Ethanol oxidation in 0.1 M NaOH on single-crystal electrodes has been studied using electrochemical and FTIR techniques. The results show that the activity order is the opposite of that found in acidic solutions. The Pt(111) electrode displays the highest currents and also the highest onset potential of all the electrodes. The onset potential for the oxidation of ethanol is linked to the adsorption of OH on the electrode surface. However, small (or even negligible) amounts of COads and carbonate are detected by FTIR, which implies that cleavage of the CC bond is not favored in this medium. The activity of the electrodes diminishes quickly upon cycling. The diminution of the activity is proportional to the measured currents and is linked to the formation and polymerization of acetaldehyde, which adsorbs onto the electrode surface and prevents further oxidation.