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  • Despite having a low alcohol content, cooking wines can still be abused by those with alcohol addiction. In fact, a study by the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) found that even after the cooking process had ended, anywhere from 4 to 95 percent of alcohol remained.

    The larger the surface area, the more alcohol evaporates when cooked. However, those struggling with alcohol abuse may use a large amount of alcohol in hopes of feeling some of the effects.

    How Cooking Alcohol Is Abused

    Whether you’re using red wine, white wine, or some other alcoholic beverage to add to your meal, it is possible to add too much. Those who suffer from alcoholism or an alcohol use disorder (AUD) may try to hide their addiction through the use of cooking.

    For instance, in order to achieve the desired effects of alcohol without having an obvious drink in hand or bringing meals past the boiling point, some may turn to cooking. 

    Cooking alcohol can be abused by:

    • adding more alcohol than the recipe calls for
    • choosing specific meals that require you to use alcohol
    • adding toppings to cover your fish or steak so that less evaporation takes place
    • choosing a meal that requires certain flavorings or liqueurs
    • selecting a smaller pan size so that more alcohol remains after cooking
    • choosing a recipe that requires less cooking time so high percentages of alcohol remain

    Of course, there are always other ways to abuse cooking alcohol, such as drinking it straight from the bottle. 

    Using Alcohol In A Meal 

    In order to hide their alcohol abuse, people may develop cooking methods that require other ingredients that can be combined with alcohol. Some of these include:

    • marinades
    • ​fruity flavors
    • pasta sauces
    • vanilla beans
    • ice creams

    These are just some of the foods that can be paired with alcohol, soaked in alcohol, or even mixed with alcohol to add to your meal. Some of the alcoholic beverages that are popular to use include:

    • tequila
    • ​sherry
    • pinot noir
    • cognac
    • burgundy
    • liqueurs
    • cabernet

    Those suffering from alcoholism may use a bottle of wine or other alcoholic substances in larger quantities so that less alcohol cooks out of the meal than required. 

    The Dangers Of Abusing Cooking Alcohol 

    Those who abuse alcohol while cooking are actually partaking in a risky and dangerous activity. If you’re working around flamed dishes, you may accidentally receive an alcohol burn due to your inebriated state. 

    Those who abuse alcohol can also become clumsy, possibly falling and tripping. When this happens in a dangerous setting such as a kitchen, accidents may occur.

    Health Problems

    On top of these concerns, alcohol, including cooking alcohol, can cause harm to your health in a variety of ways such as:

    • cardiovascular issues
    • cancer
    • high blood pressure
    • stroke
    • digestive issues
    • liver disease

    Abusing any type of alcohol may lead to an alcohol use disorder or alcohol dependence. When this happens, it’s likely necessary for you to undergo detox for your addiction. 

    If you or a loved one has developed a drinking problem, now is the time to begin recovery. To learn more, please contact our helpline today.

    Written by Ark Behavioral Health Editorial Team
    ©2024 Ark National Holdings, LLC. | All Rights Reserved.
    This page does not provide medical advice.

    Idaho State University - No Worries, the Alcohol Burns Off During Cooking - But Does it Really?
    New York State - Alcohol and Cooking
    Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration - Alcohol Misuse
    Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration - Alcohol Use: Facts & Resources
    US Department of Agriculture - Alcohol Retention in Food Preparation
    US National Library of Medicine - Contribution of Red Wine Consumption to Human Health Prevention
    US National Library of Medicine - Red Wine Consumption and Cardiovascular Health

    Medically Reviewed by
    Manish Mishra, MBBS
    on July 16, 2021
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