Foods that have alcohol – and my Mum’s Sherry Trifle

So foods that have alcohol exist but don’t worry as much of it will be trace and naturally occurring.

What you can watch however if your committed to a 0.0 % ABV lifestyle is foods where alcohol is added like my Mum famous Sherry trifle! As my Dad would say after eating it, “my that’s gone to my head that has”!

Before you panic too much there are things you can keep an eye out for.

keep an eye out

What are these foods that have alcohol?

There are two categories here as far as I can make out and again I’m not a scientist. The first is naturally produced alcohol and in these foods you are dealing with natural fermentation.

I suppose it makes sense if you think about it after all wine come from grapes. Go on you knew that didn’t you? When I started out on the 0.0% abv route after an illness that nearly killed me I started to panic about alcohol content both in drink, food and other products.

So I did some research and the good news is for most part it is natural, when it isn’t you can choose and never be afraid to ask for something different when eating out.

Natural Foods that have alcohol

The three that naturally come to mind are with some estimated alcohol content by the side but there is more.

  • Orange Juice ( 0.5% abv)
  • Some bread rolls ( up to 1.28% abv per 100g)
  • Food including bananas (0,2% ABV)

food with alcohol

These are all foods where alcohol can ferment naturally during the creation process and the orange juice thing blew my mind as it was the one drink when I left hospital I really went with before discovering a wider range of zero alcoholic drink options.

It is also not so great for your teeth in volume, think sugar on a stick rather than an actual orange with added fiber. Bananas was also a stable diet for me and to be fair and still is.

So if you think fermentation you are probably on the right track but remember this is a natural process.

How does this compare to low alcohol drinks?

If you think about is some alcohol drinks above the 0.0% abv range they match some figures so you are taking so an abv percentage of 0.5% and above or below for many of them.

calories in wine

You would have to drink a hell of a lot just for the alcohol to register. So for foods that have alcohol naturally you can relax a bit although I do and can generally stick to my 0.0% rule with the above exceptions on occasion.

I suppose it is like when people say yes but “these are natural sugars” when eating fruit as opposed to sweets.

That is why many advocates of low alcoholic options of course have a point and all I am doing is staying we need more choice for everyone both below 0.5 and above it.

Alcohol added to food – now that’s different

As I go around the supermarkets’ food malls and checked out the ingredients I’ve learned a few things. One is your become better informed and secondly your in danger of becoming paranoid.

Although with the rise of vegan, low salt, veggie you like you are perfectly normal. Many sauces are made with alcohol, and I was surprised that a prawn cocktail sauce has some in thus why it has a bit of a kick.

Other sauces include things like Bearnaise and many of the options that come with meat dishes.

Anything with a white or red wine label sauce also contains alcohol of course.

Although people tend to say the alcohol boils off, actually quite a bit remains, certainly enough to experience a craving for some people if that is why you stay away and of course it is different for everyone.

Evidence in tests in the USA on foods with alcohol show not as much alcohol burns off as we are led to believe. Even vinegar that I love on my Friday night chips is made through the fermentation of ethanol alcohol.

Any ingredient containing ethanol may be used to make vinegar.

alcohol in food

So if you are out and about eating and this really is an issue as alcohol is added do what I do. Be Never afraid to ask for what you want. I will often ask the server what is in the sauce and if I am concerned I ask for it plain so no sauce.

This is perfectly fine and remember that you are the customer and it is your body and mental reassurance even if the amount of alcohol is so trace it would be processed by the body very quickly and certainly would not make your drunk.

Imagine getting drunk on your dinner.

Having said that my Mum makes an amazing sherry trifle and I really have seen her chuck nearly half a bottle in so if I eat that we are taking big increased amounts.

As aside one day she tripped and nearly the whole bottle went in and I swear my Mum and Dad got merrier as the afternoon progressed.

Although in supermarket options your often taking a very small number but this is a stay away area for me especially in eateries and home cooking which is a shame as I do like my pudding.

drunk trifle

Don’t get too hung on up on foods that have alcohol

Unless of course my Mum making a sherry trifle is at the extreme end ( I can’t believe I am writing that ) as most of what we are taking here is “trace” amounts where your body quickly deals with it as with any other food. Of course if you are under medical treatment also check with your practitioner.

However, personally there are somethings I avoid in particular so alcohol drinks above the 0.0% abv threshold and that hopefully is becoming easier to do.

If you are in a restaurant there is nothing wrong with saying what you want and Christmas and festivities are surrounded by food and alcohol.

I will give more thoughts nearer the time on that one. On the drink side anything above 0.5% abv is to be welcomed in the market but with the recognition that the consumers chasing these brands are not all the same.

People love to generalize and generalizing is not what we need when it comes to alcohol in food or drink. In conclusions:

  • Be sensible with foods that have alcohol
  • Be informed
  • Ask for what you want
  • Saying NO to foods that contain alcohol is OK

Know your limit with the alcohol aware website

If you have some comments on food that have alcohol I would love to hear them and join in the conversations below. I’ll respond as soon as I can. logo

8 thoughts on “Foods that have alcohol”

  1. I never realised natural foods such as oranges and bananas have traces of alcohol, but then it makes sense as fruits are fermenting from when they’re created. My mum also used to make a great sherry trifle, and I have fond memories of it at Christmas:) Thank you for sharing such an informative post:)

    • Thankyou – its amazing what you find out. I guess we both have stories of sherry trifle!. Thanks for commenting much appreciated, Phil

  2. Hey,

    Great article. Alcohol that is added to foods, for me that is different and while we are in lockdown this could be something I could look into. I have a bit more free time than I used to, so adding alcohol to my food could work.

    I’ll let you know how I get on with this.

    Thank you for sharing and keep up the great work.

    All the best,


    • Thanks Tom, don’t be adding too much to your food :), a very different take on the article so thankyou. I wish you well and thanks for engaging with the content.

  3. Very informative. Addiction runs deep in my family. This will help me raise my kids to be mindful of what they are putting in their bodies. I had no idea that some foods could trigger a craving in someone’s body if they were recovering!

    • Thanks so much its an interesting world around food and what’s in it and there are so many reasons people choose no alcohol, so the better informed makes life easier. Thanks so much for the feedback on the article. I really appreciate it. Phil

  4. Hi Phil
    Yes, you are right checking out the food labels in terms of ingredients is necessary if you are to know what you are ingesting, more so if you have a certain medical condition or allergic to certain food types. I wasn’t aware that banana contains alcohol even if it’s a trace amount. It makes sense that some sources do contain alcohol.

    Thanks for enlightening us. At least now I know.



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