There's some not very nice news out of New Jersey right now. After a year-long investigation called, wonderfully, "Operation Swill," state investigators have revealed that 29 bars and restaurants in the state, including 13 TGI Fridays and one Applebee's, stand "accused of putting cheap booze in premium brand liquor bottles and selling it to patrons who thought they were buying the good stuff," reports the AP.
Suddenly every questionable drink comes under fire. How many of us may or may not have been impacted by this? Further worrisome, at least one bar was busted adding food dye to rubbing alcohol and calling it "scotch." And as reported in the New Jersey Star-Ledger, "In another, a bar filled an empty liquor bottle with dirty water and passed it off as liquor." That is no way to bartend. In most instances, the swaps were garden-variety scams, bars swapping "less-expensive booze for premium-brand liquor."
In the words of New Jersey state Attorney General Jeffrey Chiesa, words which should be emblazoned near the CPR sign in every bar from this point forward, "I wouldn't drink rubbing alcohol in my house. It serves a very specific purpose: to rub." No health issues, fortunately, have been reported, though 1,000 bottles of booze have been seized "for testing." The investigation is not a criminal one, but if the establishments' guilt is proven, they could lose their liquor licenses. A side note for your cocktail party conversation tonight, "a confidential informant" provided the tip-off on a number of bars to the investigators.
From the AP, a map of seizure locations:
Watch what you drink, it's a jungle out there! (Humble request: All investigations into any barroom behavior from henceforth be called "Operation Swill.")