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Blowing over the limit without touching a drop: The danger of alcoholic foods

On Behalf of | Dec 3, 2020 | drunk driving

It might come as a surprise, but did you know that you could get drunk without ever having an alcoholic drink? Many different foods are cooked with alcohol, and while there is a myth that the alcohol in that food totally evaporates and cooks away, that’s not entirely true.

There are dishes in which the alcohol is just as potent as sitting down and having a drink. There are also dishes where the majority of the alcohol evaporates, but some still remains. This is something to keep in mind if you decide that you want to eat dinner and select a dish cooked in wine or another alcohol.

What are some specific dishes that may contain alcohol?

Some dishes that may contain alcohol include:

  • Flambéed chorizo, in which rum is used to coat the dish. Since this is flash fried, much of the alcohol remains.
  • Fish cooked in white wine, which is cooked for 30 minutes. Around a third of the alcohol used to cook this dish remains after 30 minutes of stewing.
  • Desserts with liquor toppings. These desserts are not normally cooked, so whatever amount of alcohol is added is what will remain.

Any restaurant should have information about which alcohol is added to dishes as well as potentially adding the alcohol content. If you have questions, ask the waiter or waitress.

Is there a way to know how much alcohol you’re ingesting in food?

The best way to know is to ask the chef or cook when they add the alcohol and if they know what amount and percentage they’re putting in. A low-alcohol beverage being added to a two- or three-hour baked dish is likely to have very little alcohol, if any, compared to one that has a bottle of wine added during the last 15 minutes of cooking.

What should you do if you want to eat an alcohol-based dinner at a restaurant?

There is no exact science to knowing how much alcohol remains, so the right thing to do if you’re eating dishes with alcohol is to get a ride home. Whether you’re highly intoxicated or not, it’s not worth the risk of getting a DUI because of a nice dinner out at a restaurant.

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