Half a croissant, on a plate, with a sign in front of it saying '50c'
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Gaseous alcohol

Just a novelty, really
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Here's an idea: sell alcohol not in liquid, or solid (as has already been posted here) form, but in the gaseous phase!

Picture this: high-proof drinks are mixed in vats at the factory then placed in vacuum chambers (ie. no oxygen and water vapor, only alcohol and maybe some nitrogen or something). As the pressure decreases (not much is necessary because alcohol has a much lower boiling point than water, oil, etc.) the alcohol vaporises. It is placed in jars and sold in vials about the size of an 8oz drinking glass. At room temperature, the alcohol (which has been mixed with similarily volatile colorants) appears as a faint vapour in the jar. Upon opening the top, the alcohol immediately condenses into liquid for easy consumption. The hissing noise as the vial is opened only adds to the effect.

You could also leave it uncoloured and simply have the alcohol appear literally out of thin air as you opened the top. Maybe people would actually buy it.

Macwarrior, Mar 03 2003

Polish Pure Spirit http://www.sasky.co.../spirits/vodka.html
After a quick Google - 80% alcohol. I don't think they export the other stuff. [8th of 7, Oct 04 2004, last modified Oct 06 2004]

Knockeen Hills Irish Poteen http://www.irish-poteen.com/main.html
The real stuff. Up to 90% alcohol by volume. [8th of 7, Oct 04 2004, last modified Oct 06 2004]

Three Million people in the UK have an alcohol dependency http://news.bbc.co..../health/2817781.stm
A sobering thought ? [8th of 7, Oct 04 2004, last modified Oct 06 2004]

Breathable alcohol http://www.atsnn.com/story/108914.html
cough cough [MikeOxbig, Jan 02 2006]

[link]






       Have you ever consumed pure alcohol? And have you considered what this vacuum-tight jar will look like?
phoenix, Mar 03 2003
  

       Just what we need. More stupid ways to consume a killer drug. Perhaps we could get Barney to endorse it? Then the kids would get into it even earlier. BONE!
briandamage, Mar 03 2003
  

       //Maybe people would actually buy it// once. Um... the difference in density between the liquid and gaseous form of alcohol means you'd get what, a few drops in your bottle? I hope you're not charging too much.
Worldgineer, Mar 03 2003
  

       Is that alcohol on your breath?
Honestly, officer, hic, I only had a wiff...
pluterday, Mar 03 2003
  

       There would be almost nothing there, kinda resembling this idea.
Shz, Mar 03 2003
  

       Ahh, so it wasn't even baked at all. That's the truth: I came up with it on the spur of the moment and baked it as I was writing it.   

       Ok, to answer the questions about the amount? maybe we could incorporate a small heater and compress it, thus keeping it gaseous while increasing the amount enough. As long as you keep the vapor pressure high enough.   

       The vial, as stated above, would be about the size of an 8 oz. water glass and shaped like a compressed gas cylinder.   

       Mind you, a few drops would be plenty since it is highly concentrated. To be mixed with other liquids, not consumed pure.   

       Also, if you can make it a novelty people will pay outrageous prices for something worth a few cents.   

       Consuming pure alcohol: no, I haven't. No one really does without puking immediately and/or going blind (if it's methanol). This would be mixed in a drink as the alcoholic component. I have seen some 194 proof alcohol - 96% pure, a leftover from when you could still sell it. You can't drink that stuff raw.   

       Also, I said nothing about endorsing this to children. I am wholly against underage drinking, and not really for drinking in general. I only came up with this idea for the scientific value.   

       No one ever seems to like my ideas....well, some day I will come up with a decent one, patent it and get rich. My uncle invented the 1-gallon milk jug and got rich off that, so why can't I?
Macwarrior, Mar 03 2003
  

       A few problems with the heater idea. First, powering it - unless you sell it in the hot food department, or maybe list instructions to microwave before opening. Second, you would no longer have a vacuum - you'd have a pressure chamber. Imagine how nice it would feel to have scalding hot gaseous alcohol spray (as it turned liquid) in the face of the unsuspecting consumer. Third, you've still got volume problems. Any time you're dealing with a gas you'll have much less mass in the same container. A good way of thinking about it is by imagining that you have a very strong yet light container. Now imagine having that container highly pressurized with a gas. Now if your imagination works like mine, you've probably figured out that even this highly pressurized container is still very light compared to one filled with a liquid - that's because there's very little mass of alcohol in there.   

