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How To Make Powdered Alcohol
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Old 04-23-2014, 04:15 PM
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Default How To Make Powdered Alcohol

How To Make Powdered Alcohol

The only way to make unadulterated alcohol into a powder would be to freeze it solid. The temperature required to do that would destroy your tongue when you ate it though, not to mention certain other logistical concerns. The trick, therefore, is to start with a highly sorbent powder as a base, and add alcohol to it -- just enough so that the alcohol is fully soaked up, but the powder remains powdery.


The best easily obtainable powder I've found for this purpose is a specially modified starch, a maltodextrin made from tapioca and sold under the name N-Zorbit M. Each granule of this light, fluffy starch has a micro-fuzzy texture that gives it a great deal of surface area so it adsorbs liquids very well. It's popularly used in high-tech cooking to soak up fats, for instance in the "olive oil powder" recipe that appears in Modernist Cuisine. But it can also soak up alcohol pretty well.


It used to be hard to find in reasonable quantities for home use, but now you can buy it affordably from suppliers like Modernist Pantry or WillPowder. There's plenty of other maltodextrin out there, but those won't work for this purpose -- N-Zorbit is the one you want. (Other starch derivatives, such as cyclodextrins, would probably be even better for this task than maltodextrin, but those aren't as easy to find. Yet.)

1. Weigh out 100 grams of N-Zorbit into a mixing bowl. Because the powder is so fluffy and light, this will be a sizeable mound.

2. While whisking steadily, drizzle in 30 grams of high-proof spirit. I use Lemon Hart 151-proof rum. After you've stirred it in completely, the powder should be dry, but somewhat chunky. If it's still moist, sprinkle in a little more N-Zorbit.

3. Sift the dry liquor through a fine sieve to break up the chunks and make a nice powder. If you're making a larger batch, you can do it in a blender and step 3 won't be necessary.




Voila! You've got powdered booze. You can stir it into water or another mixer to taste, to make a delicious sippable; sprinkle it on food (rum powder is great on desserts); or just lick a little bit of powder off your finger for the novelty. Be careful: it's highly flammable! Don't get it anywhere near a flame.


You may be able to use a lower-proof spirit, but that will require significantly more N-Zorbit to soak it up. And the more powder you add, the more weakly the flavor of the spirit will come through. On the other hand, if you have access to 190-proof neutral grain spirit, you can make a very strong powdered booze indeed.


I don't know if this is similar to Palcohol's secret method, which (according to the leaked label above) has close to a 1:1 ratio of alcohol to non-alcohol content by weight. But I look forward to trying their product when it's ready!

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