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What proof is in your Christmas pudding? Is caring under the influence possible?


The humble Christmas pudding began as a traditional porridge full of raisins and dried fruit that people shared during the Christmas festivities. It was only in the 16th century that butter, eggs and flour became part of the recipe, resulting in a boiled pudding.1 Since then, there have been many variations that have incorporated all forms of fortified spirits, such as brandy, sherry and whisky. Secret recipes are age-old traditions passed down from generation to generation.

The traditional method allows the flavour to mature over a period of months, during which time the alcohol content of the moist pudding mixture preserves the ingredients. At the completion of flavour maturation, the pudding is boiled in a sealed container.

Controversy exists over the alcohol content of the Christmas puddings enjoyed on the 25th of December. Previous reports have listed the potential for the alcohol content of Christmas puddings to raise the blood alcohol content (BAC) to more than the legal driving limit.2,3 Due to the uncertain validity of these references, we conducted a systematic review of the literature on PubMed and Embase using the terms “Christmas pudding” or “Christmas cake” and “alcohol” or “blood alcohol concentration”. This search produced five studies that were…