Speed Reads

Really?

Can anything good come of powdered alcohol?

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A U.S. federal agency you've probably never heard of — the Treasury Department's Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB) — recently approved seven different kinds of powdered alcohol, from rum to vodka, sold under the name Palcohol. Beverage attorney John D. Messinger found the application approval, his firm's site BevLaw published his findings, and the internet reacted... with a remarkably responsible thumbs-down.

The idea is simple: You add Palcohol to water or another liquid and it becomes instant booze. You can also add the alcohol powder to food, or ingest it any number of ways. Newsy runs through the controversy and a few of Palcohol's draft marketing ideas — like sneaking the powder into concert venues, college football games, movie screenings, or other events where alcohol is overpriced or forbidden. Or perhaps snorting it. ("Yes, you can snort it. And you'll get drunk almost instantly.... Good idea? No. It will mess you up.")

As terrible as almost all these ideas are, Palcohol's makers did hit upon at least one promising use for their powdered hooch: Hiking. "Who doesn't love to hike... soaking up nature? Hiking is even more fun when you can enjoy a cocktail at the end of the trail." Liquids are an unwelcomely heavy burden while hiking, and now a little packet of powder will serve the same purpose? Sounds worth at least a try, especially if they add a bourbon powder to their seven approved varieties.