It is common practice for Surrey County Council to routinely check spirits sold in pubs, clubs, restaurants and similar outlets to establish if the products have been watered down or substituted. It has been less common for us to check products that are made to order such as cocktails.
A wide range of alcoholic cocktails are on offer in nightclubs and trendy bars. These drinks are often selected from a cocktail menu and mixed upon request. Cocktails comprise a mixture of different spirits, fruit juices and similar products. Consumers have no idea how much alcohol they contain.
There is currently no legal requirement to indicate the alcoholic strength of cocktails, although Public Health Minister Caroline Flint has recently announced that the Government is in active discussions with the drinks industry about the implementation of warning labels for alcoholic drinks.
Currently, about 80% of beer packaging already carries a message asking people to drink sensibly but the new warning could go even further, combining information on units with a message such as "don't do drunk". Giving information on units would be beneficial if it is applied to drinks such as cocktails.
This survey gives a small snapshot of the alcoholic content of some cocktails available in bars and clubs in the South of England. It also gives information about the units for each of the cocktails. It is hoped that this information will help drinkers make informed decisions to enable them to drink sensibly.
30 cocktail samples were submitted by Brighton and Hove District Council, Surrey County Council and West Sussex County Council.
Units of Alcohol
ethanol % v/v
(Based on a 2pint jug)
|Woo Woo 1|
|Green Lagoon 1|
|Jose Cuervo Margarita mix lime and triple sec|
|Tasmanian island ice tea|
|Malibu Woo Woo|
|Sex On The Beach 1|
|Lond Island Iced Tea 1|
|Slow comfortable screw against the wall|
|Reggae Rum Punch|