Christmas Over The Limit

Last year we conducted a study into the alcohol content of some of the nation's favourite Christmas dishes to provide an indication of how easy it is to end up over the legal alcohol limit to drive. Well, much like Michael Buble & Mariah Carey, we've finished defrosting and have returned with some fresh Freedom of Information data to ensure Santa doesn't bring you a 3-month prison sentence and £2,500 fine for Christmas.

Drink driving has been a major problem in the UK over the past decade, whilst the days of "Have 5 and drive" are long gone, others aren't deterred by the extreme risk involved in driving under the influence. As the Christmas period is full of celebration, whether that be catching up with family and friends or the annual work's Christmas do, Brits increase their average alcohol intake by 40% according to a study by Rehab4Alcoholism.

After collating the Freedom of Information data during our break from adding personal leasing and business leasing prices, we found that in December of 2018 alone there was over 48,818 positive drink driving tests recorded at the roadside. That's a worrying 10% increase over the previous year. If you want to have a look at the Freedom of Information data yourself - either scroll down to the bottom of this blog or send us an email at for the data as far as 2002.

The current drink driving limit is 80 micro-grams, which is one of the highest limits within the EU. There are also numerous factors which can increase how much alcohol is absorbed, for example:

  • Weight, age, sex and metabolism
  • The type of alcohol you are drinking
  • What you've recently eaten
  • Your stress levels

If you want to see how easy food containing alcohol content can translate into raising your blood alcohol levels, check out this excerpt from our Boozy Christmas Menu:


Bloody Mary Prawn Cocktail - 0.34 Units


Beer & Rosemary Roast Turkey, Glazed Carrots, Roast Potatoes, Pigs in Blankets, Brussel Sprouts with Red Wine Gravy - 1.15 Units


Christmas Cake served with Brandy Butter


Glass of Wine - 2.1 Units

Bringing the total alcohol consumption levels to 5.49 Units. meaning Men would exceed the legal limit to drive by 1.49 Units and Women by 2.49 Units.

Check out the infographic on our Boozy Christmas Menu post to find out more.

It's the Christmas pudding enthusiasts that will be flying too close to the sun really - if you've already had a glass of wine or a pint with your dinner, chasing up with a portion or two of Christmas pudding will place you dangerously close to the legal limit, if not over. That's because it's a tradition to pour brandy all over the cake and set it on fire. I know what you're thinking though -

"when you cook food with alcohol, the alcohol content burns off throughout the cooking process, so surely setting fire to a brandy soaked pudding will do the same!"

This is actually a myth and was scientifically proven to be false by the United States Department of Agriculture. It can take as long as 2 hours for alcohol to be fully cooked out of food, bear in mind it's fairly rare to use spirits when cooking outside of the Christmas season, you'd typically be using either red or white wine which has almost half the alcohol content of a spirit like brandy.










  Number of tests










  Positive or refused tests










  Positive/refused (%)










FOI Data

Related Pages

The Boozy Christmas Menu

Over The Limit