A Cocktail Inhaled, Not Stirred. The “Vaportini”

[Updated: a reader tells me they are available at Porto Terra in the Hilton]

Is this a dumb idea? Red Kiva, a Chicago cocktail lounge, is offering customers a cocktail that is inhaled.

From NPR’s The Salt:

That’s right, folks, the “Vaportini” has arrived. And it’s making a big splash on the cocktail scene in Chicago.

Vaportini provides a revolutionary way of consuming alcohol. It is inhaled rather than swallowed, smooth and flavorful, and the subtleties of the individual liquors used are apparent. It is absorbed directly into the bloodstream. The advantage is no calories, no impurities and the effects are immediately felt; so it’s easier to responsibly imbibe.

Yeah, that’s right. You get drunker faster, which is more responsible.


Courtesty Vaportini.com

The alcohol is placed into a glass globe with a metal base. The bartenders pour the alcohol into the glass globe, then heat it to 110 degrees. Customers “sip” the vapors for approximately 20 minutes.

According to Vaportini.com, “Vaportinis give more control , shortly after exhaling all of the effects of the alcohol consumed are felt. In contrast, it takes 20 to 30 minutes to feel the full effects of liquor that is swallowed.” The math on this doesn’t quite work if you take into account that it takes so long to inhale the drink, but I digress.

This reminds me of regular at a place where I bartended who always gulped a last drink and ran out the door, claiming he would be home before it hit him.

Here is the Red Kiva Vaportini menu:

Effen Black Cherry Vanilla vodka with a chocolate-covered cherry garnish

Tanqueray Rangpur with a candied citrus peel garnish

Knob Creek with a griottine garnish [Griottines are cherries macerated in eau de vie or kirsch. I had to look it up]
Absolut Raspberri served with raspberry candy and chocolates


At first I um, sniffed at this idea, but after thinking about it, I’ve come around a bit.

Over the years I’ve opened many bottles of wine that had such a good nose, a glass lasted me much longer than it normally would; I was happy just swirling and sniffing. The same can be said of good Madeira, brandy and bourbons. For me, inhaling is a huge part of the experience1. On the other hand, I’m paying for the drink, so at some point I’d like to actually ingest it, though I can’t help but wonder what it will taste like once the alcohol has been burned off.

As Portland is the home of “bone luging“, I am pretty sure you’ll be able to get this somewhere locally soon.

They sell the kit for $30, but this doesn’t seem like it would be complicated to replicate at home. Hmm… all you’d need is a clear glass bong, a candle… I feel an experiment coming on. It might not be elegant, but for experimentation purposes, why not. I shall report back. In the meantime, take a look at this spoof on Parks and Recreation, starting 1 minute in. If you don’t laugh, see your doctor:

1. Why yes, I didn’t make the requisite joke here! I must be growing up.

Your thoughts are welcome

  1. Suds Sister says

    When I say ‘illegal’ I mean that it is not only illegal to use them, it is illegal to possess them. Oregon is not one of those states, but I wouldn’t necessarily go inhaling away! I’ve read that the claims of calorie-free drinking and no hangovers are dubious at best. Alcohol is still absorbed, just by the lung tissue and into bloodstream instead of the stomach, and it is absorbed much more rapidly. Quick highs lead to addictions.

    Even if the claims of no side-effects are true, it’s important to remember what vomiting and a hangover are: our body both protecting itself and reacting to being poisoned. With those self-preservation measures effectively turned off, who knows the extent to which an irresponsible user could damage themselves.

          • Joisey says

            The comment was made because that’s the kind of thing you’d see at a Frat House right next to the 6 foot bong.

            You are correct, rape jokes are never funny. However, self righteous female indignation always is.

          • pdxyogi says

            Roofies can have countless purposes, rape being one of them. Rape jokes are never funny. But it was not a joke about rape. Agree with Joisey that humorless feminists are always funny.

          • ELEANOR says

            joisey & pdxyogi: humorless feminists are funny because they’re not a threat, amiright? and also make you feel guilty so you have to deflect your shame. you’re right, it’s okay. just pretend i didn’t say anything.

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