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Liberty on the rocks: the other ice epidemic

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Sydney is in the midst of an ice epidemic. But it’s not the ice you think.

It’s the good old garden variety ice cubes forged in a freezer from fluoridated water. Glasses are overflowing with them these days because it is illegal to serve an alcoholic drink without ice or water in certain parts of this city at certain times. Causing a different type of Watergate in Sydney's bars and pubs, thanks to the lockout laws.

A few weeks ago, I was out in a Surry Hills pub late at night with three friends. I’d recently been to Ireland, where the serving of Jamesons whisky as a nightcap was often offered as a courtesy to pub patrons, sometimes even for free. So I ordered us four glasses of it, to toast the end of the evening.

Whiskey shots must be served with ice thanks to Sydney's lockout laws.

If you didn't already know, thanks to licensing regulations, the serving of shots became illegal at 1.30am on Valentine’s Day 2014 when the lockout laws came into effect. We were out on a weekday evening; the deadline for serving shots of spirits is midnight.

It was around 11.45pm when we ordered. When the bartender served them all “on the rocks”, one of my companions asked for his without ice. He didn’t like ice he........

© The Sydney Morning Herald