Kosher organizations, like the CRC (Chicago Rabbinical Council), supply lists of alcohol recommended for purchase and consumption.

May one purchase these alcoholic beverages from a bar (where the bottle is not sealed and drinks are purchased by the shot)? In other words, may one trust the barkeeper that the alcohol in the bottle is indeed the alcohol indicated by the label?

If the answer is yes, does the recent discovery that a (small) number of bars and restaurants on the East Coast were busted for replacing expensive alcohol with cheap alternatives change this?

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    Related question: whether one is permitted to consume alcohol in a bar judaism.stackexchange.com/questions/2254/…
    – yitznewton
    May 24, 2013 at 16:19
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    Would there be monetary interest in replacing it with something non-kosher? E.g. cheap sake can be diluted with wine because it's cheaper. Are there scenarios where it would save money to put wine in the whiskey bottle? I'd assume they might put cheap whiskey, or rubbing alcohol, or water and food coloring - but wine? (Someone challenged R' Moshe's chalav yisrael heter, what if you bribed the inspector? R' Moshe replied - a company will only try bribing an inspect to do something in their rational economic self-interest!)
    – Shalom
    May 24, 2013 at 16:35
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    @Shalom sherry can be put into cheap scotch to make it taste more like high-end scotch. A bottle of sherry can run you $13 retail. A bottle of cheap scotch, $12. A high end scotch can go for hundreds. May 24, 2013 at 16:56
  • @CharlesKoppelman thanks ... were that to happen we would still have R' Moshe's heter of bitul b'shesh, no? (Would it constitute >14% sherry?) Many are machmir on blended whiskey like the Rashba not to rely on bitul if that's the way it's always made; but here it's normally made right, once in a while in the off-chance it was adulterated, it would be batel. No?
    – Shalom
    May 24, 2013 at 17:24
  • @Shalom absolutely! (for those who hold by batel b'shesh for yayin stam) But this is an example of a monetary interest. May 24, 2013 at 18:21

2 Answers 2


An old unanswered but very interesting question.

On trusting the bartender, there might be an analogy with the kashrut of olive oil. R Yirmiyohu Kaganoff writes here that the OU holds that extra virgin oil is reliably kosher regardless of its source and without any other indication. Their reasoning is that although there is a long litany of adulterations and fraud, all have been with vegetable oils and other vegetable sources and none with overtly non-kosher products.

Applying this analogy to alcohol would mean that

  • for those following poskim ruling that some alcohols are kosher by default (e.g., unflavored bourbon, scotch not fermented in wine vats), these would remain kosher even if opened because there is no economic interest for the bartender to mix in non-kosher spirits
  • more expensive alcohols (e.g., expensive single malts) which might be doctored by mixing cheap spirits (e.g., blended whisky + sherry, sake and wine) would be suspicious

I checked with a Rav regarding other issues mentioned by @Daniel (e.g., spills from one bottle to another, bottle touching food) and he didn't find them troublesome, either because they are very low-probability events [see here] or because the bottle and glass are cold . Two important assumptions is that the glass needs to be clean and that no fruit (e.g., lime) is served with the drinks.

For further sources, see here. On the appropriateness of drinking with non-Jews see here, here and there.

Of course CYLOR before applying this in real-life.

  • There was a fascinating article in a Jewish paper magazine (Jewish Action?) on the kashrut of olive oil but I haven't been able to locate it - would be interested if anyone remembers the reference
    – mbloch
    Mar 17, 2016 at 18:48
  • While the question does specifically mention fraud, it might not be the only concern. Perhaps there is some concern that some unkosher beverage might drip into the bottle of the kosher beverage. Or perhaps if the bar serves food, some unkosher food might come in contact with the spigot of the bottle of kosher liquor.
    – Daniel
    Mar 17, 2016 at 19:08
  • Perhaps, but 1) Are these very low-probability events? I have no idea how often spills like that might happen. 2) Even if they are and we do ignore them, these are just examples. Your answer is indeed an interesting application of one particular issue that may indeed be relevant here; however, it is not an exhaustive analysis of all possible issues. As such, it's not really a complete answer. That's why IMO it's best to avoid proposing original halakhic reasoning on Mi Yodeya.
    – Daniel
    Mar 17, 2016 at 19:18
  • @mbloch: you might be referring to this article: judaism.stackexchange.com/questions/25976/…
    – Menachem
    Mar 17, 2016 at 19:55
  • I updated the link, and it was originally published in their kashrut publications
    – Menachem
    Mar 17, 2016 at 20:00

Of course it is not allowed for a jew to consume food or drinks in a non kosher establishment unless he/she buys the kosher product sealed and dont use any of their dishes. Non kosher bars should also be avoided because people might get it wrong, judging a jew is consuming non kosher food, G-d forbid. Moreover, bars often don't have a the best enviroment for someone to be hanging there. Keep it kosher and don't worry! =)

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    As with your other answers, editing in a source would greatly improve its value. I can think of no reason that your first sentence should be true (except perhaps because of the issues you raise in your other sentences, but those would apply to sealed products also).
    – msh210
    May 8, 2014 at 19:24

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