Palcohol — Coming to a Liquor Store Near You?
It’s official, Palcohol (or, “Powdered Alcohol”) has just been approved for legal sale in the United States but will it be available in a store near you?
According to the Palcohol website, powdered alcohol has many beneficial uses and applications, from the obvious commercial uses to the industrial, yet many state governments are concerned over the potential hazards. Since no one in the public sphere has yet tasted Palcohol, it is more likely that dissenters are ill informed, and jumping to drastic conclusions to a potentially useful and delicious product.
Note: Since Palcohol isn’t available to the public, that’s not Palcohol in the picture. Can you guess what it is? (hint!)
What is Palcohol?
The name comes from the combination of the words “powdered” and “alcohol” which describes exactly what the product is – a powdered form of alcohol created by Mark Phillips, which can be activated by adding 6 ounces of liquids to one packet of Palcohol. Phillips initially approached this idea from the perspective of his active lifestyle, wanting to have a way to enjoy a drink after a hike or long bike ride without having to tote heavy bottles of alcohol and mixers. Individual packets of Palcohol weigh only an ounce and just needs 6 oz of whatever liquid you can think of.
What’s in it?
Mainly, alcohol. There are 2 versions of the packet that are equal to one shot of straight alcohol. “V” is comprised of premium vodka distilled 4 times, and “R” is made with premium Puerto Rican rum. Out at the beach, wanting to relax with a rum and coke? Add 1 packet of R to 6 oz of coke, and bam! You can even mix the Palcohol with 6 oz of water and add additional powdered drink mix, vodka and lemonade anyone? How about an alcoholic Arnold Palmer?
The combinations are endless. If you don’t feel like toting around a variety of liquids as mixers, how about a variety of cocktails? 3 additional flavors, Cosmopolitin, Lemon Drop, and a Margarita flavor will also be available. The cocktail packets are made with alcohol, natural flavors and sucralose for sweetening. In addition, they are gluten free and 80 calories a bag. Just add water for an instant cocktail equivalent to 1 standard mixed drink.
Palcohol and Cocktails
While Palcohol will be providing some pre-mixed powdered cocktail options, that’s not to say it can’t be used as another ingredient for bartenders and mixologists in craft bars. The possibilities for creative new cocktails are truly endless. I think a lot of the powder’s usability will depend heavily on how well it mixes, and what the flavor profile is like. That’s yet to be seen (and tasted), but in my opinion, Palcohol is almost certain to find its way onto craft cocktail menus very soon after it hits the market.
Where can I get it?
Owned privately be Lipsmark LLC, Palcohol is still heavily under wraps. As I said before, no one in the public has actually tasted it and it’s patent is still pending. But according to palcohol.com, the aim is to get Palcohol onto shelves nationally sometime this summer. Palcohol will be sold anywhere liquor can be sold and requires the purchaser to be of legal drinking age in the state of purchase. Palcohol will also be available for purchase online.
Where Can’t I get it?
Unsurprisingly, some lawmakers have taken issue with the idea of powdered alcohol, and a few states have banned it before the product has even hit shelves. Why? In this article, Rep. Chris Hurst of Olympia, WA is quoted as saying, “allowing powdered alcohol into store shelves could lead to people trying to “snort it like cocaine” or spiking the drinks of unsuspecting people.” Both of these concerns, as well as others are addressed on the homepage of Palcohol’s website.
A number of states have decided that it would be easier to ban Palcohol than to simply regulate it the way that it’s meant to be. The National Council on Alcohol and Drug Dependence website lists Alaska, Delaware, Louisiana, South Carolina, and Vermont as already having banned powdered alcohol, while Minnesota, Ohio, New York, and Colorado are still considering the ban. I wonder if these states have taken into account the non-ingestible uses for powdered alcohol, which range in potential from easily transportable antiseptic in remote locations, windshield wiper fluid, and a fuel source for anything from camp stoves to cars.
More Good than Harm
To me, it seems as though powdered alcohol will certainly bring more good than bad to the country as long as it is regulated and used responsibly, just like liquid alcohol. One representative in Washington, Jeff Holy had this to say about Palcohol: “Powdered alcohol is simply for the purpose of intoxication, period. You’re not crafting the finer liquors.” But let’s be honest, all alcohol is for the purpose of intoxication, period. That’s literally why it was invented. In a world where everyone is obsessed with cost and efficiency, doesn’t a movement toward a lighter and potentially cheaper alternative make sense? Whatever the eventual outcome of Palcohol may be, I know I will be trying every flavor as soon as it becomes available.