Nitrogen Cocktail Explodes in Teen, Stirring Up Debate

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Nitrogen Cocktails Require Care

Several bartending experts told ABCNews.com that they had never heard of an incident such as the one in Britain in which a patron actually drank liquid nitrogen.

Jacob Briars, head of trade training and education for Bacardi, wonders why a "molecular mixology" technique that is expensive and requires skill would be used in remote part of England.

"I think something is lost in translation here," he said, "or some facts are missing from the reporting?"

But Dale DeGroff, who is known as New York City's "King Cocktail" after years bartending at the renowned Rainbow Room, said it is important to flag the dangers of liquid nitrogen, as well as dry ice.

"Having said that, I don't think there is need for alarm because these techniques are rarely used and almost always by professions with the skill and knowledge to use the safely," DeGroff said. "This is the first example of abuse I have seen in my long career."

Meanwhile, British police are interviewing witnesses at the bar where Scanlan drank her liquid nitrogen cocktail and other places have been told to stop selling those kinds of drinks.

The "stupidity" of what allegedly happened confounds Robert Hess, founder of the Museum of the American Cocktail and author of "The Essential Bartenders Guide."

"I'd equate it to a 'chef,' and I'll use that term loosely here," he said, "reading about the practice of foraging and then going out to their backyard and finding some random mushrooms and serving it at their restaurant without realizing that most mushrooms are poisonous."

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