Vaportini – Yeah I just smoked vodka.

Calorie-Free Drinking with the Vaportini


Ever think to yourself, “Sure, I love drinking a fifth of vodka, painting the kids blue and selling them to foreigners as rare American Smurfs, but I hate the calories?”

Or maybe you’ve always wanted to smoke crack, but are terrified of abandoned row homes?

Well, do I have the gift for you.

I just smoked vodka using a Vaportini.  No calories, all buzz. (As you can tell by that odd Smurf reference.)

You may have seen the Vaportini before on Parks and Recreation, but thought it was a joke when they brought out a smoking globe of alcohol vapor. Nope! Julie Palmer of Chicago’s Red Kiva lounge invented the Vaportini alcohol inhaler after going to an outdoor sauna in Helsinki.  Those wacky Swedes were throwing vodka on the coals, inhaling the evaporating alcohol, getting their buzz on, and then going out and rolling in the snow to shake it off and start all over.

VaportiniSo now you know how they come up with those product names at IKEA.

Inspired by her Helsinki experience, Ms. Palmer invented a sort of travel-sized version of the sauna spirits, though I wouldn’t really travel with it because it looks like a Fisher-Price Baby’s First Crack Kit.

But for people who love to drink but hate the weight gain, the Vaportini allows you to enjoy alcohol with no calories. From the Vaportini site:

 It is absorbed directly into the bloodstream and does not go through the digestive tract. This has the advantage of no calories; no carbs, no impurities and the effects of consuming alcohol are immediately felt, making it easier to responsibly imbibe. Unlike traditional consumption of spirits, Vaportinis give more control, shortly after exhaling all of the effects of the alcohol consumed are felt.  In contrast, it takes 20 to 30 minutes to feel the full effects of spirits that are swallowed.

How to do the Vaportini

The basic Vaportini kit includes a glass globe, a metal ring, a tea light candle, an adorable little plastic funnel and a glass straw.

Light the tea light and drop it into a pint glass, which you should have laying around your house somewhere because if you’ve gotten this far we’ve already established you’re a shameless boozehound.

Next, set the metal ring on the glass and set the globe (which makes you giggle just looking at it because it all feels so naughty) on the ring, so it’s basically sitting on the mouth of the pint glass. Use the adorable funnel to put about a shot and a half of your favorite booze in the globe.

This has got to be illegal or something, right?

Giggle again. Sit back and wonder if you’re really immature for your age, or just an alcoholic, for about five minutes.

After a bit you’ll see the condensation of the evaporating alcohol at the top of the globe, and that’s when you can put the glass straw through the little hole at the top of the globe and inhale the vapors. No seriously. Go ahead. The cops didn’t kick in my door the second I did it or anything. You can feel the heat of the vapor in your lungs and taste the flavor of your chosen alcohol without the bite you might experience downing a shot. All the calories and carbs will remain in the liquid at the bottom of the globe, while you suck up all the booze vapors.

Vaportini Pros and Cons


  • No calories.
  • You can definitely feel the effects right away.
  • You might feel a bit dizzy at first, but as long as you’re not Hoovering it for 15 minutes straight, the buzz will slide into that familiar state of relaxation. I suppose you could just keep sucking away until you’re totally blitzed, but I’m not teen who just broke into her parents’ liquor cabinet. I’m a professional.
  • No calories.
  • It feels naughty.
  • You can really taste whatever flavor you’ve chosen, whether gin, bourbon or even flavored vodkas.
  • Great party trick if no one has lip herpes.


  • Not quite as natural as just drinking booze. Bending toward a table to take a drag from a globe is a bit Less than Zero/Scarface-ish. I think if the Vaportini could eventually evolve into a pipe you hold it would be a little more casual.
  • I got a bit of a headache the first two times, which lasted maybe 5-10 minutes. But, I’d been dieting and hardly eating anything. I tried it again after eating and had no headache, so the pain could have been my fault; I know better than to drink on an empty stomach.
  • The Vaportini is not quite as easy as pouring yourself a drink. You just have to go into Bill Nye the Science Guy mode there for a couple of minutes while you setup.
  • I’m petrified I’m going to drop the globe.
  • My husband, Mike,  is terrified of the Vaportini. He thinks he’ll inhale the alcohol and it will turn back into liquid in his lungs and drown him. He also thinks it will explode and pepper his face with glass. He also thinks he has everything from polio to leprosy so… take all of that for what it is worth.

