Cocktails To-Go Now Legal In Oklahoma, Restaurants Hope For Boost In Revenue

Wednesday, August 25th 2021, 10:26 pm
By: Barry Mangold

NORMAN, Oklahoma -

Oklahoma businesses licensed to sell alcohol may now sell cocktails to-go.

Patrick Kallin, general manager of The Mont in Norman, said customers rallied quickly after he announced their signature cocktail would be available for carry-out orders. 

“I never thought we’d see the day,” Kallin said. “We need to make up for the money we lost in the last year and a half because of the pandemic.” 

Oklahoma lawmakers passed House Bill 2122, also called the Cocktails To-Go Act of 2021, in May. It requires businesses to seal drinks in a “rigid” and “tamper-evident” container.

Drinks must also be transported outside of the passenger area of a vehicle and cannot be delivered by third parties. 

“It’s an incremental step,” Oklahoma Restaurant Association president Jim Hopper said.  

Hopper lobbied for the law to support the restaurant industry, which he said has been “exponentially harmed” by the COVID-19 pandemic. 

“The restaurant industry is looking for every advantage that they can get to increase their revenue and try to survive,” Hopper said, adding that some businesses have lost half or more of their standard revenue in the last year. 

There was some confusion surrounding the new law’s official start date. 

The ABLE Commission and several media reports said the law became effective Wednesday while the office of the speaker of the House of Representatives, however, told News 9 it is official as of 12:01 a.m. August 26. 

An official with the ABLE Commission said it would not penalize any business that began selling cocktails to-go Wednesday.

Kallin said he voluntarily limited how many drinks a customer can carry out at one time to four, even though there is no limit written in the law. 

He said the limit was intended to encourage customers to enjoy the cocktails, not abuse them. 

“We don’t want to encourage that extreme intoxication that any alcohol can bring about,” Kallin said. “We could give out as many as we want to anybody, but we decided that’s not in our best interest or in the interest of the law.”