       Well, I have more to comment on, but instead I'll give you a light and airy croissant for your original idea. As long as you combine it with some kind of mixer in the bottom. Open your large container, and you've got a cute little shot with "fresh" alcohol vapor wafting down to the surface.
Worldgineer, Mar 04 2003
  

       Can I point something out ? You've got a container full of alcohol vapour - which may not in fact condense instantly, as you desire - and it's going to be opened in a bar.   

       In some places I have noticed patrons of bars with lighted cigarettes.   

       Call me a killjoy if you like, but I can't help thinking that releasing even small quantities of alcohol vapour in the vicinity of lit cigarettes, matches, and lighters may get more exciting than the patrons actually desire. I'm talking about lack of eyebrows here ......   

       // scalding hot gaseous alcohol spray //   

       Hmmmm. Are you by any chance thinking of the device known as a "carburettor" here , [worldengineer] ?   

       I am croissanting this solely because I am pleased by the potential for causing minor distress to those who smoke in public places.
8th of 7, Mar 04 2003
  

       An ounce of vaporized alcohol would take up roughly the same volume as 15 gallons of liquid. Brilliant!
X2Entendre, Mar 04 2003
  

       MacW, before you invest in a patent, take the time to learn what it is about holding a patent that can make you rich. It is far, far more complex than simply holding a patent. Ask your uncle.
beauxeault, Mar 04 2003
  

       'Hi, er, yes, we'll have a Gin and Tonic with Ice and Lemon, two Lagers, one of those new "Oh, the humanity!" alcohol vapour cocktails, two packets of peanuts and a tube of burn cream, please."
8th of 7, Mar 04 2003
  

       // Raw alcohol is not what drinkers buy //   

       Direct personal experience in Poland (94% Vodka), Russia (Vodka again), Finland (Strange bluish liquid, highly flammable), Sweden (Resembled Vodka), St Lucia (White Rum, 88% by volume) the Republic of Ireland (Potheen, also flammable) and Israel (Heaven knows what that stuff was, rubbing alcohol maybe) leads me to assert that you are not actually correct in that statement.   

       Important Travel Survival Hint: If ever offered the "local speciality", and said speciality is prepared by fractional distillation from unnamed components, observe great caution in its consumption.
8th of 7, Mar 04 2003
  

       I'm not so sure about that. When I was in college in the 1980s, there was a lot of this "grain alcohol," said to be 190 proof, being consumed. You couldn't really drink it straight up (and why would you want to?); all the moisture from your mouth would instantly disappear, making it almost impossible to swallow. Perhaps the claims of proof of this stuff were exaggerated, though?
snarfyguy, Mar 04 2003
  

       [Dimandja] I well know the difference between "proof" spirit and degrees Gay Lussac and simple percentage-by-volume.   

       The Polish "Spirt" vodka I drank was 94% alcohol by weight, an azeotrope; you can't go any higher by distillation (you have to do a preferential solvent extraction).   

       The Russian vodka was similar. My bottle of Knocken (?) Potheen is 75 degrees Gay-Lussac and has a flammability warning on the label; the Rum was (I think) 166 proof or thereabouts (66% "Over proof). This is often sold as "Pusser's Rum". It is popular with the Royal Navy, which explains a great deal.   

       Raw alcohol will not kill you, but it will cause severe damage both to the oesophagus, sphincter, and stomach lining. Various tricks are adopted to get round this. The Russians offered me spirit vodka with tomatoes and salt; one takes a (tiny) shot of vodka that has been chilled in a bed of crushed ice and salt, then dips a tomato segment in salt and munches it up. In Israel, they cut the alcohol with very fresh citrus juice; in St Lucia, with coconut milk.   

       Only the Poles, dangerous but lovable lunatics that they are, drank it neat, straight from the freezer.   

       Drinks that are near enough pure alcohol are in fact almoist tasteless. But they certainly exist.
8th of 7, Mar 04 2003
  

       You wouldn't want to drink 100% (Analar grade) because the solvent used to extract the remaining water is Benzene, and a trace of the Benzene ends up in the ethanol. According to the U.N. Blue Book, "there is no safe trace level of benzene for a food product".   

