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by Lydia Clowney | The Law and the Liquor F ROSSINI’S


APRIL 29 & 30, 2011 DEVOS HALL 7:30 PM

Tickets start at $20 616.451.2741

Parking is available in ramps along Monroe. Late seating is limited. Sung in Italian with projected English translations. Casual attire is welcome.


by the fresh, new boutiques and bars. The Green Well itself has matured into one of Grand Rapids’ better restaurants, combining well-chosen food with some of the best drafts, wines and cocktails in town. In the summer, patrons linger at outdoor tables with enticing drinks and snacks, so that it can be difficult to walk past without a jealous sigh. The sigh is well deserved, for at The Green Well there is a drink as pale and delicate as spring itself. Tall and slender, with the brightness and promise


EW MORE LABYRINTHINE systems exist than the State of Michigan’s liquor laws. Cobbled together over almost a hundred years of post-prohibition legislating, the current laws are a piecemeal attempt to regulate one of America’s favorite pastimes and collect one of her most dependable tax revenues. The laws permitting and

restricting the sale and consumption of alcohol affect us more than we might think — if we even think about it beyond the age of majority or the operation of motor vehicles. When we take a deeper look into the history and progress of our state’s policies, we gain insight into our drinking culture. Prohibition changed drinking in America forever.

The rise of speakeasies led to the acceptance of women in drinking establishments. Cocktails came into favor because of the need to mask the taste of poor-quality homemade liquor. Hard liquor rose to new prominence given its ease of transport compared to beer, shutting down over half the breweries in the countries even after repeal. Organized crime gained a lucrative new product to smuggle, making them more powerful than ever before. The changes prompted by prohibition did not end with the passing of the 21st Amendment, when the country was left to wrestle control of the alcohol industry back from the mob. After the fall of Prohibition, Michigan was the first state to ratify the 21st Amendment, which gave the power

to regulate alcohol to the states. Michigan became an alcoholic beverage control state, holding a monopoly over the wholesaling of distilled spirits. Today, the state monopoly governs the types and brands of liquor sold as well as its price and quantity. It has a huge effect on the bars, restaurants, and stores that sell alcohol, and all of us who buy it. This is the first installment in a series on the laws surrounding liquor in the State and their affect on drinking culture. n


N THE YEARS SINCE THE Green Well Gastropub opened, many things have changed on Cherry Street in Grand Rapids. The area has been invigorated

of summer, the Zen Green has a place in the saturated drinks scene because it fills an overlooked niche. For those of you wondering what a martini drinker is to do when the same old gin and ver- mouth doesn’t inspire, the Zen Green is a strange and wonderful alternative. The drink combines Tyku melon liquor with citrus vodka, a bit of soda, and the Korean rice liquor known as soju in a tall tumbler of ice. This is a drink made for slow sipping on a sunny afternoon. It is deceptively light, though with a prodigious alcoholic kick, and has a subtlety uncommon to summertime coolers. The melon liquor lends a dry fruitiness complimented by the delicately sweet soju, and the citrus in the vodka and in the garnish show lemon at its most compelling. Spring is here. n

The Zen Green is available at The Green Well, lo- cated at 924 Cherry St. SE, for $8.99. thegreenwell. com, (616) 808-3566.



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