When it comes to liquor, many people wonder whether it evaporates or not. This question arises particularly during storage, transportation, and cooking. While some people believe that liquor does evaporate, others think it does not. If you are one of those curious individuals and want to know the truth, let us dive into this article on ‘Does Liquor Evaporate? The Surprising Answer!’
What Is Evaporation?
Before we dive into the topic at hand, it’s essential to understand what evaporation is. In simple terms, evaporation is the process of converting a liquid into a gas state by application of heat. When a liquid is heated, its molecules absorb energy and move faster, hence converting into a gaseous state. The rate of evaporation is affected by different factors, including temperature, air pressure, and humidity, among others.
Why Does Alcohol Evaporate?
Alcohol evaporates faster than water because it has a lower boiling point. The boiling point of water is 100°C, while that of ethanol, the primary type of alcohol found in liquor, is approximately 78.5°C. Therefore, alcohol starts vaporizing at a lower temperature than water.
The rate of alcohol evaporation depends on various factors, including temperature, humidity, and air pressure. At higher temperatures, alcohol evaporates faster than at lower temperatures. Higher humidity makes the air saturated, resulting in slower evaporation rate. Air pressure also affects the vapor pressure, which directly influences the rate of evaporation.
When Does Alcohol Evaporate?
Alcohol evaporates when its molecules absorb energy, either from direct heating, air, or wind. Therefore, it can evaporate anytime, even when stored in a sealed bottle, provided the temperature and humidity are high enough. However, the rate of evaporation in a sealed bottle is slower than if the alcohol is exposed to the atmosphere.
Factors Affecting Alcohol Evaporation
Several factors can affect alcohol evaporation rate. The major ones include:
- Temperature: As highlighted earlier, alcohol evaporates faster at higher temperatures.
- Humidity: Higher humidity results in slower evaporation because the air is already saturated with moisture.
- Air Pressure: Low air pressure leads to faster alcohol evaporation rate, while high air pressure slows down the rate of evaporation.
- Exposure to Air: The exposure of alcohol to air enhances the rate of evaporation because of the presence of moisture in the air.
- Quantity: The quantity of alcohol in a container also affects the rate of evaporation. A larger quantity takes longer to evaporate than a smaller one.
- Surface Area: Greater surface area results in faster alcohol evaporation.
Different Types of Alcohols and Their Evaporation Rates
There are two broad categories of alcohol- volatile and non-volatile. Volatile alcohol refers to the type of alcohol that easily evaporates, while non-volatile alcohol does not easily evaporate. Ethanol is a volatile alcohol found in most liquor that quickly evaporates.
The evaporation rate of different types of alcohol varies widely. The evaporation rates of common alcohols are as listed in the following table:
|Type of Alcohol||Boiling Point (°C)||Evaporation Rate (g/cm2)|
The above table shows that the evaporation rate of ethanol is 3.3 g/cm2 per hour, which is the highest among the three types of alcohol. Methanol and isopropanol have lower evaporation rates of 2.5 and 2.2 g/cm2 per hour, respectively.
Does Alcohol Evaporate When Cooking?
Liquor is often used as an ingredient in cooking to add flavor and aroma. Many people believe that alcohol evaporates entirely when used in cooking or baking. However, this is not entirely true.
The amount of alcohol that evaporates depends on the duration and degree of heating, among other factors. A study published in the Journal of the American Dietetic Association found that different cooking methods evaporate varying amounts of alcohol. Boiling or simmering alcohol for 15-30 minutes results in the evaporation of 40-50% of the alcohol. In contrast, baking removes 70% of the alcohol, while simmering or broiling for 2.5 hours destroys nearly all the alcohol.
What Happens When Liquor Evaporates?
When liquor evaporates, the volume of the liquid reduces, causing a decrease in the overall alcohol content. However, the alcohol is not destroyed during evaporation. Instead, it is converted from a liquid to a gaseous state, causing a depletion in the original alcohol volume. In other words, the alcohol is not lost, but it changes state from liquid to gas.
The Bottom Line
In conclusion, liquor does evaporate, and the rate of evaporation depends on different factors such as temperature, humidity, air pressure, and alcohol type. While cooking, some alcohol evaporates, but not entirely, resulting in a reduction of alcohol content in the cooked food.
Commonly Asked Questions on Liquor Evaporation
- Does the alcohol in liquor evaporate when stored in a sealed bottle?
- Do higher alcohol percentages influence the rate of evaporation?
- At what temperature does alcohol start evaporating?
- Can cooking entirely evaporate alcohol from liquor?
Yes, alcohol can still evaporate from sealed bottles when the temperature and humidity are high enough.
Yes, higher alcohol percentages evaporate more quickly than lower alcohol percentages.
Alcohol starts evaporating at approximately 78.5°C, the boiling point of ethanol.
No, not all the alcohol is entirely evaporated during cooking, baking or simmering.
- Academic Publishing Division. (2003). The Properties of Water and their Role in Colloidal and Biological Systems. Elsevier Academic Press.
- Frey, A. H. (1996). Oxo Alcohol. In Ullmann’s Encyclopedia of Industrial Chemistry. Wiley Online Library.
- Brown, L. K., & Pehrsson, P. R. (2012). Cooking Influences on Alcohol Content in Food: A Review. Journal of the American Dietetic Association, 112(8), 1236-1246.