Here’s something some (or most) readers may already know — but I only recently learned.
I’ll share this cool information with you so you don’t get all hot if you see it the next time you pay a bar tab, particularly in a hotel. (Because that’s really the only place I’ve encountered this issue.)
Frankly, I’m embarrassed to admit this was new information to me. One of my brothers-in-law is mixologist and former bar manager. My sister used to wait tables at a restaurant that served drinks. I enjoy visiting a hotel lounge or bar every so often (for blogging or other business purposes, of course).
That’s Not Neat
Several years ago, my wife and I had dinner at The D Hotel’s Andiamo Steakhouse in Las Vegas (The restaurant is terrific and one of The D’s only redeeming qualities. But that’s another story, another time.)
I ordered a Woodford Reserve on the rocks. (What? Chris drank just one bourbon at dinner? That is shocking! No, that’s not the surprise.)
Check out the tab.
I remember thinking, Seriously? Vegas is not only hitting us with resort fees but now they charge for ice?! I mean, I know this is the desert but c’mon. I have to start ordering my drinks neat (which means “straight, without ice.”).
So, I accepted it — and felt like I got away with something any time the “rocks” wasn’t an itemized charge. (Side note: the Andiamo Meatball is fantastic.)
On a trip to New York last year, the “Rocks $” itemized charge showed up at W New York – Times Square’s Living Room lounge.
Are You Seriously Being Charged for Ice?
So what’s the scoop?
It turns out nothing nefarious is going on (hopefully). Scott Roeben (a.k.a. Vital Vegas) explained:
When a customer orders liquor on the rocks, it’s standard to pour an extra half-ounce of liquor. A standard pour is 1.5 ounces, but drinks on the rocks contain two ounces.
The $3 charge, then, is for the additional liquor, not the ice. A common term for the additional charge is a “rocks bump.”
Apparently, one of the motivations for this practice is 1.5 ounces of liquor doesn’t look like very much alcohol when poured into a rocks glass. Those in the bartending field say customers who order drinks on the rocks are well aware they’ll get a larger pour, and customers tend to feel they’re actually getting a decent deal because they’re getting a third more hooch for a nominal charge.
Indeed, look at this standard neat pour from Bellagio.
The bourbon on the rocks at the top of the post looks a little sexier, doesn’t it?
Twitter user @John_Nissan notes, “rocks could mean a number of things depending on the POS, could mean a double, Cadillac marg, or a shot added to a corona.” (POS is an abbreviation for “point of sale.” Think a cash register, computer screen where an employee enters your order, etc.)
rocks could mean a number of things depending on the POS, could mean a double, Cadillac marg, or a shot added to a corona
— 🐺 (@John_Nissan) March 29, 2017
Looks like I need to buy Vital Vegas a drink on the rocks!
You’re Not Getting Charged Anything Additional For Ice
Sip your drink and relax. The “rocks bump” or “rocks pour” seems to be a hospitality industry standard. It’s an extra half-ounce (at least, in most cases?) of liquor added to drinks served with ice. You’re not paying extra for ice.
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