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The VaporTini

How to Inhale a Martini

by Stephanie Miller – July 31, 2009
312.226.5577

At Moto, a Class 4 laser (usually used for military experiments or eye surgery) and a vanilla bean are used to “caramelaserize” a wineglass. David Burke’s Primehouse has served up a house Manhattan made with sweet vermouth, leather-infused bourbon and a bitters-spiked maraschino puree: a liquid dropped into the drink that will coalesce into a “gumdrop” when it hits the side of the glass.

Adventurous bartenders and master mixologists around the world are employing the techniques of avant-garde cooking to their work behind the bar. On the heels of molecular gastronomy – a culinary discipline pioneered in the 1980s – comes a new breed of innovation: Molecular Mixology. It is with this gastro art form that chemistry and physics determine what makes a brilliant cocktail and scientific techniques that were once only used behind a stove are now being used behind the bar. Part of the challenge to the art of the drink lies in pairing components with a similar genetic makeup that may not have traditionally gone together; the other part is juxtaposing various temperatures and disparate textures to create startling combinations.

Molecular gastronomy combines foods with similar chemical compositions. If one ingredient has a high level of amines or aldehydes then they should be paired with other ingredients with a similar makeup. Molecular mixology pairs alcohols, spirits, spices and aromatics with similar chemical compositions to create a perfectly blended drink.

On a similar note, proprietor, Julie Palmer, is introducing a need breed of the martini: The VaporTini.

The VaporTini consists of flavor-enhanced alcohol vapors served in a glass globe that you inhale by “sipping” through a straw. The glass globe has a custom-made silver metal base and evokes a 1970’s mod, futuristic feel. Red Kiva’s mixologists pour the selected alcohol into the glass globe then heat the liquid to 110 degrees, beginning the vapor process. A glass straw is inserted into the globe and participants “sip”, or inhale, the vapors. They’ve suggested that you inhale the flavored vapors slowly for 20 minutes.

The VaporTini’s creator, Julie Palmer, was inspired to create the”inhale-tail” while in Helsinki, Finland on the shortest day of the year. The local tradition in Helsinki is for people to pour vodka onto hot sauna coals and inhale the vapors. Julie wanted to create a similar experience at Red Kiva. After several prototypes and many different trials with her father, an engineer, the VaporTini was born.

The VaporTini Menu is below, where each cocktail is prepared for $10.

Effen Black Cherry Vanilla vodka with a chocolate-covered cherry garnish

Tanqueray Rangpur with a candied citrus peel garnish

Knob Creek with a griottine garnish

Absolut Raspberri served with raspberry candy and chocolates

VaporTinis are available on Thursday evenings beginning August 6th and table reservations are welcomed for VaporTini service.

About the Author: Stephanie Miller

Simply put: Stephanie is a wine and spirits guru. A Social Media Strategist by day and the Drink Editor of Chicago Scene by night, she has her pulse on the latest liquor trends and could probably teach a course on the difference between Scotch and Whiskey.