Smoking cocktails have become a favorite at many popular bars and restaurants, but sometimes consumption of the the eye-pleasing drink can have dangerous side effects. One South Florida woman learned this when just one sip of the "toxic cocktail" sent her to the emergency room.
When added to drinks, liquid nitrogen causes the foggy witch’s brew effect that you may be familiar with.While at a fundraiser in Miami, Barbara Kaufman was curious to try one of these smoking cocktails, WPLG 10 reported. Kaufman went on to order one at the Miami Beach Botanical Gardens, where a bartender handed her the beverage without saying a word. “One would assume if you are handed a drink, or handed something to eat or whatever it is, that you could at that time drink it,” Kaufman told WPLG. After a sip of the "toxic drink" Kaufman collapsed on the floor unconscious. “From what I was told, smoke was coming out of my nose and my mouth,” Kaufman explained.
After being rushed to the ER, doctors discovered that Kaufman had ingested liquid nitrogen. This is a form of the gas nitrogen that has become so cold that it exists in liquid form. It is mainly used for cooling and cryogenic technology. Dr. Lesley Clark, a dermatologist who spoke with WPLG, uses the chemical to medically kill tissue. “You are looking at a temperature range between negative 350 to negative 320 degrees F. That is about 100 times colder than an ice cube,” Clark explained to WPLG.
In this particular bar, the chemical was not part of a laboratory procedure but was an ingredient in Kaufman’s beverage. The gas burned Kaufman’s insides, damaging her esophagus, stomach, and lower bowels with small holes. Her lungs filled with fluid, and as the liquid nitrogen turned back to its gas form inside Kaufman, her body began to expand. "All her life organs were in jeopardy,” Kaufman’s attorney Marc Brumer told WPLG.
18-Year-Old Loses Stomach to Nitro Drink
Kaufman remains under a doctor’s care, and for now, it is unknown if there will be any long-term damage. Hopefully, she will not receive an injury as serious as Gaby Scanlon, who in 2012 had to have her entire stomach removed due to injuries she sustained from a similar "toxic cocktail," The Telegraph reported. At first, Scanlon dismissed the pains in her stomach, but soon they became so severe that she was doubled over in pain. A CAT scan revealed that a large hole had formed in her stomach and destroyed her stomach lining. The whole organ had to be removed, and surgeons attached her esophagus directly to her bowels. "I never thought something that could be so dangerous would be served in a bar. No one warned me. I was just told to wait a couple of seconds for the vapours to evaporate,” Scanlon explained to The Telegraph.
Liquid Nitrogen as Popular as Ever
Despite its dangers, the use of liquid nitrogen in food and beverages seems to be here to stay. Molecular gastronomy is a subcategory of the culinary arts that involves experimentation with gases and chemicals to enhance the dishes. It offers the highest paid salary in the field, according to the 2011 American Culinary Federation salary study.
The Culinary Institute of America has recently added a culinary science major, where students are asked to learn how to use liquid nitrogen as a coolant to make ice cream or strawberry dust. “It’s like so many things in life. If it is used improperly, there are hazards … A deep-fryer also has dangers when people are using it without training,” Dave Arnold, head of culinary technology at the French Culinary Institue explained to ABC News.