Liquid nitrogen cocktails have become the rage in bars and parties. However, a teenage girl Gaby Scanlon has shown the dangers of the gas after her stomach was removed after drinking a cocktail containing liquid nitrogen.
Scanlon was celebrating her 18th birthday and ordered the drink at a wine bar. She reportedly drank two ‘Nitro Jagermeister’ cocktails in quick succession. This certainly does raise a question of plaintiffs’ conduct, but Scanlon had reason to assume that drinking two cocktails would be safe. She was not required to have a knowledge of the properties of liquid nitrogen or its use in drinks. It was reasonably foreseeable that a patron would drink cocktails in relatively quick succession at a bar.
She said that she felt breathless and then experienced stomach pains. The entire stomach had to be removed to save her life.
Some bars use liquid nitrogen to freeze glasses while other use it in actual drinks. The question is whether the use of liquid nitrogen is a per se negligent act given its dangers. If this is any measure of that danger, it would be hard to see how this is a reasonable use. However, it could claimed that this is the bar version of the Puffer fish in Japanese cuisine — inherently deadly but able to be served when prepared by someone with specialized training.