leecoursey.jpg
Lee Coursey
Early sunsets and the Oscars race make January a great month for matinees, but Cinebarre patrons will have to enjoy them without bloody

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Think That's Tequila in Your Margarita? Think Again.

leecoursey.jpg
Lee Coursey
Early sunsets and the Oscars race make January a great month for matinees, but Cinebarre patrons will have to enjoy them without bloody Marys.

According to a spokesperson for the popular food, drink and film chain, which operates an eight-screen theater in Mountlake Terrace, hard liquor isn't compatible with movies such as Les Miserables, The Hobbit or Django Unchained, each of which runs nearly three hours with previews.

"We have made a conscious decision to not serving liquor, as all our patrons are sitting for several hours and that runs a higher risk of over serving," Matty Desmarais says. "We are committed to staying responsible with our drink service."

But sticking with beer and wine hasn't stopped Cinebarre from listing cocktails on its menu. The difference is the daiquiris and margaritas are made with wine. Although Desmarais wouldn't reveal which wine is a ringer for tequila, the practice of forgoing spirits is so entrenched in the Mexican restaurant industry that mixer producers specialize in taste-alikes. According to a Houston Culturemap report, 70-80 percent of the city's taquerias can't afford a full liquor license, so instead purchase cases of wine such as Los Cabos Agave Especial.

Wines mimicking tequila, Kahlua and amaretto are big sellers in California, Arizona and Texas, where a spirits license is spendy and the law prohibits drinkers from cocktailing out-of-doors. But there's no prohibition on sipping on beer and wine while celebrating Mardi Gras in the streets of Galveston, so bartenders mix footlong mojitos and hurricanes with wine.

The phony drinks help keep the party going, since agave wine has one-half to one-third as much alcohol as tequila. That means an 180-pound man can down five daiquiris at Cinebarre and still be sufficiently clear-headed to jeer Jack Reacher (although he should probably leave the driving to his buddy with the root beer float.)

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