Most of us drink our alcohol the old-fashioned way. We shoot it back in shots, sip it cold with a couple of olives in a martini or on ice with a lime, or even gulp it upside down through a keg funnel. But we usually don’t inhale it. The Vaportini, a new device on the market, lets you do just that.
Here’s how it works: Liquor is poured into a glass globe. It’s then heated, and vapors collect in the glass. A straw is inserted and the vapors are meant to be inhaled, held for five seconds, then exhaled.
Creator Julie Palmer Palmer says users feel the effects right away, but that they wear off faster than drinking. She’s ordered some testing of spirit inhalation and claims that smoking the vapors has very few calories and almost no impurities.
Palmer, a former restaurant and lounge owner in Chicago, came up with the idea after a trip to Helsinki where she experienced people pouring vodka over hot coals then inhaling the vapors in a sauna.
“I definitely felt the effects of the alcohol,” Palmer said. “I thought it was cool to experience it in a new way."
When Palmer returned to Chicago, she worked with engineers, including her father, to develop a way to distill the alcohol in a similar way, without the sauna. She started using the Vaportinis at home for dinner parties, then at her Chicago venues. The Vaportini came to market earlier this year.
“You’re still consuming alcohol, so there are still some risks, but a Vaportini is essentially another distillation, so what you’re getting is purer than what you put in,” Palmer said. “And it also doesn’t irritate your stomach or esophagus the way traditional consumption would.”
It takes about five minutes to heat up the alcohol and 20 minutes or so to consume it. We tried it out with some Absinthe and found that the hits are smooth, without the bite. Watch the video above to see how it works.
The device is meant to be used with alcohol that is 80 to 100 proof and infused liquors are more flavorful. Palmer is working with a distiller on a line of infused spirits to be used with the Vaportini.
The basic Vaportini kit comes with the glass globe, a metal ring holder, funnel, glass straw and a candle and sells for $30 online. You can opt to purchase a Vaportini pint glass for $12 or use any pint glass you have at home.
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