tequila in the punchbowl

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genec

New Member
Taiwan/Chinese
The president of the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas said Thursday that he voted against the half-percentage-point cut in U.S. interest rates adopted in late January because he was worried the Federal Reserve was putting too much tequila in the punchbowl.

What does "tequila in the punchbowl" mean?
thanks.
 
  • cuchuflete

    Senior Member
    EEUU-inglés
    Punch is a fruit juice drink, often served from a bowl. It is sometimes "spiked", or has something alcoholic added. This causes the effect of drinking it to be stronger and more rapid. The speaker was suggesting, figuratively, that too much had been done.
     

    emma42

    Senior Member
    British English
    May I ask our American forer@s if this is a well-known metaphor or the imaginative product of a politician's mind? I've never heard it in the UK.
     

    Lexiphile

    Senior Member
    England English
    I'm only half American, but I think it is the imaginative product etc. etc.

    There is the well known metaphor of the "turd in the punchbowl" (as in, "that joke went over like a turd in the punchbowl"), so it's possible that that is where the speaker got the idea.
     

    bibliolept

    Senior Member
    AE, Español
    The idea itself is not unfamiliar to AE speakers. "Spiking" the punch is a time-honored tradition and, one could argue, a noble and selfless calling.

    The writer used tequila because it has the reputation of making people engage in particularly uninhibited and even ill-advised ways.
     

    emma42

    Senior Member
    British English
    Thanks, bibliolept. To my knowledge, tequila does not have that reputation in the UK - no more than any other alcoholic drink anyway.
     

    Harry Batt

    Senior Member
    USA English
    Tequila would have a reputation in Dallas, Texas. There is a high percentage of Mexican documented and undocumented population in the general population. I had never heard "tequila in the punchbowl," but I certainly understood it to mean that the president of the Dallas office thought that there the prime interest rate was cut too much. It would a Texas metaphor.
     

    bibliolept

    Senior Member
    AE, Español
    Personally, as a long-standing imbiber of tequila, I find it amusing that it has been garnered such a bad reputation. It probably began with cowboy movies, where it was invariably the preferred choice of the dark and dirty cantina's most dangerous (and, in all likelihood, most pungent) denizens.

    Not to put too fine a point on this, but "cultural" and economic differences between the US and Mexico (where fine tequilas are sipped, not slammed down), and especially in the USA's vision of Mexico as either Tijuana or Cancun/Acapulco, has lead to the perception of tequila as cheap, strong, and unsubtle, in other words, an ideal "party-hardy" drink.

    EDIT: I don't consider this tangential, as it explains the possible origin of the phrase and helps to more fully explain the speaker's probable mindset and intended meaning.
     
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