Breathable booze is the future of partying

Breathable booze is the future of partying

VicesSeptember 12, 2017 By Lindsey Kline

Harley Chesal hates drinking. He’ll take a hit from a joint over a shot from a bottle anyday. His reasoning is twofold — one, because liquor tastes like shit, and two, because there’s something strangely fulfilling about filling your lungs. So when Harley inhaled a shot of Jameson and ginger mist and instantly felt its intoxicating buzz, he knew he’d stumbled onto something extraordinary. The very next day, he created a brand new company called Misst, which seeks to bring inhalable alcohol to the masses.

The business is founded upon the belief that breathing in booze will be the future of getting buzzed. Chesal claims that using balloons filled with misted liquor, you can get the same tipsy sensation without the risks of drunken stupors and sickening hangovers.

To understand how this novel method of consuming alcohol is conceivable, we spoke with the inventor of the machine making this possible. Victor Wong, founder of Vapshot and creator of the Alcohol Mist machine, has discovered a means of transforming a drop of liquor into millions of intoxicating micro-droplets. He explains how his super-efficient shots can get you feeling loose with 1/60th the typical amount of liquid liquor.

“Alcohol mist can be breathed in, absorbed into the lungs, and spread directly into the bloodstream. You’ll feel the buzz instantly,” Wong tells us over the phone. “With liquid, alcohol has to go through all of these bodily processes before it’s metabolized, so many people make the mistake of thinking ‘I can’t feel anything yet!’ and pounding down a dozen more shots,” he says.

In response to this, I nod knowingly, reminiscing on the nights this mentality left me lying piss-drunk on the bathroom floor. Wong continues, “Because you feel alcohol mist immediately, you’re more efficient, you’re more in control, and you won’t overconsume.”

The minimal amount of alcohol ingested means no sloppy slurring stupor, no sugar or excessive calories, and no hangover. So what’s the tradeoff? The buzz doesn’t last as long, Wong tells us. Employing the same devices the Austin, TX sheriff’s department uses to test for DUIs, Wong determined that after one shot of alcohol mist, your BAC would be at about a .04~.05 (below the legal limit at .08). But after only a half an hour, the shot will have worn off completely, and you’ll blow a zero.

Wong and Chesal believe that cutting back on chugging liquid shots can mitigate drunk driving and save lives. But for those who are looking for the obliterated state of mind at the bottom of a bottle of tequila, alcohol mist may disappoint.

“The feeling is certainly different,” Wong explains. “You get more of a euphoric feeling than a drunk feeling, and more of a giggly excitement than a drunken daze.”

Despite its objectives of diminishing excessive alcohol intake, America has not always embraced inhalable cocktails. Years ago, when Wong first became a vendor of vaporized liquor and founded a company called Vapshot, a regulatory agency known as the ABC (Alcoholic Beverage Commission) was deeply troubled by this unique industry.

Because the Vapshot produced gaseous alcohol as opposed to a typical liquid, the vapor was outside the agency’s governance. The commission feared that because alcohol bypasses your digestive system when you inhale it, it doesn't get broken down into it's non-intoxicating byproducts as quickly, which could lead to a massive build-up of booze in your bloodstream. Although there were no formal scientific studies describing the negative effects of inhaling liquor, vaporized alcohol was subsequently outlawed in a number of US states, sending Wong back to the drawing board.

Alcohol mist is the product of these regulatory challenges, overcoming their onslaught of bans on various vapor products by creating a mist that still qualifies as a liquid. Wong has measured his new product against OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) guidelines for safe levels of alcohol vapors permitted in the lungs, and ensures the mist meets OSHA standards.

“The machine is unique in that it does not use heat, so it does not change the chemical composition of the ingredients. Alcohol mist is simply micro-droplets of liquor still in liquid form. And since it doesn’t change states, it doesn’t violate regulations against vapor,” Wong explains.

With their newly unveiled lawful product, Chesal and Wong have high hopes for the future of breathable booze. They’ve begun presenting the Alcoholic Mist machine to casinos and clubs in Austin, Las Vegas, and Miami. Club owners are told that each 750 mL bottle can make 1500-2500 mist shots, grossing $5 a shot, and approximately $7500 per bottle.

“I can see the dollar signs lighting up in their eyes,” Chesal tells me over the phone with a hearty laugh.

Chesal and Wong admit that the Alcohol Mist machine practically sells itself.  They expect balloons full of alcoholic mist to fill the lungs of tens of thousands of partygoers this year. After all, a shot only takes a drop of liquor, the mist goes directly into the bloodstream, and the negative effects of excessive drinking are effectively diminished.

“Sure, it doesn’t last as long, but unless you’re on a drunken bender, 3-4 hours is enough for most people,” Wong says. On the other line of our 3-way call, Chesal echoes this sentiment, then takes a deep inhale. Whether he’s huffing on weed or whiskey, I can’t tell.