On weekends, you can start your party at the source — some of Richmond's ABC stores now offer liquor tastings, a move to pull more money into the state budget. Gov. Bob McDonnell signed the law allowing the events last March, and the first tastings began July 1.
Served in small plastic cups with crackers (giving the entire experience a feeling of Holy Communion), the featured alcohol is often flavored. July's offerings included mojito and strawberry-margarita cocktail cubes, as well as Jim Beam Red Stag and Tito's Handmade Vodka. Tastings are scheduled Fridays and Saturdays.
Just as you can't take a big swig of wine at your church's altar, the ABC stores won't let you over-imbibe: Each customer is limited to half an ounce per sample, and only three samples. Together, that makes an average shot. Maggie Malpass, who conducts tasting events at several Richmond ABC stores, says most people who come into the store are unaware of the new law, but it's usually a welcome surprise: "People are happy when you're giving them free alcohol." To see which liquors are coming up on the schedule, visit abc.virginia.gov/stores/tastings.html.