Times: Talmudic Daiquiris in Louisiana

No doubt on a hot day like today many a person is imbibing a frozen alcoholic drink.

Be careful. It is illegal in most states to drive with an open container of alcoholic contents in your automobile.

In Louisiana, Talmudic logic justifies a popular drive through daiquiri stand. The establishment is probably not under rabbinic supervision, but likely under rabbinic admiration for this argument: if you serve the drink in a covered cup and you provide the straw separately, that is surely not an open container violation! But wait, some say, not enough! You must put tape around the lid! Others say you must not have a hole in the lid at all.

Can you say, Straw splitting logic?

Have a happy 4th and drive safely. All rabbis agree, you should never drink and drive.
There You Go! Now Drive Safe, You Hear?

The drive-through daiquiri stand is a Louisiana institution, a celebration of the state’s sense of duty in matters of amusement as well as its sense of amusement in matters of law.

Pull up in the carport here at Maggio’s Discount Liquors, listen to the nostalgic ding-ding of a full service gas station and tell the smiling young woman (for the attendants are often smiling young women) what unnatural flavor you prefer: Junglerita? Vodka Freeze? Blue Cactus?

In it comes, through the driver’s side window in a cup with a lid. But see here, Your Honor: the straw itself is handed over separately. Ergo, this is not an illegal open container.

This is one of the many theories in daiquiri stand jurisprudence, a nuanced sphere of law that goes back for years and involves local ordinances and state statutes that address topics like whether a container is open if “a straw protrudes therefrom.” Clarification is as elusive as a pink elephant.

Troy Hebert, the commissioner of the Louisiana Office of Alcohol and Tobacco Control, said that even he was not completely clear on the ins and outs of daiquiri stand compliance. Generally, he said, “the state has recognized that if you put tape around the lid,” you’re O.K.

There is a loophole, however, which in this case is an actual hole. Last year a state senator tried to address the straw issue. “His legislation wanted to outlaw the hole,” Mr. Hebert said. It failed in committee.

This is a political matter, of course, and people vote with their cars, which are frequently in two lines snaking out of the Maggio’s carport and along the street.

Maggio’s is more ambitious than many other drive-through daiquiri stands in the state. Like others, it has the usual big board of Technicolor daiquiri flavors, in sizes that run from small to “the Monster,” with “Family Size” somewhere in the middle.

But Maggio’s also offers a scrumptious eggnog around Christmastime, as well as nonfrozen fare like Seven and Sevens, Hennessy and Cokes and even Jell-O shots (75 cents a pop). Happy Hour runs from 4 to 6.

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