Errant Addition to Tequila Shots Sickens Bar Patrons

Cleaning chemical sickens patrons after bartender's mix-up
By Bob Cronin,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 20, 2023 4:27 PM CST
Tainted Tequila Shots Bring London Bar a Fine
Tequila shots, with salt and lime   (Getty/Marcos Elihu Castillo Ramirez)

A London bartender's search for salt to complete a round of tequila shots went wrong, sending four customers to the hospital and resulting in a fine for the nightclub's owners. The barkeep had the drinks ready to be served in December 2021 when he realized he lacked salt to complete them, the Standard reports. He stepped into an unlit storage area and scooped what he thought was salt from a container, using a disposable plastic cup, then finished the drinks. As is custom, the women poured what they thought was salt onto the back of their hands, licked it, and downed their shots. They quickly fell ill.

The "salt" turned out to be caustic soda, which tests later showed had a pH level of 13, meaning it was a strong alkaline, per the BBC. It caused burning in the women's mouths and vomiting; the bartender tasted the cleaning chemical when the women became ill and also felt the burning. The owners of Tiger Tiger, the club in the Haymarket area, pleaded guilty to four health and safety violations last week and were fined more than $150,000. A Westminster City Council member expressed hope that the conviction will serve as a warning to other businesses. "This incident shows that overlooking basic safety measures can have the most serious consequences," Aicha Less said. (More London stories.)

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