It turns out that a man, named Mark Phillips, is on track to obtain the license to market a powder under the name of Palcohol that, reconstituted only with water, result in a drink alcoholic Or at least that pretends. In principle I would try to market two basic versions, one for rum and another for vodka and; In addition, a series of cocktails: Mojito , Powderita (with a flavor similar to that of, say, a Lemon drop … do not tell me it does not sound promising.
But can you get alcohol powder?
Of course, as of everything more or less. In principle the system of choice and more basic would be to solidify what you want to get in powder and then grating or pulverizing it. So, as with alcohol, you could also get powdered water … But as you know this system generates some problems of a practical nature . The main one, that this dust would cease to be such at room temperature and pressure. And with alcohol we would have it even worse than with water since pure ethanol solidifies at around -114ºC … bad subject.
Then it’s impossible?
The fact is that as much as the current “inventor” for throwing the bluff that he has devised, the thing comes from long ago . The first idea to commercialize some “alcoholic powders” that can be reconstituted to give rise to an alcoholic beverage dates back to 1974 . It was on that date when a patent was registered on this type of “invention” or idea … perfectly described. You can check the registration of this patent in this link .
Even then it was argued with the idea of using a highly absorbent powder substance, for example a maltodextrin (basically, as short “bits” of starch, something that is present in innumerable products of the food industry) and add to this both alcohol , neither more nor less, so that it is completely absorbed and that at the same time the dust remains in this state. Do you think it is cheating or that it can not be done? None of that, on this page, teach you how to make your own alcoholic beverage powder using this method.
But I am afraid that this system is highly inefficient for the purposes of that person interested in the topic having a real practical utility. That is to say, a small relative amount can be added to the drink as if to maintain the powder form, pretending to obtain a result similar to that of the original drink once reconstituted with water. Therefore, it is likely that another solution has been applied. It would be “encapsulation”.
Well, that would be the most likely hypothesis for an explanation that the “inventor” himself (I insist that inventor at the moment, nothing) refuses to reveal to the media making the gracieta that if he revealed to someone his system … he would have to kill him immediately.
Well, I do not think it’s that much, in fact some Dutch students already devised a powder product in 2006 to obtain an alcoholic beverage from it with the mere addition of water. It was called Booz2Go and you can see the proud students explaining their invention to the cameras in this link (Dutch domain required) .
The encapsulation of the alcohol would be carried out from the cyclodextrins . As in the case of the aforementioned maltodextrin, it would be a starch derivative, an oligosaccharide, with a variable number of glucose monomers (between 6 and 9). But in this case, unlike maltodextrin (which would have these monomers distributed linearly) in the case of cyclodextrin these glucosas would adopt a cyclic structure. In this way one can imagine the different cyclodextrins as a large donut in which there is the possibility of “enclosing”, that is, encapsulating other molecules. In fact and badly that despite Mark Phillips, Palcohol as a brand and Lipsmark as a company to which the brand belongs, this is the explanation that can, more or less, be obtained in Wikipedia about powdered alcohol.
Where is the controversy?
As expressed in this fantastic article (which again gives an explanation like the above on how to obtain powdered alcohol) is not a pharmacological or technological issue, the problem comes from the legislative and regulatory point of view to be able to access in theory and with this type of products to places that typically can not be accessed with alcoholic beverages (think of schools, sporting events …). You do not have to be very savvy to realize how easy it is to hide a 30 gram sachet that is the original marketing idea of the Palcohol . (By the way in the previous link do not miss the graphic representation that contains the usual cyclodextrins).
Also, in some media , I do not know the original source (but the headlines are there) have put the cry in the sky to speculate with the possibility and consequences of, instead of preparing with powders a rich Mojito (to say something ), snort them . The eternal dilemma of whether to prohibit something that can be misused (eternal, for some, because I have it clear).
At the same time, the controversy also apparently resides in the legalization and commercialization of Palcohol. According to various news, the competent body to establish the framework under which Palcohol would have to be commercialized (the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau ), admitted in the first instance its sale, for shortly after, a couple of weeks, to prohibit it based on errors in its labeling.
But the subject still contains more substance, perhaps the best, … but we will see that tomorrow, in the form of a series of practical questions that do not end up being clear to me. Also tomorrow we will also know the “sanotas” intentions of the inventor of Palcohol , we will talk about calories , alcoholic content and others … I say this because the accounts do not come out to me .
Note: I want to thank in the soul three people who have clarified doubts and oriented to face this post: without a doubt to Dr. Beatriz Giner , fellow and professor of organic chemistry of the Jose Manuel López Nicolás (a at this point this does not need a presentation, I will say that it is the Master of molecular encapsulation and on which I recommend you read his post about it ) and without forgetting Jorge Ruiz professor of Food Sciences at the University of Copenhagen, according to his profile on Twitter and that was quite on this social network when I started to shake the subject and I provide resources.