A Chicago bar owner has invented a way to get people drunk off inhaled alcohol, and the device, called the Vaportini, is actually legal and for sale on the Internet.
According to The Huffington Post, Red Kiva owner Julie Palmer invented her cocktail inhaler when she was inspired by the Finnish tradition of pouring vodka over hot coals in saunas. The Vaportini is a more high-end version that works by putting a blown-glass globe over a heat source and warming up alcohol until it releases its intoxicating vapors, which are then inhaled through a glass straw. Red Kiva has been serving the inhalable cocktails in Chicago for a few years now, and the Vaportini paraphernalia went up for sale to the public in December for $34.50.
According to the website: "The Vaportini is legal to sell in all states for any establishment with a 'Consumption on Premise' license. The alcohol consumed through a Vaportini will be detected by a blood alcohol test."
Chicagoist got a hit off the Vaportini back when it was first invented, and writer Anthony Todd said he was, "frankly amazed at how well the flavors of the liquor carried over into the 'vapors.'" The Knob Creek bourbon reportedly offered the full range of flavors on the palate, but without the burn.
On the downside, he said that food doesn’t take the edge off a vapor buzz, as the alcohol goes straight to the bloodstream through the lungs. The effects of intoxication were observed practically instantaneously, though they were shorter lasting than a traditional buzz.
According to Time Out Chicago, the Vaportini has irked some cocktail purists, who liken the inhaled cocktails to blasphemy. But Jack Faller, Palmer’s business partner, said the goal is not to replace drinking. Palmer has high-end visions for her device as a dessert course or an extra for bottle service. But if the top-tier doesn’t come calling, there are other ways to market.
"Jack had the idea that if the Vaportini doesn’t take off, we should market it to stoners as the Vodka Bong," Palmer said.