From a Chicago restaurant, nicotine flavored martinis

| March 13, 2008

With Nicotini, no need to light up (Chicago Sun-Times)

From pine fin martinis to chocolate martinis to nicotinis

March 12, 2008

Sooner or later, a creative soul was going to have to come up with a way for the victims of the state smoking ban to have their nicotine and drink it, too.

There is nothing particularly sexy or cool (but cold, yes) about stepping outside to have a smoke while you’re out on the town with friends or on a date. That’s exactly what sommelier/bar chef Rashed Islam at Viet Bistro, 1344 W. Devon, had in mind when he introduced the Nicotini.

That’s right, a tobacco-infused martini. No more interrupted conversations. No more tossing your butt onto the sidewalk.

Islam, himself a smoker, admits his concoction is somewhat selfish. The drink’s effect "lasts over four hours," Islam says. "If I have one when I come to work at 3:30 p.m. or 4 p.m., it carries me until 9 p.m., when I step out and have [a cigarette]."

The cocktail has made appearances on drink menus in other cities — heck, there are even recipes on the Internet — and most have been spawned by laws banning smoking in public places.

Islam’s Nicotini begins with tobacco steeped sugarcane juice; he uses 2 ounces of tobacco for every gallon of juice.

Soaking the nicotine out of the tobacco is key to this recipe, says Islam, a sommelier for nine years.

Here’s a little Nicotine 101 from our friends at the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota: Nicotine, a potent chemical found in chewing tobacco and smoke from cigarettes, cigars and pipes, produces physical and mood-altering effects in your brain that are temporarily pleasing … thus the addiction.

Back to the recipe. The tobacco- infused base is in two martinis on the menu: a sweet version, mixed with chocolate espresso-infused liquor, and a savory one with gin, vodka or rum and aromatics such as lemongrass and tamarind.

"You don’t taste the tobacco," Islam says. "You feel it."

He introduced the drinks this month and will keep them around as long as there is demand.

But he says just about every one of his 27 martinis on the menu, from pomegranate to tropical jackfruit, could be turned into a Nicotini.


Category: General Healthcare News

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