What Are The Dangers of Drinking Cooking Wine?

Cooking wine may seem like a harmless ingredient when preparing dishes, but having it around the house can pose dangers for a recovering addict. Knowing its effects can help you avoid stocking cooking wine or sherry in your pantry.

You always hear this special ingredient in fancy lifestyle and cooking shows–just a little touch of wine can add a depth of flavor in your dishes. For many, this practice is nothing out of the ordinary. Most people believe that since alcohol has a lower boiling point than that of water, most dishes prepared with cooking wine won’t even be slightly intoxicating.

However, an article published in the Business Insider indicates that you can still get drunk by eating food prepared with alcohol. Scientists took alcohol blood level tests, and it shows that after having meals made with cooking wine or sherry yielded positive results. Some, although not keen on making dishes with alcohol, might even be drinking cooking wine out of the bottle.

Why Do People Drink Cooking Wine (Sherry)?

Surprisingly, many people ask terms such as “Can you drink cooking wine?” on the web. The Food Network also addressed this question in an article about various recipes that call for wine. The simple answer is yes, people can drink cooking wine for their alcohol content, but it is not advisable to drink as it contains high amounts of salt and other additives not fit for drinking. Still, there are people who indulge in this habit, and below are the reasons why:

Incidental drinking

The first main reason why someone would end up drinking cooking wine is that they just happen to do so. When someone is available in the kitchen, and there are no options left, someone who is on the verge of an addiction relapse may find themselves gulping down a bottle of cooking wine for “relief”. This is called incidental drinking, and it doesn’t usually occur because an individual has intentions, it is mostly because the substance is available at their weakest moment.

A growing addiction

Another potential reason is drinking cooking wine to reinforce a growing addiction. According to a news article posted in Daily Mail, underage teens have found a way to buy cooking wine to get drunk. Although the cooking wine’s taste isn’t palatable compared to actual drinking wine, its alcoholic contents can get people drunk as well. If you’re wondering can you get drunk off cooking wine, the fact that this news popped up confirms that there are cases of growing alcoholism that is encouraged by having this supposedly non-potable kitchen item.

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The Dangers Of Drinking Cooking Wine (Sherry)

Just like any other alcoholic beverage, there are real dangers of drinking cooking wine, especially in large amounts. Its alcohol content may not be as much as other hard drinks, but it can pose a risk to someone’s physical and mental health.

Risks and Dangers of Drinking Cooking Wine (Sherry)

In terms of addiction, below are some risks and dangers related to drinking cooking sherry or wine.

Increased alcohol tolerance

The initial risk of drinking cooking wine or sherry is increased alcohol tolerance. While some drinking wines have an alcohol content as low as 4%, cooking sherry alcohol content goes at an average of 17%. The result of drinking beverages with higher alcohol content is tolerance, which leads to dependency and addiction.

Alcohol dependency and easy access

No wonder, some young people would bypass the ID checks and prefer buying this kitchen staple instead. Because of easy access, those who habitually drink cooking wine can have faster rates of alcohol dependency and addiction. Some people also opt to buy bottles of cooking wine online in bulk to prevent being checked under the radar.

Co-occurring mental health disorders

Consuming too much alcohol can lead to several problems that accompany addiction, such as psychosis, depression, anxiety, and antisocial personality disorder. Some individuals who are often drunk can have aggressive and impulsive behaviors that cause them to hurt themselves or other people. Since alcoholism and psychiatric disorders are closely tied, it is best to avoid drinking for people who have a history of mental health issues.

Other Dangers of Drinking Cooking Wine

There are also other health risks related to drinking cooking wine apart from addiction.

Liver problems

The liver is considered the main organ to process alcohol. When too much cooing sherry or wine is consumed, the liver tends to overwork which causes damage. Conditions such as Alcohol-Related Liver Disease (ARLD) is common among those who regularly take in large amounts of alcohol.

Kidney problems

Many individuals wonder, “Can you drink cooking sherry or wine without posing a health risk?” The straightforward answer is no. Aside from alcohol, cooking wine and sherry has high salt content which makes it not an ideal item to drink. Too much salt can cause deposits in the kidneys, causing problems such as chronic renal disease, or renal failure at the worst. High salt deposits ruin the delicate balance of kidneys filtering toxins in the body.

Heart and blood circulation problems

When other organs such as the liver and kidneys are overworked, there is also an increased risk of high blood pressure for those consuming drinking wine. The salt content and inefficiencies of the other organs make it difficult for blood to pass through the vessels, causing circulation problems. Hypertension causes blocked arteries and other life-threatening heart problems especially for those advanced in age.

Can Cooking Wine Lead to Alcohol Poisoning?

Another health risk that is quite different from chronic diseases and addiction is alcohol poisoning. The truth is, any beverage or substance with an alcoholic content poses a risk for poisoning, especially when consumed too fast under a short period of time.

Put simply, cooking wine and sherry consumption can lead to alcohol poisoning. Some signs of alcohol poisoning or overdose include:

  • Confusion
  • Unconsciousness
  • Vomiting
  • Seizures
  • Slow or irregular breathing
  • Clammy skin
  • Low body temperature

If these signs are present in you or a loved one, it is considered a medical emergency and you should seek help right away.

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Finding Treatment for Alcohol Abuse

Perhaps you’ve come across this page looking for information if cooking wine or sherry is addictive, or you’re seeking help for alcohol abuse. Know that you are not alone. There are treatment centers and addiction specialists ready to walk you along with the steps to getting sober. Below are the general steps you need to take when finding treatment for alcohol abuse:

  • Contact a high-quality rehab center. There are rehab facilities that offer a confidential assessment and evidence-based treatment for alcohol abuse. This means that such healthcare facilities provide the best standard of care and show the utmost concern for their patients. When you get to contact a good rehab center, they will assist you with the process of verifying your insurance, and making arrangements to get you ready for treatment.
  • Preparing for rehab. Getting ready for inpatient treatment requires you to be removed from your usual settings and routine. This allows you to find solace while focusing on your recovery. In a separate post, we address some common questions asked about rehab and what to prepare before being admitted.
  • Seek assistance for interventions when necessary. In some cases, a family member, friend, or other loved ones are showing signs of alcohol abuse but is reluctant in getting help. Staging an intervention is a great way to convince them to go to rehab. Addiction specialists can help you plan a staged intervention by helping you to say the right words and execute the right timing to make the addiction treatment happen.

Protect Your Health: Avoid Drinking Cooking Wine

The bottom line is, drinking cooking wine as a beverage poses negative health risks in terms of addiction and other chronic diseases. Long-term use is associated with alcoholism as well as heart, kidney, and liver disease. Protect your health–drinking cooking wine or sherry shouldn’t be a part of your daily habit.


Medical disclaimer:

Sunshine Behavioral Health strives to help people who are facing substance abuse, addiction, mental health disorders, or a combination of these conditions. It does this by providing compassionate care and evidence-based content that addresses health, treatment, and recovery.

Licensed medical professionals review material we publish on our site. The material is not a substitute for qualified medical diagnoses, treatment, or advice. It should not be used to replace the suggestions of your personal physician or other health care professionals.

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