Q. I read an inquiry from a bus driver who was worried that eating gin-soaked raisins to ease joint pain would trigger a positive breath alcohol result. As a certified BAT (Breath Alcohol Technician) I would like to reassure that bus driver.

If, as your research showed, the alcohol content in 9 raisins is truly only one drop, it would not be enough to trigger a positive breath alcohol test. You wrote about a North Carolina sheriff who was arrested for DWI after eating several handfuls of gin-soaked raisins. They must have been REALLY big handfuls if he blew a 0.07 alcohol reading.

Even if the bus driver was tested immediately after eating 9 gin-soaked raisins and blew a positive result of .02 or above, a second Confirmation test would be administered in 15 minutes. The fifteen-minute wait is to allow any residual mouth alcohol to dissipate.

It is virtually impossible to blow a false positive on the Confirmation test after 15 minutes. Since Confirmation test results are final and those results would be 0.00, our driver should be in the clear (unless additional alcohol was consumed along with those few raisins!).

A. Thank you for the explanation. The story about the North Carolina sheriff a decade or so ago did occasion some speculation about the size of his handfuls. We imagine that if the daily dose of 9 raisins were consumed during off-duty hours, there should never be a concern about the breath alcohol test.

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  1. R.R.

    Arthritis Remedy Recipe: How Much Alcohol In 9 Gin-Soaked Raisins?
    Short Answer: NOT Much. If soaked for 1 week, there’s approximately .036 oz in 9 raisins.
    I am doing a test to see how much liquid the raisins will soak to figure out their alcohol content
    when fully hydrated. Because some recipes call for the golden raisins to soak for 1 week, others for two, I am doing a 2 week experiment.
    I weighed 90 gin-soaked golden raisins before and after soaking in premium dry gin (80 proof) for 1 week.
    After 7 days the 90 average* size golden raisins weighed 27.0g more (62.44g vs 35.44g) than they did before soaking.
    Since the gin is 40% alcohol (at 80 proof), then I assume that so far the 90 raisins have gained 10.8g of alcohol in one week’s time. That works out to be 17.3% alcohol by weight. (after a one week soak)
    But keeping in mind that we’re only taking 9 raisins at a time, the total amount consumed will still be very small.
    This comes out to 1.08g alcohol for 9 raisins, or less than 1/3 the amount you would get from a 1 oz dose of NyQuil, less than 1/15 you would get from a 12 oz. can of beer or a 5 oz glass of wine.
    Alcohol content In ounces, after 1 week:
    9 Gin-soaked golden raisins
    (17.3% alcohol) – 0.036 oz. alcohol
    (Compare to):
    1 oz dose Nyquil (10% alcohol) = 0.10 oz. alcohol
    1 12 oz can beer (5% alcohol) = 0.3 oz. alcohol
    I shall update this information at the end of week 2.

  2. ALPN

    The raisin cure is great. Eat them once a day when you will not be driving, like before sleep.

  3. pj

    What about a blood alcohol level, I drive a truck I need to know please. pj

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