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People Are Still Trying to Blame Their DUIs on Tiramisu

A Wisconsin man was charged with his tenth DUI after blaming his erratic driving and high breath alcohol reading on beer-battered fish.
Hilary Pollack
Los Angeles, US

The internet will try to tell you plenty of ways to get out of DUIs. Say as few words as possible and chomp on some Icebreakers so the cop won't smell the piña colada on your breath! Argue that the breathalyzer was horribly miscalibrated! But one tactic that you will rarely see vouched for, on the internet or otherwise, is claiming that your erratic wheel-jerking and prolonged moments of drifting—on top of the reeking, boozy scent-cloud coming from your mouth—are occurring not because you intentionally threw back some drinks, but because you munched on a couple of pieces of beer-battered cod or enjoyed an entrée of veal in a white wine beurre blanc sauce. There's a reason that this is not a popular excuse, and it's because it's idiotic—even for people trawling Yahoo! Answers for ways to get out of DUIs.


Unfortunately, no one told this to 75-year-old John Przybyla of the adorably named town of Friendship, Wisconsin (and very few surname vowels). When he was pulled over in October for swerving over the center line in the road (and having a broken tail light), Przybyla told the police that despite his nine previous DUI convictions, he was sober as a judge during Lent. But, he disclaimed, he had indulged in a few pieces of beer-battered fish. Makes sense, right?

Unfortunately, eating a couple of hunks of pollock dredged in flour and Budweiser (the alcohol of which evaporates immediately upon hitting the deep fryer) is not the type of activity that lands you a .062 blood alcohol reading. Because of his previous convictions, Przybyla was not permitted to have a reading higher than .02, and was charged with his tenth DUI yesterday. One has to imagine that when your DUI count is in the double digits and you also have three open container citations, any excuse seems worth a shot—even the ol' beer-battered fish excuse.

But what about other boozy foods? What of the penne alla vodkas and bourbon caramels of the world? My mother claims that once, when I was eight years old, I acted straight faded after eating four slices of particularly liquor-y tiramisu; however, I was a pretty scrawny child with generally quirky behavior. As an adult, is there any chance in hell that you're going to fail a breathalyzer test after eating a plate of food cooked in booze?

The short (and hopefully fairly obvious) answer is probably not.

Concerned teetotalers and parents may worry about intoxicating themselves or their brethren with a dish that calls for a splash of liqueur, but the truth is that any dish that is warmed, fried, or baked cooks off and away a sizable chunk of the drunkening powers of any spirits within. How much, exactly, depends on the cooking method; according to Ochef, a US Department of Agriculture study once found that while 85 percent of alcohol is retained in liquor added to a boiling liquid that is removed from heat, only 35 percent remains in a dish baked for half an hour. As for something like beer-battered fish, which sits in boiling oil for several minutes, it's safe to say that it's not going to be the chewable equivalent of a gin-and-tonic.

Our friends over at recently determined that you have to eat about 45 liquor-filled chocolates to even get a buzz going. And for the sugar crash and stomach ache, it doesn't seem particularly worth it.

If you're looking for excuses to get out of cruising while on the sauce, just know that the sauce on your pasta shouldn't be one of them.