even more exciting, legislation in the state senate would keep to-go cocktails permanently. This legislation by Bill Dodd, a state senator from Napa, would make to-go cocktails a permanent fixture in the Golden State, providing added income for restaurants and giving customers greater choice.

Why This Pandemic Stop-Gap is Here to Stay

To-go cocktails first came on the scene as a way to help bars and restaurants survive the pandemic. Since then, bartenders have been working hard to bottle the taste and experience of pulling up a seat at your favorite cocktail bar.

In Sacramento, Block Ice client The Snug brought their hospitality experience home by including key details like ice and garnish. According to bar manager Trevor Easter, "I think in this time when everything seems unfamiliar, it's nice to have something that is familiar. When you look down and there's a coaster from the bar and stamped ice and it looks just like the one you had at the bar, there's something really comforting about that."

Many people came to appreciate the to-go experience at bars like The Snug, and continuing to permit takeout alcohol can help businesses take advantage of this new source of revenue.

While to-go cocktails won't fully solve the economic trouble that the hospitality industry has faced during the pandemic, they have helped many businesses hang on. Extending these to-go cocktail programs, according to the U.S. Distilled Spirits Council, is a "critical next step in supporting hospitality businesses struggling to cope with the harsh economic impacts of COVID-19."

Where to Grab Your Next To-Go Cocktail

Thanks to the expanded availability of to-go cocktails you can now get your favorite drink to-go, served over clear block ice, at many bars and restaurants throughout Northern California.

Pandemic regulations may be lifting, but many of our favorite local eateries are still working to catch up after the economic toll COVID had on the industry. It's important to keep showing up and supporting local bars and restaurants. Luckily, supporting local has never been so tasty. Just grab your favorite drink to-go.