How to Tell If a Drink Has Alcohol?

Updated on August 10, 2010
T.C. asks from Round Rock, TX
10 answers

This is kind of a silly question. How do you tell if a drink has alcohol in it? I very rarely drink, so I don't have anything to compare it to. I ordered a pina colada flavor italian ice from a smoothie place I don't normally go to. Unlike the other flavors my family had which were very very sweet, mine was not sweet at all. It didn't taste completely horrible, but reminds me of the flavor of the juice from an overripe coconut. It made the back of my throat and my chest feel warm. Could it just be from some non-alcoholic flavoring? The store employee assured me that it didn't contain alcohol, but I'm not convinced. I'm not opposed to alcoholic drinks, I just like to know what I'm drinking. Plus it seems odd they would be selling a flavor to families that would be so unnappealing to kids.
P.S.- I'm not saying they intended to make it alcoholic, but maybe just didn't read the label on the syrup, or it had sugar that went bad and turned to alcohol or something. It was weird- it had NO sweet and sour zing like pineapple at all, just the coconut flavor. My husband tasted it, but he is no better than me at being able to identify an alcoholic flavor. It was too late at night to find a friend to taste it.

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So What Happened?

I guess I'll never know for sure what was wrong with the drink, but I will stick with my favorite hawaiian ice place next time.

Featured Answers



answers from Houston on

Sounds like the flavoring may have fermented, this can happen if it sits too long, especially in a warm spot.

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answers from Dallas on

I second the mamas that said it could be an allergic reaction. It could also just be that the syrup was expired, those things don't last forever and if left in the sun or heat, sweet syrups can ferment and sour....Did your husband taste it? I'm telling you, it is IMPOSSIBLE that there was alcohol in it.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Houston on

TX has serious laws about alcohol sales, and the licenses & insurance certainly aren't cheap! (from a former bar mgr a lifetime ago!) I seriously doubt a smoothie place would have either of these things.
Sounds to me like something in the mix was just bad. If they mix their own (who knows?), then they may have used old coconut milk which really tastes awful, or coconut water instead of the milk which does not have as much sweetness to it.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

It could have honestly been an allergic reaction to the pineapple, I have gotten something like that before, its quite acidic. Everytime I eat it, I end up with little sores inside my mouth so honestly thats probably similar to what happened to you. A smoothie place wouldn't just throw alcohol in something, especially without it being noted on the menu OR checking your ID.


answers from Dallas on

It will say it has alcohol if it does. I've loved pina colado flavored things since I was a little kid. It's still my favorite snowcone flavor!


answers from Las Vegas on

It wasn't alcohol if it was at a smoothie place. It would be illegal for them to sell it without letting you know and without ID'ing you. Could be non-alcoholic flavoring or they didn't put enough of something in it. You can usually smell alcohol in least I can. It's kind of a rubbing alcohol smell but wayy more subtle obviously.



answers from Augusta on

It's possible the ballance in the flavors was off, if the mixture is off even a little bit it might taste wierd.
And that just might be how theirs taste.

And I can usually smell the alcohol before I taste it. And if it's mixed the right way you can't really taste the alcohol taste.



answers from Boston on

That sounds more like something in the mixture was bad. Even if alcohol was in the drink , it should taste still sweet and yummy.



answers from College Station on

If the drink is warm and almost burns in a small way going down' your throat it is a good chance that is does have alcohol in it. Ask the bartender the name of the drink and then ask another bartender the ingredients of the drink and you will probably find your anwer.



answers from Austin on

Because it'll taste like Alcohol...Smell some rubbing alcohol & that's what it tastes like...unless it's Vodka (you can't taste Vodka but it can make your headspin REALLY quick).

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