Monday, October 29, 2007

As the cold weather sets in, life is starting to become a drag for many smokers, but there may be an alternative to braving the great outdoors for a puff: nicotine cocktails.

London bars are now serving nicotine and tobacco in cocktail form, but can you really get your fix in a glass? And what would it taste like?

Shochu Lounge on Charlotte Street, London, serves a Smoked Old Fashioned. It is the least hardcore of all the cocktails and doesn't contain any actual nicotine, but it is made with tobacco, smoke and leather essences to give it a smoky flavour. The cocktail's creator, Tony Conigliaro, says it's pretty popular, selling more than 20 a week. He has also noticed a change in people's habits; now that people can't smoke, they are drinking more.

At Floridita on Wardour Street, London, head barman Richard Woods has thrown smokers a lifeline with the 'All Up In Smoke' section on the cocktail menu. A rum based Tobacco Old Fashioned and the Cigar Lover's Martini, both on the menu before the ban, have been joined by the Nicotini, the Smokey Old Fashioned, and the Smoked Agave Sazerac.

If you tend to binge smoke when you're out, you could run into difficulties. These cocktails pack a punch, an Old Fashioned is basically a glass of pure alcohol and at £12.95 a cocktail, there really is an incentive to wait until the cigarette cravings kick in.

On the menu at Pearl Restaurant and Bar in High Holborn, London, is another version the Nicotini cocktail. This is a dark, sweetish drink, made with rum, Kahlua, lemon juice, sugar syrup, egg whites and garnished with orange peel and rosemary. The nicotine comes from the rum, which has had a Cuban cigar in the bottle for a week. Head barman Gustavo Bertolucci says he came up with the cocktail to keep people inside after the ban. "We wanted to take the nicotine out of the air and put it in a glass."

So we wait with baited (fresh) breath to see whether these cocktails really take off and help smokers quit. Keep an eye open when you're next browsing the cocktail menu of a trendy London bar.

Source: The London Paper, Tuesday 23rd October 2007


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