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?”
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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