If you're planning on going out to eat and driving home, make sure you know what's going into your food. Did you know that certain dishes contain enough alcohol that it can register on a Breathalyzer test? In addition to having one or two drinks with dinner, you may even end up being over the legal limit thanks to the food you've eaten.
Most people don't think about the food they're eating as a source of alcohol. There is a strong myth that all alcohol bakes off when cooked, but that couldn't be further from the truth. In reality, a good portion of the alcohol used to cook may remain, even after an hour or two of cooking a meal.
When will foods retain alcohol?
The primary factor that determines if food retains the alcohol added is when the alcohol is added. For example, if you cook a meal with a wine sauce and add the wine at the beginning of the recipe, the likelihood is that it will cook off a decent amount before you serve the dish.
On the other hand, if you add wine for flavor during the last 10 or 15 minutes of cooking, the likelihood is that the half or whole bottle you poured in will still be there when you're eating your meal.
Flaming alcohol does burn off some of the content. However, did you know that around 75 percent of the brandy used when flaming actually remains after the flames dissipate? That can possibly make for a meal with a high alcohol content.
What can you do to avoid a DUI caused by the foods you eat?
The best thing to do is to first understand if the food contains alcohol. If it does, ask when it's added and if the chef or cook knows how long the alcohol will be at boiling temperatures. If the food doesn't reach boiling, the alcohol will not steam off, and you can assume that the alcohol content is the same as what it is when it's added to the dish.
Another thing you can do is make sure you're drinking water with the dish if it already contains alcohol. This reduces the likelihood of reaching a high BAC.
Finally, give yourself time to relax after dinner. Wait for the food to settle and for you to see how you feel. If you're not sure of your sobriety, always call for a cab or ride-share service, so you can get home safely.