Here’s a new entry to add to your list of “Things Not to Do.” A British teenager in Lancaster was rushed to the hospital and had her stomach removed after drinking a fancy cocktail containing liquid nitrogen. Ouch.
Gaby Scanlon was out celebrating her eighteenth birthday when she consumed the drink at a wine bar called Oscar’s last Thursday night. She soon began experiencing intense stomach pain and breathlessness. Thankfully she was taken straight to the hospital, where doctors discovered she had perforated her stomach. Because of the damage from the liquid nitrogen, doctors had to perform a “total gastrectomy.” In short, they removed her stomach entirely, and connected the esophagus directly to the small bowel. That will allow her to eat and drink like she did before, but she’ll have to eat smaller portions and take vitamins to help supplement her diet.
I know there are some chefs out there who use the substance to produce flashy food and drinks, but if you’re a bar and serving stuff you better make real sure that you know what the hell you’re doing. And even if you are well informed about how to handle liquid nitrogen, it blows my mind that anyone would risk the potential lawsuits by serving the stuff.
Apparently the trick with this sort of drink is that you are trying to use the nitrogen to create a smoky “cauldron” effect, but you have to make sure that all of the liquid has evaporated before drinking it. The story from the Telegraph says that the drink was “properly prepared.” But if it can be properly prepared and still lead to something like this? Maybe not a good idea to serve it in the first place.
At the moment, however, there’s no word if there will be any lawsuits or if the establishment has actually committed a crime by serving the drinks. The local police said in a statement that “”The premises involved have fully co-operated with all agencies and have suspended drinks involving liquid nitrogen. The investigation is still in its early stages and we are still interviewing witnesses to establish the full facts.”
Here’s hoping Gaby recovers and has a much less dramatic birthday next year.