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My question is can you use real alcohol in chocolate candies? Do you need a liquor license? Do you need to show the alcohol and content in labeling? Any information on this would be appreciated.

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Yes. My favorite are sugar crust liquors. Over the holidays I make Brandy, Bourbon, Red Wine, and Fruit (for the kids). The shell looks like a geode, and the filling is almost the consistency of the original liquor or wine. You can cast into starch, then enrobe, or deposit directly into hollow shapes (similar to those used for ganache but much smaller hole) using LIMOBA technique.
There are laws regulating the use of liquor in confections (as with so many food-related things). Where I am, it was regulated at the state level, and they specified how much alcohol the confection could contain. You have to list the alcohol in the ingredients the same way you would anything else (the FDA has a guide on labeling).
In Washington State, we either have to cook it down to 1% or get a license. And you do need to show it in the labeling.
I make them only for gifts and to bring to holiday gatherings. Something they can't easily find and something special they come to look forward to over the holidays.
Copied from a new post by member Beth Mansfield

In the contradictory state of Ohio, no alcohol is allowed in confections without a license - and yet they have no provisions to issue licenses to confectioners. But you can add vanilla and other flavorings that contain alcohol. The key is it can't be an alcohol meant to be consumed as a drink. Who makes up these rules? How do you label alcohol that's been cooked down to reduce its percentage? And does the flavor suffer? Does anyone have any good flavor alternatives to Cointreau, Brandy, or Amaretto? I feel that in Ohio we are at a competitive disadvantage to the rest of the country. And how about the issue of shipping. Do those of you in states that allow alcohol content have to be careful not to sell to minors? And can you ship anywhere to anyone? I'm trying to decide if I should become an activist in politics. Is there a chocolate lobbying group? Jeez - Prohibition all over again. Ship truffles to Congress. Forget the budget deficit, health care reform, etc. By God, I want alcohol in my truffles! Ok, I'm done ranting. But I would like to know what y'all are doing on this topic.
Hi Clay,
I'll jump on your bandwagon. Was wondering if I could secretly switch out truffles, awesome ones, with the ones they have at the gov't christmas parties...Could send them each a gift basket...Fill the mail room with sweets? If you find anything ut on this let me know. I'm still waiting for the state ATC to call me back and let me know exactly how to interpret Missouri's statute. Trying to open a business that is more than just friends paying for ingredients because they dont make them but want them. Cant get anyone to tell me what I can and cant do. I've talked to ore voice mail than people, frustating. If there is a lobby grou I'll sign petition.
You know, if you were to approach your state lawmakers on this you might actually make some progress. In Sam Calagione's Brewing Up a Business he describes petitioning for legal changes in Delaware that allowed him to open the first Dogfish Head brewpub. I work in a bureaucratic environment, and I can testify that a lot of irrational policy is enforced because no one has invested the time and energy to make a change.
We did not need to obtain a license until we wanted to purchase alcohol at wholesale prices. We did need to list it in the ingredients, but as we were such a small manufacturer, the rules were not as stringent as they might have been.
This was in Maryland.
I found a useful resource on this topic:
The table seems generally accurate, however you should double check your individual state laws.

The laws vary state to state, sometimes considerably, sometimes only in detail.

In many states, food with less than 0.5% alcohol is considered 'non-alcoholic'. In some states this is 0.5% by weight, others go with 0.5% by volume. In some states the alcohol can be from any source, in other states the rules are different for 'extracts' versus 'liquors'. Some states have different rules for confections versus other foods.

In Oregon, _food_ is considered 'adulterated' if it contains more than 0.5% alcohol by weight. At less than 0.5% alcohol the source could be anything used for flavoring, eg. an extract or a liquor.

There are also provisions under the Oregon liquor laws for making 'non-beverage products' at up to 5% alcohol by volume, which require sales through liquor stores. (As I recall, the liquor law applies from 0.5% alcohol by volume to 5% by volume, leaving an overlap area, but this is from distant memory.)

I guess I'm going to have to do a bit more research than I thought! :)

Just one quick question - is it possible to infuse chocolate with wine?
Yes, wine can be added to chocolate. To make a wine ganache you use the same amount of wine (4oz) and butter (4oz) then double the amount of chocolate (8oz). Or you can use the same recipe except replace the wine with reduced wine syrup. Slowly reduce the wine then add only 1 to 2 Tablespoons to the ganache - this gives it a more enhanced wine flavor (1 bottle of wine reduces down to 1 cup of syrup).
Does anyone know who would be best to contact at the state level to see about getting the laws amended? I live in Oklahoma where you are limited to confections only containing alcohol found in extracts - all other forms are strictly prohibited. I would like to open my own store but 90% of what I make contains alcohol so I either have to figure out how to get this outdated prohibition law changed or move to another state. Any advice would greatly be appreciated.


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