You enjoy eating meals with wine reductions and desserts soaked in rum. You like to try anything with alcohol, but you always believed that eaten in food, alcohol was no longer a concern.
The truth is much more complicated. Foods that are mixed with alcohol may end up with little alcohol content, but they may also retain enough alcohol that you could become drunk after a few servings.
Don’t fall for the myth of food-based alcohol sobriety
If you intend to eat something with alcohol in its ingredients, don’t assume that alcohol won’t affect you. Foods cooked in alcohol have the potential to make you drunk, just like drinking alcohol could. Shrimp scampi. Medallions in wine sauce. Beer cheese soup. Baked Alaska. And so on.
There is some truth to the statement that alcohol burns off during cooking. Yes, some alcohol does evaporate and burn off during the cooking process. It’s probably less than you think, though.
If you eat a meal with an empty stomach to start with, your body absorbs as much as possible from the food when you do finally eat. If you eat a meal that has an alcohol reduction, there’s likely to be up to 85 percent of the alcohol content remaining. For instance, if you have a flambeed meat, the alcohol is added to the boiling pot before the pot is removed from heat. There’s no real cooking time, so very little alcohol dissipates.
Another thing to consider is how long the food cooks. If you cook a meal for 30 minutes, you’re likely to still have around 70 percent of the alcohol left that you originally added to the food. That’s not a lot if the alcohol itself is of a low proof, but a higher proof could leave you feeling woozy after you eat. And of course, if you drink any wine or beer with the alcohol-infused food, it all adds up.
Not watching how alcohol in food affects you could catch you off guard. It’s possible to end up with a DUI charge if you get behind the wheel after eating foods cooked in alcohol.