This story is over 5 years old.

A British Woman Had to Have Her Stomach Removed After Drinking This Cocktail

Gaby Scanlon was celebrating her 18th birthday at Oscar’s Wine Bar in Lancaster, England, when she was served a “Nitro-Jagermeister.” Then things went downhill.
Photo via Flickr user johnjoh

Hell, there are countless ways to ruin the one day of the year that should be the very best: your birthday. You may find yourself having to attend the wedding of your mortal enemy, or maybe using that brand new Razor scooter—the one you wanted so badly—to plow headfirst into a truck in front of all your 10-year old friends (definitely not speaking from experience here).

But the indignity of all indignities has to be having your goddamn stomach eaten apart by the very first shot you legally consume.


READ: We Spoke to the LA Bartender Who Smokes Cocktails with a Bong

Gaby Scanlon was celebrating her 18th birthday at Oscar's Wine Bar in Lancaster, England, when she was served a "Nitro-Jagermeister."

In court, Ms. Scanlon described the moment she drank the shot and her life changed: "I turned to the man and asked if it was okay to drink. He said, 'Yes.' Smoke was coming from my nose and mouth. Straight away I knew something was not right."

In fact, something was very wrong. The £3.95 shot left her close to death. The family-run wine bar has since been fined £100,000 for serving Scanlon the cocktail.

Scanlon was taken to Lancaster Royal Infirmary, where a huge hole was found in her stomach. Surgery was required to remove her stomach, in its entirety, and to connect her esophagus to her small bowel.

Scanlon, now 20, spent three weeks in the hospital, and her life has "completed changed" following the horrific episode. Scanlon says she has "episodes of agonizing pain" and has to avoid certain foods. Her lawyers say she can no longer enjoy eating.

Oscar's Wine Bar Ltd. pleaded guilty to one count of "failing in the duty of an employer to ensure the safety of persons not in its employment," and admitted that it did not ensure that the cocktail was safe for consumption. Andrew Dunn, who runs the place, pleaded not guilty. The court agreed to drop charges against him so long as he contributes £20,000 to Ms. Scanlon's court costs prior to sentencing.


Judge Pamela Badley said the bar's actions "fell very far short of standards."

The shot was supposed to create a cloud of smoke in the glass. Although such drinks are illegal to serve in England, the bar offered a "range" of such cocktails. Apparently, Mr. Dunn, the proprietor, said he was inspired to do so after seeing similar drinks served in the famous bar of the ritzy Berkeley Hotel in London. Dunn said the drinks were "alluring" and he was "intrigued by the dramatic effects."

Experts say that the liquid nitrogen must completely evaporate before the cocktail is safe to drink.

READ: These Cocktails Taste Like an Opera

Evidently, the bar did not know how to safely serve drinks containing liquid nitrogen, and apparently had admitted to health and safety failings in the past. In fact, senior health and safety officer Peter Lord visited the bar in 2012 and became so concerned about the way the bar was serving these drinks that he sent a letter with guidance on liquid-nitrogen usage. He says his letter was met with no response.

The bar's lawyer said the company and the family who owns it were truly sorry: "The essence of this calamity was the ignorance on the part of the company."

Someone needs to let David Burke know about this shit, ASAP.