Probation and Cooking Alcohol.

Can people on probation or parole use cooking alcohol, cooking Sherry, cooking Brandy and the like?

The reason why I ask is sometime back, while she was still on probation parole or whatever, I saw Martha Stewart use cooking Sherry on her show.

Immediately I thought “busted!”. But then I thought for a moment is it legal?

Thank you in advance for your replies.


Was “no drinking” one of the conditions of her specific probation?

Yes, it all depends on the order. The probation orders I’ve seen which prohibit the ownership or consumption of alcohol (and not all of them do) make no exceptions. Otherwise too many probationers would say, nudge nudge wink wink, “Oh, no, really, Your Honor - I just use it for cooking!”

IIRC the stuff bottled as “cooking” wine or sherry has a good bit of salt added to make it unpalatable, if not undrinkable. would that change things?

Not if they distill it. (Can they do that?)

Salt water is an emetic. I’ve always assumed that they put enough salt in cooking wine to make it undrinkable, at least in the sense that you can’t keep it down.

No alcohol might make sense as a probation condition for, say, drunk driving. But it’s tough to see the connection with insider trading.

The salt is a preservative, and from what my cursory Google search revealed, probably isn’t enough to alter the taste that much. It takes a LOT of salt to make a person sick, so much that salt water is no longer recommended for people who have swallowed poison, because people, most of them small children, have died from hypernatremia because they didn’t throw it up.

So at one point a family member was on Antabuse. This person was coming to dinner and I was planning to make my easiest meal, a pork roast. Very simple recipe, sear roast, add two cups of finely chopped onion and two cups of red wine. Later, when it’s done, make gravy.

At the time there was an internet but I could not find the answer to the question of whether someone on Antabuse could handle a pork roast cooked in two cups of alcohol, given that it cooked a long time, that I fed it to my children who were pretty young at the time. I was so unsure that I cooked something else (about time I learned to cook something else, really).

I still don’t know. This recently came up again. I made chili and was feeding it to someone who’s on probation and who gets UAs every so often. I was like, should I make a separate chili for this guy? Should I at least tell him that before the chili cooked for an hour and a half I put in 3/4 of a cup of brown ale? Again, I was not hesitant to feed this to little children. I certainly wouldn’t feed them anything alcoholic. But I don’t know if it would (a) show up on a UA or (b) react with Antabuse.

I realize this is different that somebody on probation using booze to cook with. I can’t see any reason that person couldn’t cook with it unless they were prohibited from buying and/or possessing it. Ingesting it might be another thing, or would it?

Ignorance fought. Thanks.

I’ve taken a swig of cooking wine. I can’t imagine any human being, no matter how much they were jonesing for an alcoholic bite, could drink that in any amount that would give them a buzz. I see vanilla extract and mouthwash before I can see someone trying to down enough cooking wine to get them hammered.

The chili wouldn’t have been an issue; even if the alcohol hadn’t cooked off, the amount he would have ingested would have been negligible, and metabolized almost immediately.

As for Antabuse, even the alcohol in a spoonful of an OTC cough syrup can make a person terribly sick, so that would have been a “when in doubt, leave it out” kind of thing, were you to make that recipe again.

You can’t leave out a third of the recipe (basically) without it being a different recipe. I would just make a whole different dish. But on the other hand isn’t alcohol that has cooked for hours not really alcohol any more? That’s what I don’t know.

Maybe this is what wineries do with the batches that go a bit off, but not far enough off to transform into vinegar?

Consider that a lot of folks ask for mercy at sentencing time due to suffering from an addictive disease, which led them to impaired judgment/diminished capacity. So it’s not at all unusual for probation/parole boards to make abstinence a condition of their release on probation. Or for sentencing judges to do the same.

It would also depend on how the order was written. And she may not have violated it. Did she consume the alcohol, would taking a bite or two of chicken cooked in a little wine count? I doubt it. The court order may have prohibited her from keeping alcohol at home or purchasing alcohol but she didn’t do that. She’s not cooking in her home kitchen, she’s in a studio somewhere. She’s at work, she’s performing.

But it would all depend on how the order was phrased. If she pours some wine into a pan while she’s at work as part of her job…she doesn’t own the alcohol and she’s not consuming it.

I’m sorry I don’t have a more precise cite, but I read an article (probably in Cooks Illustrated) that alcohol does NOT fully cook off, even in stews. It’s obviously not enough to get anyone even tipsy unless maybe you ate the entire pot of stew, but I don’t know how sensitive Antabuse is.

I know that people in AA often don’t eat foods cooked with alcohol even if they think it has “cooked off” because it’s a potential first step onto a slippery slope.

Possession of hand sanitizer?

Never seen that prohibited in a court order.

You are correct. Unless you cook it bone dry there will always be some alcohol left.

Here’s some cites:
And a pdf from USDA:

concludes that 4-85% of the alcohol is retained after cooking.