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Extreme Mixology: Inhaling Vaportinis

Extreme Mixology: Inhaling VaportinisMixology is a hot trend in food service.  More and more bars and restaurants are investing in exotic flavors and unique blends to make cocktails that draw customers in and tantalize their taste buds.  There are even professional “mixologists” who dedicate their time to the art of developing the next trendy cocktail.

The Red Kiva Lounge in Chicago has apparently taken mixology to a new level with Vaportinis: a shot of alcohol that’s heated, and, instead of being drunk, is inhaled as it evaporates from the heat.  The result is a head rush akin to smoking a cigarette as the alcohol is absorbed through the lungs.

The owner of The Red Kiva got the idea for Vaportinis after a trip to Finland, where vodka is poured over hot coals and then inhaled during an annual winter festival.  After developing a special container that heats the alcohol and then allows the customer to inhale through a straw, The Red Kiva started offering several different types of alcohol in their Vaportinis.

The more exotic mixology gets, the more interesting the ways people will find to ingest alcohol.  The quest for the next trendy drink continues to yield innovations like the Vaportini.  The biggest hurdle to this drink is reminding people that inhaling alcohol still gets you drunk.  No word on how a breathalyzer reacts to someone whose been “smoking” alcohol.

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Aztec “Beer” Makes a Comeback

Aztec Beer Makes a Comeback

The traditional Aztec drink pulque

Pulque is a thick, milky alcoholic drink first enjoyed by Aztec kings in the centuries before the arrival of Spanish conquistadors.  It is fermented from the juice of the maguey plant, which is an aloe-like relative of the agave, the source of tequila and mezcal.  After the fall of the Aztec empire, the masses of poor mestizos in colonial Mexico adopted the drink and pulque consumption soared.

Fermented maguey is mixed with any of a number of flavors including pineapple, pistachio, strawberry, and even celery to mask its bitter taste.  Places that serve pulque, called pulquerias, have been going out of business one by one over the past century as its popularity dwindled among the working classes of Mexico.

Then, suddenly, young people in the heart of Mexico City rediscovered pulque and now the few surviving pulquerias are thriving hangout spots for Mexican youth.

Technology has also lent a helping hand  as modern pasteurization has led to the bottling and canning of pulque, which traditionally had a shelf life of only a few days.

A few companies have even begun to import the drink to the United States, in hopes of capturing the attention of homesick Mexicans and tuned-in hipsters.  After a hundred years of decline, pulque has made a comeback.  Montezuma would be proud.

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