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Old 01-18-2011, 10:13 PM   #1
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Alcohol "Cooking Off"

I like to use wine in a lot of my recipes that call for them, but have a friend who is a recovering alcoholic who is coming for dinner. The chefs on TV typically say that the alcohol "cooks off", but to what extent is this true? I can obvoiusly just omit any wine when entertaining this friend, but I will give up a lot of taste in the recipes. Any help would be appreciated.

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Old 01-18-2011, 10:18 PM   #2
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When alcohol is added to a dish, some of it evaporates and some remains behind in the dish. How much remains behind depends on how long the dish is cooked after the addition of alcohol.


Cooking Method
Alcohol Remaining

Alcohol added to boiling liquid and removed from the heat
85%
Flamed
75%
Stirred in and baked or simmered for:
15 minutes
40%
30 minutes
35%
45 minutes
30%
1 hour
25%
1 1/2 hours
20%
2 hours
10%
2 1/2 hours
5%
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Old 01-18-2011, 10:20 PM   #3
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Sorry but the lines in the chart are off a bit. Clearly all the alcohol does not boil off. I recommend leaving it out all together.
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Old 01-18-2011, 10:33 PM   #4
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This is a question you can ask your friend. I always do in such situations, and many people have no issue with cooked alcohol. A few do and have asked that I leave it out or serve something else.

Wine, simmered or boiled does evaporate, and leaves its elements in the dish. The alcohol has been "changed". Technically it could be reconstituted. Most are not affected by it . Some may be . So I always ask. "Billy, do you mind if I cook with wine or would you prefer me not to?" If then asked "Why do you ask?" I reply I always do as some people prefer not to have alcohol in their food for cultural religious or medical reasons.
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Old 01-18-2011, 10:34 PM   #5
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I, too, have a recovering alcoholic friend. When I'm making the main dish, I just don't put wine in it. I have plenty of recipes that don't require it, so I just make foods that don't require the wine. That way I don't have to worry about it. He's 4 years sober, and I sure as heck don't want to ruin that for him!
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Old 01-18-2011, 10:35 PM   #6
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I wouldn't think the amount of alcohol used in a recipe would affect your friend. No, it does not all cook off, but a splash for flavor is not going to send him/her out binge drinking. If you are that concerned, there are non-alcoholic options in wine and beer.
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Old 01-18-2011, 10:38 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Robo410
This is a question you can ask your friend. I always do in such situations, and many people have no issue with cooked alcohol. A few do and have asked that I leave it out or serve something else.

Wine, simmered or boiled does evaporate, and leaves its elements in the dish. The alcohol has been "changed". Technically it could be reconstituted. Most are not affected by it . Some may be . So I always ask. "Billy, do you mind if I cook with wine or would you prefer me not to?" If then asked "Why do you ask?" I reply I always do as some people prefer not to have alcohol in their food for cultural religious or medical reasons.


The alcohol doesn't change, unless it combusts, in which case the molecules are combined with oxygen. Alcohol can be distilled by evaporating, and condensing back into a liquid, so the alcohol that is left behind in the dish is still going to be plain old alcohol. Heat by itself is not going to change the chemical composition. But I agree completely that this is a question for the friend. Or are you saying the other ingredients that are in the wine, other than alcohol will be left behind?
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Old 01-18-2011, 11:13 PM   #8
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There are so many recipes that don't depend on wine for flavor, so why not just make one of them and eliminate the worry? Or did your friend request a specific dish?

Barbara
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Old 01-18-2011, 11:19 PM   #9
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Technically, everyone here is right. Not all of the alcohol burns off. But when you do the math (eg, 1/4 cup wine, 15% alcohol, cooked for 20 minutes, 85% burn rate, divided among 6 servings) no single serving has more than a drop of alcohol.

As my father (a long time AA member) used to say, "I never got drunk on my food, I got drunk on what was in my glass."

Unless you were planning something with whole bottles of wine, like coq au vin, I wouldn't worry about it.
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Old 01-18-2011, 11:22 PM   #10
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With an alcoholic you have to consider the psychological effect as well. Just knowing there is alcohol in the food could cause problems for someone on the edge.
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