Everclear is Ever-Controversial

April 30, 2009 at 7:39 pm Leave a comment


Playing with Fire: The Everclear Paradox

: $8 dollars per 375ml, $14+ per 750ml
Origin: St.Louis, Missouri
*Flammability: Very High!!!
*Poisoning Risk: Very High!!!
Taste: -Tastes like a lab chemical
-Utterly undrinkable unless heavily diluted
+Satisfactory in properly mixed drinks
Value: Superb
Hangover Risk: Very Low (when used MODERATELY)
Risk of Death: Higher than you might imagine

Everclear, a grain alcohol spirit made by Luxco Distilling Company out of St. Louis, MO, is considered the world’s strongest alcoholic drink, at a concentration of 95% alcohol by volume (ABV)  (190 proof) and 75.5% ABV (151 proof).  For comparison purposes, consider that rum and vodka is typically manufactured at 40% – 60% ABV (80 – 120 proof). 

How do we know that Everclear is the world’s strongest drink?  Everclear is a neutral grain spirit, a class of alcohol characterized by its clear, colorless qualities with a very high concentration of ethyl alcohol (ethanol) Since 95.6% ethanol and 4.4% water form an azeotrope (meaning that simple distillation cannot remove any of the remaining water), 191-proof spirits are the maximum proof that is available from the distilled beverage industry. Chemistry will not allow for a high proof spirit!

Taken straight, Everclear tastes like jet fuel and can do serious bodily harm.  As a result of the extremely high alcohol content, Everclear is rarely consumed in the pure state.  Everclear is typically added to soft drinks, energy drinks, fruit juice and iced tea, and is sometimes used in place of vodka, rum or other 80-proof spirits in jello shots.  Everclear is also used in cooking because the alcohol extracts flavors exceptionally well and is used for making custom liqueurs such as rose or limoncello.  The liqueurs are created by infusing the Everclear with fruit and diluting with simple syrup to 30% ABV or 60 proof.

Due to the public health concern associated with such a high proof product, many states have either outlawed Everclear completely, or only allow the lower, 151 Proof product.  The 190 proof product is illegal to sell in California, Florida, Hawaii, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia and Washington.  A handfull of the aforementioned states allow sale of the 151 proof version. 

Everclear as a consumer product is popular, not for the enjoyable flavor or high quality, but for potency.  As a result, Everclear should be used in only industrial applications, allowing manufacturers to create liqueurs and other by-products.  The threat of over-conusumption of the product outweights any free-market benefit for availability in pure form to consumers.

Final Boozenews verdict: Allow for direct Everclear sale to rectifyers and other manufacturers for use in infusion and other industrial purposes.  Keep Purple Passion in stores and throw out the Everclear!

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