Alcohol (ethanol) is absorbed slowly from the stomach and rapidly from the small intestine, and the rate of its absorption depends on the rate of gastric emptying. When gastric emptying is fast, the absorption of alcohol is fast. When gastric emptying is slow the absorption of alcohol is delayed and peak blood alcohol concentrations are reduced. Alterations of the gastric emptying rate, which may have a physiologic, pharmacologic or pathologic cause, markedly influence the rate of alcohol absorption. The gastric emptying rate makes an important contribution to inter- and intraindividual variations in the rate of alcohol absorption and therefore the timing and magnitude of the acute intoxicating effect of an oral dose of alcohol.