New York- With this booze, you don’t gulp – you gasp.
A machine that converts alcohol into breathable mist is slated to make its U.S. debut tonight in a trendy Meatpacking District bar, although some lawmakers aren’t cheering.
Called Alcohol Without Liquid (AWoL), the machine is billed as creating a low-calorie, hangover-free buzz. Promoters say it’s big with clubbers in England, where the nonliquid libation was introduced in February.
“People just love it,” said Kevin Morse of American distributor Spirit Partners. “It’s exciting, it’s new and it’s the first big thing that has happened to alcohol consumption since we started drinking it.”
But a spokesman for the Trust Lounge, which plans to unveil the vodka vaporizer, said complaints from elected officials could force bartenders back to pouring drinks.
“It looks like it might be illegal,” the spokesman said. “New York State law doesn’t allow separating alcohol from the rest of alcoholic beverages, which is exactly what this machine does.
“It’s still being unveiled tonight, but we might have to demonstrate it using soft drinks.”
Morse said he didn’t know in which states, if any, the machine was legal, and officials at the New York State Liquor Authority could not be reached yesterday.
But even if the machine can be used, some in the state are hoping it won’t be for long.
Westchester County Executive Andrew Spano has written to New York’s attorney general, Eliot Spitzer.
“I asked him, ‘Are they illegal and, if not, how do I make them illegal?'” he said.
“We’ve been working hard to limit binge drinking, and then this thing comes along, making it look hip and cool to get drunk.”
Dr. Marc Siegel, Associate Professor of Medicine at NYU Medical Center, said, “I can see a lot of problems with this.”
“My main concern is that people will be getting drunker than they realize,” he said. “When you drink too much, you feel bad. With this, there’s no safeguard to stop you.”
AWoL users pour a shot of their favorite spirit into a diffuser capsule, which is connected to an oxygen pipe.
Oxygen bubbles are pumped through it, absorbing the alcohol and creating a smoky-looking vapor, which is then sucked through a tube and inhaled.
The whole process takes about 20 minutes.