Did you know that many household items have alcohol in them? One of those items, vanilla extract, is often used by people who love to cook. It has a wonderfully sweet aroma, and you wouldn't ever think that it could cause problems like DUIs.
Interestingly, it can. Vanilla extract is so strong in its base form that it is diluted using alcohol. To get different flavors, varied alcohols and levels of alcohol are used. The flavor of vanilla extract is made with a process of curing, also.
Pure vanilla extract has a minimum of 35 percent alcohol by volume. This is the Food and Drug Administration's (FDA's) standard. Imitation vanilla extract also contains around 35 percent alcohol, even though it is made with vanillin (synthetic vanilla).
The reason to know this is that while the alcohol does burn off when cooking, it is possible to become intoxicated by drinking it directly. There are substitutes that don't use alcohol at all, which is beneficial for those looking to avoid drinking alcohol or ingesting any that might remain in a dish after using the extract.
If you drink a small amount of vanilla extract, there's not likely to be a problem. However, if you ingest a lot of it, then you could end up with a DUI if you choose to drive. Keep this in mind and remember that the things you eat may contain alcohol that you're not aware of. It's your responsibility to know, but it could also be a helpful defense if you weren't aware that something like an extract was made with alcohol.