A collection of perfectly positioned gin bottles in four rows
What Does It Mean To 'Marry' Liquor Bottles, And Why Is It Harmful?
By Lauren Farkas
Whether at a luxurious rooftop bar or an underground dive, as long as the venue wants to keep its liquor license, it must abide by the same rules for the safety of everyone involved. You will never see a responsible bartender pouring the leftover contents of one liquor bottle into another, or 'marrying' liquor bottles, as the practice is risky and a violation of the law.
According to the consumer safety website SafeProof.org, marrying liquor violates 26 U.S. Code § 5301, which bans refilling liquor bottles. Barkeepers may want to marry their liquor bottles so that they do not have to keep two open bottles of the same brand on their shelves, but the danger comes with the chance of one bottle being contaminated and subjected to recall.
Per the website, "Even though the appropriate brand is poured into a correctly labeled bottle, they are from different distillation batches. If one batch should be recalled for a quality problem, such as excessive alcohol or contaminants, the bottle code no longer reflects its content after marrying bottles." Contaminating an untainted bottle with tainted liquor puts consumers' health and safety at risk, so recalls must be taken seriously.