US smokers toast tobacco cocktails
SMOKERS in the United States are turning to tobacco-based cocktails in an effort to beat a ban on lighting up in public places.
Tough new anti-smoking legislation has been introduced in several states, including Florida and New York, with fines of up to 75 for first offenders.
Bars are responding to the law changes by developing drinks to match the taste of smokers’ favourite brands.
The World Bar, in Trump World Tower, now serves up the "Smokeless Manhattan", a drink made of Churchill’s port, Laphroaig whisky and orange bitters, which reportedly tastes like Marlboro Reds.
Achieving the tobacco taste in not cheap, however. The cost of the Smokeless Manhattan is a breathtaking 9, not including tip.
In Florida they are drinking the "Nicotini", a tobacco-spiked martini packing a nicotine rush and smokey aftertaste. The Cathode Ray Club in Fort Lauderdale invented the drink by soaking tobacco leaves overnight in vodka and adding liqueurs, including Drambuie.
Cocktail bartender Mario Puizman said: "Smokers want to be able to enjoy the taste of a cigarette without being made to step outside and leave the company of their friends.
"They don’t want to be like pariahs stuck on the sidewalk, so we came up with this instead. The whisky gives it a peaty, smokey flavour, which the smokers find comforting."
Restaurants also have got round the smoking ban by putting tobacco on the menu.
The Italian restaurant Serafina Sandro in New York unveiled a "Tobacco Special" menu with delicacies such as gnocchi made with tobacco and filet mignon in a tobacco-wine sauce, garnished with dried tobacco.
Tobacco panna cotta - an Italian cooked cream dish - is available for dessert, followed by a strong glass of tobacco-infused grappa.
Julie Hunter, marketing manager of the Scotch Whisky Heritage Centre in Edinburgh, praised the initiative.
"Whiskies being used for cocktails is a growing market. Obviously they are choosing the island single malts for their strong smokey flavour," she said.
"Drinking whisky is certainly a healthier option to smoking, but obviously in moderation."
The ban on smoking in New York bars, restaurants, bingo halls and betting shops came into effect in April.
Since then there have been 3,229 noise complaints - an increase of 160 per cent on the previous year - mainly about smokers congregating outside bars at night.
Anti-smokers living above bars are furious because of fumes wafting through their windows.
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