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Everything You Need to Know About Powdered Alcohol, the Newest (and Possibly the Worst) Way to Get Drunk

Palcohol, Powder Alcohol istockphoto

This should end well.

Powdered alcohol, creatively named "Palcohol" (get it? They combined the first letter of the first word, Powdered, and then the entire second word, Alcohol. Palcohol!) was approved by the U.S. government earlier this week.

"Imagine a Margarita on a counter," Palcohol's site says. "And then imagine if you could snap your fingers and it would turn into powder. That's Palcohol....without the magic." So basically Airborne, except when you pour it into your water, you're WASTED. So basically the opposite of Airborne. 

We have literally a million questions:

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Palcohol Palcohol

Who? Invented it? Mark Phillips, who is described on his site as "an active guy...hiking, biking, camping, kayaking, etc." Who would purchase and consume powdered alcohol (aka Palcohol)? Delinquents.

What? Is it exactly? Literally, powdered alcohol.

We know you're accustomed to the drinkable alcohol (even if you're drinking it with other parts of your body, i.e. butt-chugging, that is technically still a liquid), but this alcohol has been whipped, solidified and almost vaporized. Now, it's a powder: "Alcohol absorbed in a sugar derivative" to form "a molecular encapsulated alcohol that produces an alcoholic drink or meal when mixed with water."

There are currently six versions: A vodka and rum mix, as well as four cocktails: a cosmopolitan, a mojito, a margarita and a lemon drop. (And, IT'S GLUTEN FREE. GOT YOUR ATTENTION NOW, LOS ANGELES.)

When? Was it made? Phillips says it took "years of research, experimentation and consultation with scientists around the world." Though, it's worth pointing out that powdered alcohol exists in Germany, Netherlands and Japan, among others. Will it be on sale? In the fall (possibly, read on).

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Why? Or, WHHHHHHHYYYYYYYY?!

According to Palcohol's old website, which was still live when the TTB approvals went through, "What's worse than going to a concert, sporting event, etc. and having to pay $10, $15, $20 for a mixed drink with tax and tip. Are you kidding me?! Take Palcohol into the venue and enjoy a mixed drink for a fraction of the cost!"

They also suggest cooking with Palcohol (as excerpted by io9): 

We've been talking about drinks so far. But we have found adding Palcohol to food is so much fun. Sprinkle Palcohol on almost any dish and give it an extra kick. Some of our favorites are the Kamikaze in guacamole, Rum on a BBQ sandwich, Cosmo on a salad and Vodka on eggs in the morning to start your day off right. Experiment. Palcohol is great on so many foods. Remember, you have to add Palcohol AFTER a dish is cooked as the alcohol will burn off if you cook with it…and that defeats the whole purpose.

"Clearly, this site isn't finished. Thus, the verbiage that was copied was still in draft mode and the labels that were up were incorrect," Palcohol's site now reads.  "What we can say now is that we hope the product will be used in a responsible and legal manner."

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Which brings us to the snorting of it all, which seems like the biggest discrepancy between the former "verbiage" and what is currently on their website. As excerpted by Gawker, the former site apparently read: 

7. Let's talk about the elephant in the room….snorting Palcohol. Yes, you can snort it. And you'll get drunk almost instantly because the alcohol will be absorbed so quickly in your nose. Good idea? No. It will mess you up. Use Palcohol responsibly.

And now:

11. Can I snort it? We have seen comments about goofballs wanting to snort it. Don't do it! It is not a responsible or smart way to use the product. To take precautions against this action, we've added volume to the powder so it would take more than a half of a cup of powder to get the equivalent of one drink up your nose. You would feel a lot of pain for very little gain. Just use it the right way.

Sooooo, guess someone will have to try and find out...? (You know someone still will try.)

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HOW???!! The Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB), not the FDA but still a federal organization, a sub-unit of the U.S. Department of Treasury, approved Palcohol after four years.

And days later, they unapproved it: TTB is now saying that they issued approvals for labels and "not for the product itself." And they say even that was a "mistake." Palcohol tells it differently

We have been in touch with the TTB and there seemed to be a discrepancy on our fill level, how much powder is in the bag. There was a mutual agreement for us to surrender the labels.

This doesn't mean that Palcohol isn't approved. It just means that these labels aren't approved. We will re-submit labels. We don't have an expected approval date as label approval can vary widely.

In the meantime, continue getting drunk the normal way: Keg stands.

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