Controversy was stirred up when a girl celebrating her 18th birthday nearly died after drinking a cocktail that included liquid nitrogen.
The drink, a Jagermeister digestif made with liquid nitrogen, led to the young woman needing a gastrectomy in order to save her life. Gaby Scanlan was taken to the hospital, where her family is waiting to hear if she’s going to be OK. She’s in stable, but serious condition.
“Anything that is the least bit hazardous does not belong in the bar,” said Ray Foley, editor of Bartending Magazine. “People are getting out of hand with these products to show off and not take care of their clients. This nitrogen cocktail; it’s ridiculous.”
Liquid nitrogen can be very dangerous. It is minus-321 degrees Fahrenheit and can cause frostbite or cryogenic burns. It is used to flash freeze food or make ice cream. But some trendy bars use it to make glasses chill instantly and it also gives off a vapor that appears to be cool in the night club.
Sven Almenning, managing director of the Speakeasy Group in Australia, says that you have to be trained carefully to use the stuff.
“A guest should never be served a drink where the nitrogen still is in liquid form, as this means it will turn into gas inside the person’s body,” he said. “This is akin to trying to consume an open flame from a lit Blazer cocktail.”
“It’s a great way to kill tissue instantaneously,” said Dr. Corey Slovis, chairman of emergency medicine at Vanderbilt Medical Center in Nashville, Tenn.
“I imagine what happened was it completely devitalized the tissues and froze it to the point where the gastric acid perforated the stomach,” said Slovis. “It would not be flexible tissue. It would be hard frozen.”
Doctors say that if not used carefully, liquid nitrogen can lead to an explosion in the stomach and possibly kill you. Be careful out there.
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