The technique of feeding ethanol as part of a totally liquid diet was invented two decades ago and its successful application for the intervening period is reviewed. This technique results in much higher ethanol intake than with conventional procedures. As a consequence, various complications observed in alcoholics were reproduced in animal models, including fatty liver, hyperlipemia, various metabolic and endocrine disorders, tolerance to ethanol and other drugs, physical dependence and withdrawal, the fetal alcohol syndrome and, in the baboon, liver fibrosis and cirrhosis. Variations of the liquid diet formulation are compared and three standardized basic formulas are being proposed for the rat: (1) a regular diet, comparable to the diet previously referred to as the “Lieber-DeCarli Formula” and suitable for most experimental applications, particularly those intended to mimic the clinical situation in which the various effects of alcohol occur in the setting of liver changes characterized by a fatty liver; (2) a low fat diet comparable in all respects to the preceding diet but with a lower fat content, intended to minimize the hepatic changes; and (3) a high protein formula particularly useful in those circumstances in which an oversupply of dietary protein might be recommended (i.e., pregnancy and lactation).