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Residual Alcohol  

post #1 of 4
Thread Starter 
Some say that all of the alcohol in wine, beer or spirits added to food "cooks out." Others say that it doesn't. Also, I understand that there is a certain natural level of alcohol in many foods.

How much alcohol remains when it is added to a simmering sauce? Boiling sauce? Does it approach the natural level in foods?

Thanks again.
post #2 of 4
Because alcohol has a chemical affinity for water, you can never cook all of it out of a dish unless you desiccate it. How much you do cook out depends on the cooking process and its duration. Flaming removes as little as 25%, while long-simmered stews can lose 90-95%.

post #3 of 4
So when you deglaze a pan with wine and cook it down "au sec" (until dry -- well, almost), you are removing more than 95% of the alcohol? Using that technique, could you actually remove all of it? How much of the flavor elements from the liquid remain -- more than might be carried away during the evaporation?
"Notorious stickler" -- The New York Times, January 4, 2004
"Notorious stickler" -- The New York Times, January 4, 2004
post #4 of 4
Yes, if you’re removing nearly all the water, then you’re removing nearly all the alcohol too. But you’d also be removing much of the aromatic content of the liquid. The non-volatile, non-aromatic materials would stay—sugars, acids, salts, savory amino acids, tannins if any. But most of the aromatics would be perfuming the kitchen air.

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