       So no, I haven't tried 100% Ethanol, and what's more, I have more sense than that. But I've had 94% Ethanol several times and that's as near dammit is to swearing. It has no particular merit over drinking a good vodka at a lower dilution. I think that most of the regular consumers do it just to show how stupidly macho they are, except for the Poles who are, as I said, simply mad.
8th of 7, Mar 04 2003
  

       Yeah, heavy macho factor w/r/t drinking this kind of stuff [marked·for·inebriation].
snarfyguy, Mar 04 2003
  

       I know that merely holding a patent does not make you rich (look what edison's patents on the Perpetual Cigar and his Cement Furniture did for him). I was merely oversimplifying because I was as tired as hell and wanted to finish defending my idea then go to bed.
Macwarrior, Mar 04 2003
  

       Ahhh... the old 'tired as hell' defence. Good job macwarrior, I think you have a great idea for a pipebomb here...what? It's a drink!
ImBack, Mar 04 2003
  

       Damage shmamage. 100% biological grade alcohol goes down just fine. In small amounts. And there is no reason this stuff need be pure alcohol. It would be even neater if it werent. Imagine a giant, clear Nebuchadnezzar-sized champagne type bottle, thick enough to withstand the high external pressure. Inside one could see the crystallized precipitated parts of the drink - say green Chartreuse. You could reduce the pressure slowly which might cause the sugars etc to grow very cool crystals. The bottle would sit over a light, illuminating the emerald crystals from below. The remainder: alcohol, water and other volatiles are in gaseous form in the giant bottle.   

       On opening the bottle (an culinary flash event like ordering a Baked Alaska), the air would rush in and the liqueur would condense onto the crystals. The bottle would then be gently agitated, dissolving the crystals. Finally the bottle would be tipped to poor the single shot glass of liquid present. The decadant purchaser would sip it luxuriously, to the applause of all present.
bungston, Mar 04 2003
  

       gaseous alcohol...isn't that just beer?
nocopying, Apr 17 2003
  

       I'd want to watch while some drunken lout with a cigarette in his mouth opened the can.   

       <FOOOM!>
FloridaManatee, Apr 17 2003
  

       You do realize that this is now available in England right. its in a form similar to a respirator at an oxygen bar. it is something like 15x stronger but the two great things in my mind is that it doesnt leave an alchohol taste in your mouth and it will actually get into your bloodstream a lot faster
bjsstranger, Feb 16 2004
  

       //Proof is calculated on a scale of 200//   

       100% proof was originally defined as being the alcohol concentration that would ignite gunpowder. This is actually 57.15% and this definition still stands in the UK. In the US however, the system was changed slightly so as [UnaBubba] implies, proof alcohol was defined as being twice the integer of alcohol by volume.
hazel, Feb 17 2004
  

       /bjs/ where? In London?
weedy, Dec 31 2005
  

       //100% proof was originally defined as being the alcohol concentration that would ignite gunpowder// Degrees proof,shirley?
coprocephalous, Dec 31 2005
  

       I was hoping this might be an alternative energy scheme, replacing natural gas with ethanol.
bungston, Dec 31 2005
  

       Sorry but its somewhat baked already, see link.
MikeOxbig, Jan 02 2006
  

       "Sorry but it is baked"? Please check the date of the post, which predates AWOL by about a year (based on the earliest note here). Doesn't a year sound like a good amount of development time? :)   

       It's a genuine example of a half-baked idea becoming baked. If this guy ends up making a million, I'll eat my hat, though -- seems like a gimmick to me.
Macwarrior, Feb 21 2006
  

       //it's going to be opened in a bar// Unless you are significantly above sea level.   

       //alcohol has a much lower boiling point than water// Not that much lower. Besides, it is the equilibrium vapour pressure that matters - at 25°C it's 7.9KPa for ethanol and 3.2KPa for water. Molecular weights: water 18.0, ethanol 46.07. So at 25°C, you can get (7.9*46.07)/(3.2*18) = 6.3 times as much ethanol as water by mass in a given volume of saturated vapour.   

       These vials of saturated alcohol vapour would be neat. You could chill them slightly in your drink and they'd act as cloud chambers. Hold them near your radium painted watch for endless fun. "Methinks it is like a meson." " 'Tis spun like a meson."   

       Also, Breathable alcohol doesn't make this idea baked, does it? And hasn't everyone tried inhaling alcohol vapour, or is it just me? I knew someone who claimed to have injected riesling, and I don't think he was lying. Haven't heard from him for a while...
spidermother, Feb 22 2006
  
      
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