Palcohol, powdered alcohol, approved last year then revoked days later, has returned, and they’re looking to be on the shelves as early as this summer.

While ludicrous sounding, powdered alcohol is a neat chemistry trick. Cyclodextrins are a type of carbohydrate molecule that are, as the name might imply, circular. In the center of the molecule there is room to trap substances, locking them within the starchy powder. Febreeze, the air refresher, relies on this principle. By releasing similar molecules, bad odors caught inside the donut-shaped molecule, unable to assault our noses.

palcoholPhoto: Bev Law

A lot of the coverage of powdered alcohol has focused its potential to be insufflated or snorted. Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY) has moved repeatedly to ban the stuff. As Supercompressor found out homebrewing powdered alcohol is also a terrible idea. The hysteria is a bias against powdered substances, “powderist,” if you will.

Let’s clear that up. Each packet of Palcohol contains 29 g of powder. Here’s what 29 g of powder looks like:

IMG_1792-600x600_A commercially available blend of maltodextrin, dextrose, and sucralose simulate what a single pouch of Palcohol would look like.

Ask anyone who’s snorted drugs, even 200mg is a chore. Some quick math says 29 g of powder as a line is about 40 ft or 12.1 m — and that’s per pouch. That’s about the length of 2 long cars, or 7 slightly taller-than-average people. That’s about the length of 2 long cars, or 7 slightly taller-than-average people.

Don’t snort Palcohol. In fact, I wouldn’t even bother buying it except for the novelty, just once. Unless you’re sneaking alcohol into a concert, there is no reason to endure artificial margarita mix and shitty grain alcohol.

Have fun; try not to die.