A cocktail containing liquid nitrogen cost an 18 year-old her stomach in 2012, and the wine bar in Lancaster that served it a fine of £100,000 last week.
Gaby Scanlon was given the drink at her birthday celebration at Oscars Wine Bar and drank it while it was still smoking with evaporating nitrogen. This effectively caused instant freezing of internal organs and her perforated and frostbitten stomach had to be removed to save her life. Scanlon claims she asked someone in the bar if the trendy Nitro-Jagermieste cocktail was safe to drink while the nitrogen was still evaporating and was told it was. Three years on she still suffers considerable pain and finds no joy in eating.
The use of liquid nitrogen in drinks served to the public is still legal, despite calls for them to be banned on safety grounds. Meanwhile trendy chefs and five star hotels use liquid nitrogen to produce instant ice creams and other quick-frozen concoctions as a food novelty for their well-heeled customers, and are very careful not to drop or spill the stuff onto the floor where it can rapidly revert to gas form, replace the oxygen in the atmosphere and asphyxiate. So best not to have the trendy cream of kippers and custard frozen confection prepared at your table – a flaming pan of something with lit brandy is arguably safer, and even more impressive for all the other diners.
There are other dangers in being “cool” drinkers. Those who drink beers, lagers and sodas straight out of bottles or cans are risking some of the unpleasant effects, including the disease Leptospirosis and death, of rats or mice urinating over the bottles or cans whilst in the warehouse or bar cellar, although some experts poo poo this and insist that the rodent pee congealed onto the bit where one puts one’s mouth is only lethal if it comes from a diseased rodent, so your chances of survival might be quite good.
Meanwhile those old and young squares who don’t want to take any such chances will continue to wipe the tops of bottles and cans before licking and sucking on them, and insist to trendy bartenders that they want their drink served in a glass, rather than out of a bottle, trendy slice of lime in the top or not. And perhaps enjoy life for just a little bit longer?