Friday, January 16, 2009

Curtain to come up on Utah drinking?

One of those pesky time warps has settled over Utah, where elders fear the sight of a martini being mixed could lead youngsters to ruin. Indeed, it’s illegal for a restaurant to shake or stir one in front of patrons. Bartenders have to function behind what’s called a Zionist curtain, lest a young person grow curious about drink and succumb to temptation.

Gov. Jon Huntsman has had enough of that puritan view, according to local press reports. He told The Deseret News, a paper serving the state’s huge Latter Day Saints population, that state liquor laws have to become “more American and less Middle Eastern” if Utah wants to cultivate more tourism. He’s let it be known that he plans to push for the modernization, much to the delight of the state’s restaurant trade.

But Huntsman is opposed by the powerful leader of the state Senate, who subscribes to the view that seeing a drink being made could lead more youngsters to try one when they’re of age. He wants to avert that sort of enticement.

Keep in mind that you can’t just walk into a Utah bar and order a mojito. Technically, there are no bars, just “drinking clubs” that you have to join before exiting the desert sun for a frosty draft.

As a compromise Huntsman has suggested that the Zionist curtain be lifted permanently and instead minors be prohibited by law from sitting at the bar.

Whether you drink or not, you have to hope he succeeds, just on principle.

No comments: