JP gives the generic formula for the alcohol group and wacky provides the chemical formula for the main alcohol (ethanol) which is wine, beer and spirits. However, most alcoholic beverages also contain small amounts of methanol (CH3OH) and possibly some of the other “light” alcohols (Butanol, etc). Pure distilled alcohol beverage will contain almost 100% ethanol and although we get drunk on it, it does not leave a hangover which is a sign of alcoholic poisoning. Cheap and poorly distilled alcoholic drinks (e.g., cheap gin, etc) will contain small (up to 5% w/w alcohol) of methanol which is a very unpleasant poison and this is the cause of a hangover. Alcohol with more than about 5% of methanol can be deadly.
61 mths ago