"Powdered Alcohol”: Well, That's Not Going To Be a Disaster At All Melanie Schmitz

Last week, the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau approved (and then reversed… and then potentially re-approved) Palcohol, a brand of “powdered alcohol,” for use in the United States. Created by Mark Phillips, wine expert and author of Swallow This: The Progressive Approach to Wine, the brand features four distinct flavors, including Cosmopolitan, Mojito, Powderita  (Margarita) and Lemon Drop. Each can be carried on the go (“Sometimes liquid isn’t convenient,” Phillips explained) and added to mixers like Coke or orange juice, or combined with five ounces of water. Can you add it to food? “I suppose so, but you’re not adding flavor to the dish, just alcohol,” he acknowledges. “We have yet to explore its potential of being added to food. You have to add Palcohol after a dish is cooked as the alcohol will burn off if you cook with it.”

An exciting option for the summer holidays, perhaps?

Already, critics have called for a complete reversal and ban of Palcohol, insisting that buyers would be tempted to snort it or use more than one packet at a time (one packet being the equivalent of one shot). Edgy marketing on the company’s fledgling website, which Phillips claims was not intended to be a final draft or used for press distribution purposes, warned, “Yes, you can snort it. And you’ll get drunk almost instantly because the alcohol will be absorbed so quickly in your nose. Good idea? No. It will mess you up.” Many fear that teens will easily get their hands on the product. A MADD spokesperson (Mothers Against Drunk Driving), worries, “It’s easy to hide… it’s undetectable. The real key is for parents to be on top of [this].”

Still, some have expressed excitement at “portable alcohol” discreet enough to take to baseball games… and the ballet… and the Met. One supporter comments, “It’s not some concentrated super-alcohol product, it is simply encapsulated liquor. I don’t see how it can be any more dangerous than the original product,” while another fan jokes, “It will go great next to the sugar and creamer packets in the coffee break room.”

If this is all bizarre to you, just remember that this isn’t the first time an alcoholic beverage has made us all collectively say “…huh?

  • The concept of adding alcohol to food isn’t a new one, but it seems people are eager to find new ways to do so. Take the “Mac & Cheese Shot”: while it clearly isn’t a “shot” in the traditional sense, the recipe calls for customary Mac & Cheese ingredients with the added combination of a shot of rum mixed with the cheese packet. One can only assume it tastes like a college reunion gone wrong.
  • Speaking of comfort food, you may want to add alcohol-infused gummy bears to your party refreshments list. These little babies have been making the rounds on Pinterest for a while now. While some suggest injecting the gummies, two ladies propose a more ingenious method: after selecting your favorite liquors, empty the gummy bears (or worms… or any other gummy animal you can think of) into separate bowls and fill accordingly. Cover them with plastic wrap, pop them in the fridge and, after 24 hours, you’ll have a colorful array of childhood regret to snack on during your next girls night.
  • Alcohol popsicles and milkshakes and Champagne Jell-O, oh my. The staples of any picnic, it seems, according to this Hamptons website. The traditional Kahlua cake and pina colada cupcakes top their list, but they’ve thrown in a recipe for “Bourbon Apples” as well. Which is what everyone needs in their fruit basket.
  • What better to have with your pizza than… more pizza? According to Tom and Athena Seefurth of Illinois, there is no greater combination than pizza and beer, which is why they’ve created the unruly concoction, “Pizza Beer”. During the beer’s brewing process, wheat crust, garlic, oregano, tomato and basil are all added into the mix and then steeped for a set amount of time. Don’t worry, they totally strain out the soggy food bits before bottling, leaving only “the essence of pizza.” We think.
  • Bacon Vodka. Considering the fact that you can actually purchase bacon cologne, does this one surprise you at all? In case you were wondering if it’s at all palatable, the fine folks at the Tasting Panel awarded it the highest honors in their 2010 Publisher’s Pick.
  • Alcoholic yogurt from Holland may not be catching on here in the States, but it’s a huge hit in Japan at the moment. Containing 16% alcohol content, consumers can mix it with juice, soda or milk, or simply drink it on its own. Activia it is not. No one alert Jamie Lee Curtis or we may have a situation on our hands.

What are some of the weirdest ways to consume alcohol that you’ve heard of? Will you try the new Palcohol when (if) it finally hits shelves later this year?

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