I ordered four shots at a bar in South Carolina recently and the bartender looked at me and said, “how many ways?”
I understand this is a confusing question to anyone who didn’t live in South Carolina prior to 2004.
How many ways? What the EFF is that supposed to mean??
How many bartenders does it take to screw in a lightbulb??
But, I knew the answer.
“Two, four ways,” I said.
“Got it,” he said and began pouring.
Then I rolled my eyes.
I didn’t want to get into it with him, but the clarification is no longer necessary. South Carolina has big liquor bottles now, people!!!
Let me explain.
When I went off to college in South Carolina in 2001, I shit you not, bars and restaurants were only allowed to serve liquor in mini bottles.
Mini bottles! Like the ones you get on airplanes.
This was a massive change for me, being from New Orleans, where bars actually serve pre-mixed drinks from an IGLOO cooler.
(Seriously, when a friend from New Orleans visited me in South Carolina, he bought a whole bunch of mini bottles to take home and lined them up on a shelf in his house. They were that cute.)
The mini-bottle decree was in effect because South Carolina was desperately holding on to a mandate following prohibition that liquor can only be served in pre-portioned, pre-sealed bottles.
Every state apparently had the law in effect so they could monitor bar patrons’ alcohol intake.
And every state quickly got rid of it IN THE 1930S, except South Carolina.
It was a total waste of plastic.
The thing that sucked the most about it (aside from, uh, hurting the environment) is that you had to pay for each mini bottle separately, which meant that ordering a double broke the bank. And you had to take out a small loan just to pay for a Long Island Iced Tea. ($16??!?!!)
Shots were also tricky with mini-bottles.
Because no one does an entire 1.7 shot of liquor when they do shots. (A shot is normally 1.5 ounces.)
As such, when ordering shots, you had to specify how many bottles you wanted to pay for (2, for example) and then how many shots you wanted out of those two bottles (4, for example.)
So, standard ordering with shots was, “two jaagerbombs, three ways” or “one lemon drop, two ways,” etc.
It was a total waste of plastic.
Thank God people voted to change the law in 2004. Seriously, it had to be done with a vote. And a ballot.
Question #1 : Who do you want to be president of the United States?
Question #2: Should bars be allowed to serve 'big people' drinks?
Both sides of the issue were really riled up about it.
Bar owners in favor of changing the law said it would be much cheaper to have big bottles, since they were taxed on each individual mini bottle.
Environmentalists wailed about how none of the bottles are recycled and some of the more popular bars must go through like 100 mini-bottles a day, at least.
Bar owners NOT in favor of changing the law said they didn’t have the money to re-arrange their liquor cabinets to accommodate big bottles and liked their mini-bottle cubby holes just fine, ThankYouVeryMuch.
And then Big Brother politicians warned that giving up the mini-bottles meant giving up control over how much people were drinking.
This was as much of an abomination as removing the confederate flag from the state capitol!!!
(Well, maybe they said that).
Voters overwhelmingly decided to allow big bottles to be served, WELCOME TO THIS CENTURY SOUTH CAROLINA, and now the mini-bottles have been banished to the 2-for-$1 bin at the local liquor stores.
(Not a bad deal if I do say so myself.)
Anyone visiting South Carolina today would have no idea that less than 10 years ago, bartenders had to open teeny tiny bottles every time liquor was ordered.
South Carolina now looks like any other bar in the U.S.A.!
But now they need to act like it.
Really, they gotta get this shot thing under control. Why do we still have to specify how many “ways” we want our shots dispersed?
It doesn’t matter anymore!!! I want four shots! Regular ones!!!
Ok, ok, let me be more clear.
I want 1/16 of the bottle. One way.