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Sunday, Oct 17, 2021
Outlook.com

Rotgut Blues

The state's control deprives Chennai of quality liquor

Rotgut Blues
Srikanth Kolari
Rotgut Blues
outlookindia.com
-0001-11-30T00:00:00+05:53
When a bartender fixes a cocktail in Chennai, he's doing something illegal. As per the Tamil Nadu Rectified Spirit Rules, 2000, you can't mix spirits behind the bar. "To serve a Bloody Mary, I have to give you the tomato juice, lime, salt and vodka separately," says a distraught Spanish bartender in one of Chennai's most crowded bars. If you go by the book, almost every pub and bar in TN thrives on illegalities. On paper, Chennai has few real pubs or bars. Most are 'permit rooms', where only residents of the hotel can be entertained. For the record, the permit rooms maintain a ledger to show that guests in their mandatory 15-odd rooms have consumed alcohol that 400 people would consume in an evening.

Both retail and wholesale vending of liquor in the state is controlled by the Tamil Nadu State Marketing Corporation Limited (Tasmac), launched in 1983. During MGR's chief ministership, the state decided to control all wholesale vending of India-Made Foreign Liquor (IMFL). In October 2003, the J. Jayalalitha government took over retail vending...
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