Drink flairing techniques - Best practice

16 August, 2013
Pat Perry

Pat Perry, Executive Chairman at leading health and safety consultants, Perry Scott Nash, is warning bar owners and mixologists over the use of excessive, or potentially dangerous, 'flairing' techniques.

"With fierce competition in the bar industry and many operators looking to do something different to attract customers (especially the younger customers), some operators are ignoring the dangers that come with certain practices. That's according to Pat, who added: "Providing 'an experience' when purchasing and drinking alcoholic drinks is a good marketing tool - usually meaning offering smoking or steaming drinks. The effect is dramatic, very visual and the experience is fun, but it must be handled carefully and there are real health and safety risks if you get it wrong."

"First and foremost: NEVER use liquid nitrogen. It is not designed for everyday use and requires a very competent person to dispense it and manage the risks. The accidents which have happened using smoking drinks have nearly all involved liquid nitrogen. You can achieve the same dramatic smoking effect in drinks by using 'dry ice' pellets - solid carbon dioxide. Whilst it is not without risks, it is much safer to use than liquid nitrogen. There are some good reputable companies around that will supply proper equipment, dry ice pellets or liquid carbon dioxide in cylinders which can be used to dispense dry ice crystals. Remember, dry ice must be 'food grade'. If you intend to sell smoking or steaming drinks - whether alcoholic or not - you must prepare a proper risk assessment, source reputable equipment and ensure that your staff are trained in how to use the equipment safely. You must ensure that customers cannot touch dry ice crystals or pellets and that they cannot swallow the dry ice. Dry ice can cause severe skin burns - it is really frozen carbon dioxide. It can burn the throat and the stomach if swallowed in any quantity."

Before offering such drinks you should contact your health and safety advisor. The method of serve or flair should never come before the safety of your customers.

For more information on this or other matters relating to health and safety in the workplace Contact Us.

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