Food experimentalists Bompas and Parr are ‘breathing’ new life in the art of getting drunk. Sam Bompas and Harry Parr are about to unveil later this month a new walk-in room with clouds of vaporised cocktails, allowing entrants to absorb booze directly into their bloodstream via their lungs and eyes. The Alcoholic Architecture ‘bar’, set up for six months at London’s Borough Market on the site of an ancient monastery, will serve inhalable versions of beers historically brewed by monks. “Guests will have to wear special protective suits. The high humidity would make your clothes a tad damp. There’s also a risk you’d leave smelling like a monastic brewery,” Sam Bompas, one half of the food artistry duo, told Metro.
Q: How did you come up with the idea for a walk-in cloud of breathable cocktail?
– The idea came after we imagined what might be the most efficient, enjoyable – and tasteful – means to imbibe in the future. Breathing is axiomatic to human life, and yet we never truly consider its consequence. So by making breathing enjoyable, we’re reflecting on our own mortality. We tested the concept briefly in 2009, then spent the last six years developing this with experiential events. It is our wild fantasies made reality.
Q: How does it actually work?
– The cloud is composed of fine spirits and mixer at a ratio of 1:3, made using powerful humidifiers to super-saturate the air. With humidity at 140 percent you can see less than a meter. The installation explodes drinks to the scale of architecture for a beautiful, inhabitable world that spatialises the world’s best cocktails. Visitors will be asked to don special protective suits as they enter Alcoholic Architecture.
Q: Special protective suits… for what?
– If you visited the cloud unprotected, the high humidity would make your clothes a tad damp. There’s a risk you’d leave smelling like a monastic brewery. So we’ve taken all precautions. Everyone that comes is given a cape with hood to protect the hair.
Q: Is it possible to get absolutely drunk from sniffing a flume of booze?
– 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. Effectively if you are in the chamber for around forty minutes, you will absorb the equivalent of a large drink through your lungs and eyeballs.
Q: But what’s the max time limit?
– You can stay for an hour and guests are limited to a single visit a day. This is so that we can ensure that no-one is overindulging. The bar’s motto is ‘breath responsibly’.
Q: Absorbing alcohol via the eyes sounds like a dangerous dare…
– Absorbing alcohol through the mucus membranes of the eyes and lungs takes alcohol directly into the bloodstream, rather than via the stomach and digestive system. However, it is no more dangerous than drinking alcohol any other way and we have worked with doctors to ensure the delivery method is safe.
Q: What inhalable drinks will be on offer?
– The drinks lists are entirely comprised of spirits and beers created by monks – potations such as Chartreuse, Benedictine, Trappist beer and even the notorious Buckfast – a fortified wine so savage that Scotland’s parliament is reportedly drafting legislation to stop the caffeinated intoxicant from entering their country.
Q: The ‘bar’ will be around for six months. Then what?
– Let’s see if London is ready for breathable clouds of alcohol, supping from skull cups, snakes in the bathrooms and drinks made by monks. If it works we’ll take it from there.