Why do you need to <em>drink</em> your cocktail when you could <em>inhale</em> it instead? When you inhale the alcohol, the flavors come alive on your tongue.
This sounds like some sort of an idea that evolved from a late night of binge drinking and may be unsatisfying to those that enjoy drinking for the sheer pleasure of… well, drinking! Plus, many people may confuse the contraption with something typically used for freebasing, which (for obvious reasons) doesn't look too appealing.
But! Just like the <a href="http://www.npr.org/blogs/thesalt/2012/10/10/162636324/liquid-nitrogen-cocktails-smoking-hot-trend-or-unnecessary-risk">liquid nitrogen</a> martinis that took over San Francisco, the attention-grabbing <a href="http://www.vaportini.com/home.html" target="_blank">"Vaportini"</a> has just arrived.
Julie Palmer, a restaurateur, came up with the wild idea after visiting a friend in Helsinki, Finland. "She would go into the sauna with a bottle of vodka and pour it over the coals," Palmer told <em>The Salt</em>. "You could really feel the effects of the alcohol without drinking it."
<a href="http://firsttoknow.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/03/vaportini-liquor-inhaler.jpg"><img class="alignright size-full wp-image-25223" title="vaportini-liquor-inhaler" src="http://firsttoknow.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/03/vaportini-liquor-inhaler.jpg" alt="" width="200" height="167" /></a>When she returned home to Chicago, she recreated the experience at her cocktail lounge, Red Kiva. With the help of her father, an engineer, Palmer began experimenting with some extravagant designs. "I even taught myself to solder," she joked.
It's become quite popular with the cocktail scene since the Vaportini causes alcohol to directly be ingested into the bloodstream through the lungs. The process totally bypasses the digestive system.
Palmer ended up settling on a straightforward setup for the intoxicating device. A hand-blown glass globe rests on top of a candle and after a shot of alcohol heats up in the sphere, the liquid evaporates. This process fills the device with flavorful, invigorating vapors – then you suck them up through a glass straw.
We're not sure if vapor cocktails will replace the usual liquid versions anytime soon, but it could be a fun experience to take part in to start your night off right. You can sip on a Vaportini and catch a quick, mild buzz from it.
But – is it safe? It has been reported to give users an instant but intense high.
Dennis Thombs, a behavioral biologist from the University of North Texas, who studies alcohol abuse, doesn't know if a Vaportini poses any additional health risks when consumed. "What I will say, though, is that inhaling is a very efficient and rapid way to deliver drugs to the brain," Thombs explained to <em>The Salt</em>. "So I would think one would get intoxicated quickly."
The $30 <a href="http://www.vaportini.com/home.html">Vaportini</a> was officially launched in December. It was so popular, that by January, Palmer had to stop taking orders because she ran out of supplies.
"I'm negotiating with bars all over the country to bring it in, and I'm working with a local distiller to develop spirits specific for it," she says. "I made a lemon-and-tarragon-infused vodka — it was incredible."