Alcohol breath test
The late gossip columnist Nigel Dempster once contested a drink-driving charge by arguing that his reading was down to a post-lunch dessert of poached pears in red wine sauce.
And this week a study by vehicle leasing firm All Car Leasing appeared to bear him out.
It warned that as few as two portions of tiramisu, a handful of liqueur chocolates and even two pints of orange juice could put you over the limit.
To put this theory to the test an Express tasting team sampled a number of different boozy food items and took breathalyser tests.
We used a breathalyser provided by Halfords that took measurements by BAC (blood alcohol content), with 0.5 BAC the drink-drive limit in Scotland and 0.8 BAC the equivalent figure in England and Wales.
All our panel’s opening readings were less than the breathalyser’s minimum reading of 0.11.
Jamie Macwhirter, 24
Product: Waitrose essential tiramisu
Jamie started off with two 90g pots but his reading had not changed after he had polished off those and so we handed him a bumper 500g pack (serves five) and urged him to eat for Britain.
Halfway through this his reading had gone up to 0.37 BAC.
By now the richness of the dessert was getting to him and he begged for a water break.
By the time he had finished the lot his reading had hit 0.47 and in his native Scotland he would have been unwise to venture on to the open road.
One more portion and he would have been over.
So does he feel drunk? “I feel something,” he says. “I can’t tell if it’s the alcohol or the pudding itself but I do feel a bit of a buzz. I would never say I’m drunk. I’d certainly say I’m safe to drive.”
Adam Licudi, 52
Product: Starward Solera whisky and water ganache chocolates from Paul A Young fine chocolates.
With his liqueur-filled creations made from 70 per cent Solomon Island dark chocolate, Adam was in for a treat.
After he had scoffed the first four his reading was unchanged.
But time passed, he had another four and the moment of truth arrived.
A succession of beeps signalled that he was over the limit, his reading an impressive 1.72 BAC – well over the limit in both Scotland and England and Wales.
The AlcoSense Excel breathalyser drove home the point with a red screen showing a car scored through with a red line.
“I was quite surprised to nd that eating those chocs had such an effect. I thought I was just feeling the effects of having had too much sugar.
“It goes to show that while you might think a couple of chocs with coffee after a glass or two of wine at lunch won’t make any difference, if they are the boozy sort they certainly can.”
Michelle Marshall, 28
Product: Jack Daniel’s barbecue sauce made with authentic Jack daniel’s tennessee whiskey.
Michelle had the not entirely pleasant task of consuming a bourbon-based barbecue sauce without the benefit of ribs to accompany it.
But we did allow her some Doritos to make it more palatable.
After she had managed to put away a quarter of a bottle her reading had not changed. And by the time she was approaching the halfway mark the needle was stuck on “less than 0.11 BAC”.
Michelle said: “I do feel a bit light-headed but that might just be me. I don’t feel at all drunk.”
Lila Randall, 29
Product: Tesco orange juice (from concentrate)
Amazingly, orange juice is on the danger list as it is said to contain 0.5 per cent alcohol, which is produced as it ferments.
That said, you would have to down at least two pints to put you anywhere close to the Scottish drink-drive limit.
After her first litre Lila’s reading was unchanged.
And another half litre later it still had not budged. “I’ve got a bit of a sugar rush but I have to say I’m not remotely tipsy,” she says.
“The only danger with me getting behind the wheel is that I might throw up all over it!”
The breathalyser used in this feature was an AlcoSense Excel digital model supplied by Halfords, the UK’s leading retailer of motoring and cycling products.
For more information go to halfordscompany.com
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