THE forecast is cloudy with a high chance of intoxication.
Until now, Buckfast, the notorious high-caffeine alcoholic drink, has been a conspicuous presence in offsales and supermarkets which stock the beverage in its distinctive green bottles. But now, the drink that has become a byword for Scotland’s social ills is to form the centrepiece of a new art installation which will allow people to breathe in alcohol in mist form.
In what has been billed as the world’s first “alcoholic weather system for your tongue,” where “meteorology and mixology collide,” the offbeat concept uses powerful humidifiers to create a cloud made up of one part alcoholic spirit to three parts mixer.
With humidity at 140 per cent, visitors to the “walk-in cloud bar” installation will be able to absorb the alcohol through the body’s mucous membranes – a moist layer of epithelial tissue – in their eyelids and lungs.
The company behind the initiative, culinary design studio, Bompas & Parr, says that after spending around 40 minutes in the boozy mist, where visibility will be less than a metre, the average person will have absorbed the equivalent amount of alcohol as found in a large drink.
The six month-long installation, entitled Alcoholic Architecture, will be launched later this month at Borough Market, a food market in London’s Southwark area which dates back to the 11th century.
In a nod to its medieval history, the team which devised the project has drawn up a menu entirely comprised of spirits and beers created by monks.
Sam Bompas, a director of the firm, said that Buckfast was one of the stand-out beverages on offer, describing the fortified wine as “savage”.
People entering the bar will be asked to wear a special protective suit to help protect their clothing from the high humidity inside. The company has also worked with scientists to establish how long people can be exposed to the cloud – customers will be restricted to one visit per day, with each lasting no longer than an hour.
Bompas explained: “We were working with respiratory scientists and chemists to calculate safe lengths of time that visitors can remain in the cloud. It’s a complex series of calculations taking in ratio of spirit to mixer, room size, number of people in the room, air change, lung capacity and rate of alcohol absorption.”