The chemical name for the alcohol we consume is ethanol. Several processes can metabolize ethanol, but two enzymes break down the majority in a two-step process. Alcohol dehydrogenase (ADH) converts ethanol to acetaldehyde in the first step of alcohol metabolism (predominantly in the liver). Acetaldehyde is usually only short-lived and is converted to acetate by aldehyde dehydrogenase (ALDH). Acetate is easily broken down to carbon dioxide and water.