By Sacha Delfosse
Despite the recent bad press liquid nitrogen cocktails have received in the mainstream media, many local bars have been serving such drinks safely and successfully for years.
Liquid nitrogen cocktails hit the headlines this week following reports from the UK of a woman having to have a large portion of her stomach removed after she consumed two of the drinks.
However, The Speakeasy Group director Sven Almenning, says his bar The Roosevelt – which has a bespoke liquid nitrogen trolley – has long served the cocktails without incident.
"I have never heard of any issues or injuries prior to the tragic incident in the UK. Top end bars and world-renowned restaurants all over the world use liquid nitrogen in their drinks and cuisine, and I've never heard of any parties getting hurt," he said.
"As long as you're not ingesting it in liquid form, all the research we have done indicates that it is a perfectly safe method to use in both bars and kitchens."
Almenning believes liquid nitrogen is perfectly safe and non-toxic, and makes the point that people need to understand that liquid nitrogen is never used as an ingredient in a cocktail, rather as a method to achieve super chilled drinks or to change their texture.
"[The] issue is with regards to ensuring customers are not given drinks that are too cold. This is pretty easy to monitor and avoid," Almenning said.
"In addition we always make sure that customers are not served drinks which still have nitrogen sitting on top of them – this is again easy to see as there will be a fog or a smoking effect taking place. Only once the liquid nitrogen has completely evaporated do we allow our guests to enjoy the drink."
Almenning said all the staff at The Roosevelt are properly trained before being allowed to handle liquid nitrogen in the bar and the venue also makes sure they use all the correct and recommended safety gear and storage vessels.
"We use especially made liquid nitrogen dewars for storage, that we purchase from our suppliers, and we have goggles and gloves behind the bar for them to use whilst handling the liquid nitrogen.
"It is however important to note that from an OH&S perspective liquid nitrogen is pretty harmless when used by trained staff in a bar or kitchen," he said.