The dark side of liquid nitrogen cocktails

Following the horrific injuries sustained by a girl who drank liquid nitrogen, has the trend for molecular mixology gone too far?

One moment Gaby Scanlon was out with her friends celebrating her 18th birthday in a wine bar in Lancaster city centre, showing off the watch she’d been given. The next, she was in Lancaster Royal Infirmary, having her stomach removed.

There are plenty of sixth-formers who wake up feeling the worse for wear after celebrating this milestone, but Gaby’s horrendous incident was not because she had drunk too much. It was because of what she had drunk: liquid nitrogen.

The police and the bar owners are still trying to work out exactly what happened, and there is no suggestion that anyone has broken any laws. However, Gaby’s accident has thrown the spotlight on the increasingly sophisticated world of cocktail bars. The era of simple piña coladas and vodka tonics has been replaced by molecular mixology, where foams, sprays, jellies and smoking drinks have become all the rage. Martini glasses and highballs are now passé – shots are drunk out of test tubes, gin and elderflower tonics served out of steaming tea pots.

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