Are Tobacco-Infused Cocktails Safe To Drink?

tobacco cocktailsPhoto: Courtesy of Bar Charley.
Smoking in bars may be (mostly) a thing of the past, but drinking tobacco is just getting started. Yes, tobacco. Those dried brown leaves with their unmistakable flavor are now being infused into cocktails for a smoky surprise. Whether that surprise is good or bad depends on a few factors — one of them being if you light up yourself.
Advertisement
But, the type of tobacco used can impact the drink's taste in a major way. NPR talked to a few mixologists who've concocted their own nicotine-tinged cocktails, and pipe tobacco — which usually lacks the 600 or so added ingredients found in cigarettes — seems to be the winner, though clove smokes do make a cameo in one bar's "sweet tea." Sang Yoon of Father's Office in L.A. says there's no hiding tobacco, even if it's sugared up. You still get that cigarette buzz, and it even burns a bit going down. Um, yum?!
While the trend's been on the rise for a few years, it no longer seems content with its simple status as a speakeasy curiosity, especially now that tobacco vodka (you can even get it in menthol!) and bitters are on the market. So, now anyone can make their own, and that's where things get, well, hazy.
The problem with these infused liquors, according to researcher Stan Glantz of the University of California, San Francisco, is that there's no way of knowing how much tobacco we're drinking. And, too much can definitely be dangerous. Sure, the whole breathing-smoke issue is solved, but the CDC warns that even low concentrations of liquid tobacco can cause tremors and increase heart and respiratory rates, blood pressure, and levels of alertness. And, while very few studies have been conducted about ingesting it, one found that downing more than .5 grams of nicotine — a chemical component naturally found in tobacco — could harm an adult. That's one-tenth of a teaspoon, for all you non-metric speakers.
So, while we don't want to be a buzzkill, we're thinking, until we know more, this top-shelf trend might just need to stay where it's been — out of reach. (NPR)
Advertisement

More from Food & Drinks

While some people might be trying to get you to delete your Instagram food pics, there are many, many more tinkering around in their high-tech laboratories...
Growing up, your parents may have told you to be grateful for your food, because some people are starving. Now, your own meals can actually help other ...
Coffee lovers of the world, get ready. We have news that might make even a die-hard caffeine addict à la Lorelai Gilmore jump up and down in excitement. ...
These out of this world doughnuts are topped with a vanilla galaxy. Oh, and did we mention that they only have two ingredients
DIY cotton candy ice cream that doesn't require an ice cream maker? Winning
Whether you're brunching or, uh, dinnering, etiquette is of the utmost importance when dining out. And no, we don't mean keeping your elbows off the table...
Once in college, I had a friend Google "how to make a grilled cheese," and I remember being completely baffled that someone would need a step-by-step ...
(Paid Content) Scrambled eggs for breakfast? Yawn. Standard-issue pancakes? Predictable. To effectively get us out of bed in the a.m., we prefer a morning ...
Once the vegetable our moms would have to beg us to try ("just a bite!"), today, we can't get enough of cauliflower. It practically defines the word ...
Great drinks, a perfect soundtrack, the perfect lighting: all these things can make a party good. But what makes a get-together memorable? The food. Once ...
A few months back, Zoe Bain went boldly where neither of us had gone before: She completely barred herself from anything takeout (yes, even coffee) for two...
Every time we log into Amazon, it feels like everything — movies, tech gadgets, and random articles of clothing — is competing for our attention. But, ...
S'mores are a messy dessert favorite. But why not skip the sticky situation and enjoy yours in a cone
This may be news to you, but living in New York is kind of expensive. But, while it may always be the land of $17 cocktails and unmentionable rents, the ...