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    Liquid Nitrogen Cocktails Look Cool, But You Might Lose Your Gut

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    Daniel Stuckey



    <p>Liquid nitrogen, the instant wart-removing, <span class="caps">CPU</span> cooling, cryogenic liquid that expands into gas at ratio of 1-to-694 in room temperature environments has now been linked with an unexpected gastrectomy (stomach removal) of a young woman near Lancaster, England, last week.</p>
      <p>On her 18th birthday, Gabby Scanlon&#8217;s stomach had to be <a href="http://news.yahoo.com/blogs/lookout/concerns-rise-over-liquid-nitrogen-following-cocktail-accident-181719454.html">removed</a> by doctors that said if they hadn&#8217;t, she would&#8217;ve probably bitten the dust. Of all the awful scenarios I&#8217;ve heard, this one tops charts for worst birthday nightmares come to life. While Gabby&#8217;s incident has adequately spooked the Lancaster wine bar she was drinking at into 86&#8217;ing nitrogen cocktails from its menu, it strikes me as terribly odd that such a horrific consequence of the seemingly harmless additive could have made it by until now.</p>
      <div style="float:right; margin:0 0 0 15px">
      <p><img src="http://www.viceland.com/viceblog/84507074liquidnitrococktail.gif" style="width:200px;" alt="" /></p>
      <h5>Check out that fogger!</div></h5>
      <p>Produced industrially, the liquid state of nitrogen has been popularized in cocktail mixtures for a long time. It&#8217;s like having a personal fog machine for your cocktail or a miniature version of a kitschy backyard-fountain at a porno mansion. Insatiable partygoers are taken and taken by the rounds of a drinks that can one up the next table in dazzle and spectacle. (I can&#8217;t help but remember how special I felt making flaming Dr. Peppers with my cousin and downing them on fire to a point of near black-out in front of family on Christmas eve.) But tricks like these have been in the kitchen for ages.</p>
      <p>Liquid nitrogen has been utilized the kitchen since at least 1894, when Mrs. Agnes B. Marshall published <a href="http://www.viceland.com/viceblog/81632447FANCYICES.jpeg"><em>Fancy Ices</em></a>, a recipe book that covered its use in desserts. Today its use is popularized by mixologists and bleach-tipped bartenders across the globe. As long as you use the right precautions, liquid nitrogen is pretty safe to use. But anyone who&#8217;s worked in a kitchen or bar knows that safety isn&#8217;t always the top priority.</p>
      <p>Perhaps it&#8217;s the exciting novelty of using special effects that has food service staff often overlooking safety standards. I mean, when was the last time you saw a badass chef wear protective goggles while torching up a crème brûlée? As for the liquid nitrogen, a professor <a href="http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-19870668">commented</a> on the BBC&#8217;s story that the liquid ought to be totally evaporated from anything food or drink before it is served. So maybe the bartender didn&#8217;t warn Scanlon about letting the liquid nitrogen dissipate, or perhaps it was birthday exuberance. In either case, after <a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Kmo1loKqADk">flaming shots gone wrong</a> and this, I&#8217;ve yet to run out of reasons not to drink.</p>


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