Please Breathe Responsibly

8th January 2024

How times have changed. Sipping a colourful cocktail out of a fancy glass is so last season. The only way to drink your favourite tipple is by inhaling it.
Throughout August, visitors to Alcoholic Architecture in London’s Borough Market will be able to enjoy their alcohol by simply walking through the front door. The pop-up bar invites ticket holders to wear a plastic poncho before making their way to the basement, where spirits and mixers are pumped into the atmosphere via humidifiers. At a ratio of 1 part spirit to 3 parts mixer, it takes between 40-50 minutes to inhale one large drink. A lot of the consumption is through your eyeballs which allow the alcohol to bypass your liver.

Guests can purchase liquid drinks too, if they can find the bar through the damp haze which severally limits visibility. Created by Bompass and Parr, this latest gimmick is an experiment to see if London is ready to inhale cocktails. They have had a team of doctors and scientists on hand to ensure that nobody is able to inhale irresponsibly and every visitor is allowed only one hour in the bar.

This is not the first time Alcoholic Architecture have introduced us to the misty cocktails. Back in 2009 they opened a bar in central London for the month of April. Their first bar was full of gin and tonic and special protective suits were donned instead of ponchos. The room was decorated with giant limes and straws to enhance the feeling of actually being inside a drink.

Amazingly, vaporised cocktails have never really caught on as a permanent attraction, although one bar in Chicago has cashed in on the trend with the Vaportini. Red Kiva has been selling the drink since 2013. Rather than fill the room with the fumes, however, they are sold in a special glass contraption to ensure that only the person who has purchased the drink gets to inhale it. Invented by restaurateur, Julie Palmer, the idea came after a trip to a sauna in Helsinki, where her friend would simply tip her vodka over the hot coals and then enjoy the fumes. With the Vaportini, the purchaser simply chooses their favourite spirit and adds it to their globe before lighting a candle beneath it. As the drink vaporises they can inhale it. It has been popular since its launch and is sold for $30.

Given the convenience culture that we live in, it is easy to see why vapour cocktails might seem to be an attractive proposition to some. However, there is nothing quite like tasting your favourite drink and feeling it run down the back of your throat. But maybe I’m a bit old fashioned!

Pardon the interruption

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Bartender's top tip

The more you understand and appreciate different flavors and how they combine, the better your cocktails will be. Taste your ingredients individually and in combinations to understand how they complement or contrast with each other. This knowledge lets you adjust cocktails to your preference or even invent your own recipes confidently.

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