Iowa law allows on-premises liquor licensees to mix, store, and dispense mixed drinks, cocktails and alcohol infusions which are not for immediate consumption. These are premixed drinks.

A premixed drink is:

  • Any alcoholic liquor combined with:
    • Other alcoholic beverages,
    • Nonalcoholic beverages, or
    • Other ingredients, including but not limited to ice, water, soft drinks, or flavorings.
  • Mixed with the intent to serve at a later time.

A premixed drink is not:

  • Drinks that are mixed and served immediately upon order.
  • Drinks containing alcoholic liquor that are packaged in a can by a beer manufacturer. 

View more on Canned Cocktails

Back to top

Rules for Licensees & Pre-mixed Drinks

A liquor licensee must:

  • Use the alcoholic beverages their license allows them to obtain legally.
  • Follow all applicable state and federal food safety regulations.
  • Follow all state and federal alcohol regulations.

A liquor licensee cannot add:

  • Hallucinogenic substances.
  • Caffeine or other stimulants.
  • Controlled substances.

A premixed drink batch must be:

  • Mixed and stored in a labeled container that is compliant with state and federal food safety statutes.
  • Dispensed and sold for on-premises consumption, or 
  • Sealed and sold for off-premises consumption.
  • Disposed of within 72 hours of mixing.

A premixed drink batch cannot be:

  • Stored in a sealed container prior to sale.
  • More than three gallons. 
  • Mixed, stored, or dispensed from an original package of liquor or wine, or a container bearing an alcoholic beverage name brand.
  • Added to a relabeled empty container or another premixed drink batch if expired.
Back to top

Label Requirements

A label must be on each container that holds a premixed drink batch. The label must adhere to the container, in a noticeable place, until the entire contents are dispensed or destroyed.

The label must clearly identify:

  • The date and time the alcoholic beverages were mixed with the nonalcoholic ingredients in the container, 
  • The date and time the contents expire, 
  • The title of the recipe used for the contents, 
  • The size of batch, and 
  • The person who prepared the contents.

Each label must be marked clearly with the words "CONTAINS ALCOHOL."

Back to top

Record Keeping Requirements

Records must be kept for three years on each prepared batch of premixed drinks.

The records must identify:

  • The date and time the alcoholic beverages were mixed with the nonalcoholic ingredients in the container. 
  • Each alcoholic beverage, including the brand and amount used in the batch. 
  • Each nonalcoholic ingredient used in the batch. 
  • The recipe title and directions. 
  • The size of the batch. 
  • The person who prepared the contents. 
  • The date and time the contents were destroyed or consumed. 
  • If not consumed, the method of destruction, and 
  • The person who destroyed the contents.
Back to top

Dispensing Machines

Label requirements apply when the premix in the dispensing machine contains alcohol.

Label requirements do not apply if:

  • The dispensing machine contains a nonalcoholic premix, and
  • Any alcoholic beverages are added after receiving and dispensing a customer’s order.
Back to top


A failure to follow these rules will result in a fine, license suspension, and/or license revocation.

Iowa Code References: House File 2465, Iowa Code 123.3, 123.49, and IAC 185-4.5 

Back to top