There are many things to miss about the South: authentic barbecue, sweet tea, more temperate climes. Things not missed, and frequently not understood, are the antiquated, draconian laws relating to the sale and consumption of alcoholic beverages. Case in point, it is against illegal in Virginia to sell sangria, as one restaurant owner learned:
Since 1934, the state has prohibited mixing wine or beer with spirits. Frances McDonald, vice president of La Tasca Spanish Tapas Bar and Restaurants, found that out the hard way when his Alexandria location was cited for violating the sangria ban in 2006 and fined $2,000.
After being forced to dump about 40 liters of said prohibited mixture down the drain, McDonald made an appeal to the Alcoholic Beverage Control Board and then on to the Capitol to try to persuade lawmakers to pass a bill allowing the sale of sangria.
Yes, while sangria may not be a “local” drink in Spain but rather a “cheap party punch,” have we not always incorporated these cast-offs into our own myths, imbuing them with their own allure? And doth the the local secretaries and office drones who toil in Virginia and who gather after work not deserve the full, potent effects a pitcher of sangria can offer, as they nibble on nachos and salsa while lamenting their fates? Don’t dilute what should for them be a “happy hour” with your watered-down LAWS, Virginia. The public demands “authentic” sangria, which is to say a full blend of wine and liquor, not your sad, legislated substitute.
Bill Would End Virginia’s Sangria Ban [AP/Newsvine]