You may never have thought about the fact that your food may contain alcohol. Even if it did, you've heard that it all bakes off when the food is cooked, so you shouldn't have to worry about it, right?
The truth is that food can contain enough alcohol to give you a buzz or get you drunk, depending on the alcohol content and amount you ingest. If you're drinking with your meal, the meal may even boost your chances of having a higher BAC, since your own drink will combine with the alcohol found in the meal.
Doesn't alcohol cook off when heated?
Only sometimes. Alcohol boils at a lower temperature than water, needing to be heated only to 173 degrees Fahrenheit before it begins to cook away and evaporate. However, the length of time the alcohol is heated and the level to which it's heated plays a role in how much or little is left in the food after it has finished cooking.
The total amount of alcohol left after cooking depends on three factors: concentration, the level of heat and time. Studies have shown that the amount of alcohol that is left after cooking changes depending on how the food is prepared. Dishes that are simmered over a long period of time can lose most of their alcohol content. It takes around 2.5 hours of cooking to reduce the alcohol to around 5% of the original amount. If the alcohol is added to a boiling liquid and removed from heat, more remains. It's believed around 85% of the original alcohol would stay in the dish.
Should you avoid driving if you eat food that contains alcohol?
Like with any alcoholic drink, food with alcohol in its recipe could give you a buzz or lead to intoxication. It's a good idea to wait to drive, to use a portable Breathalyzer, to hire a taxi or get a ride if you plan to eat food that contains alcohol. If you did not know that a dish contained alcohol and are later stopped and arrested for a DUI, that may be something that you can use as a defense.
Driving when you're intoxicated is never a good idea, and it often leads to collisions, reckless driving and DUI charges. Check the items you're ordering at restaurants or that you're eating at another person's home, so you know if you need to wait before you drive.