Is the Vaportini Safe?

I don’t know. Every week something else is bad for you, and then the next week it is fine. I’m not a scientist. I can tell you that because the alcohol goes directly to your brain, abusing the Vaportini could be even more dangerous than abusing regular old drinkin’ alcohol. If you drink too much, your body can try and vomit. Since the Vaportini bypasses the stomach, once inhaled, there is no way to rid yourself of excess alcohol. You could feasibly damage brain or lung tissue.

I think, like anything else, moderation is the key. (Thanks paraphrased Benjamin Franklin!)

I don’t think I’m going to be doing it a ton, thanks largely to having to peel Mike off the walls when I’m finished, but if you really like that glass or two of relaxation/self-medication at the end of the day but lament your shrinking shorts, the Vaportini make an a fun and useful alternative.

Amy Vansant
Latest posts by Amy Vansant (see all)

20 Responses

  1. Abby

    Nothing good can come from this. Nothing good at all. However, I would be more than willing to read about the results.


  2. slapshot

    What a great gift idea!… I mean, for me to get for myself, of course. I even have a birthday coming up in a couple of months.

    As far as the safety aspect goes, if you’ve ever driven with me, you’d know that it’s not really an issue.


  3. cj

    If they do manage a pipe, I can then use my smoking jacket once again. The most incredible thing I’ve read on the internet, “I got a bit of a headache the FIRST TWO TIMES”

    Thanks for taking one for the team and for giving a balanced review of the product, Amy.


    • Amy Vansant

      Yeah I pretty much need to get punched in the head at LEAST twice before things start to register. You never know when the first punch was just a fluke. And the second, well that just makes you consider the variables. In this case, the third (new variable – food in belly) probably explained it… but I’ll try a few more times to be sure.


  4. Deb

    I saw on the news that when you drink too much, your liver and ‘overflow’ of the alcohol consumption will usually let you know that the toxicity levels are too high, therefore making you vomit. But with inhaling this, the toxicity levels that go into your brain are very very dangerous. Please use with caution!!!


  5. Jen Anderson

    I imagine that no impurities = no hangover, but can you *look* cool while inhaling alcohol? Sipping cocktails is such a swanky, Gatsby, Mad Men activity. Until my face gets numb and I start looking for someone to kiss, I mean.


  6. Christian at Point Counter-Point Point Point

    They were just talking about this on the news on my way home from work last night. They were talking about how the latest thing that teens are doing is inhaling alcohol. And apparently a lot of them are over doing it and dying or doing serious damage to themselves. Either way if teens are doing it must be cool.


  7. Lance

    this seems like a lot of work to get your load on. although i’m willing to try it with you, you know, for blog research.


  8. Aileen

    Important question: Does this come with some sort of label explaining that I’m not into crack? My townhouse neighbors are military police, but I think a label would make them less suspicious if I accidentally leave my crack kit–oh, I mean Vaportini–out on the deck.


  9. Lisa Newlin

    I love vodka more than most things in this world, and this sounds amazing! I didn’t even know it existed. When can we get together and do vaportinis? When we do, can I be Ron Swanson? You can be Leslie Knope or Jerry.

    Let’s do this!


  10. Amy Bielawski

    Well of course you are an Amy…

    I have wanted to try that too, just no funds to do it, and well Alzheimer’s runs in my family, so not sure I need to sprint my brain toward that. But I’d try it … once, I think.

    You’re a funny girl Amy…. I would love to hang out with you.



  11. Samuel

    Hey, Was doing a ton of research on the inhalation of Ethanol, There have been no studies… still is a bit scary.
    I am in fact using a vaportini right now, But what worries me is whether or not I am inhaling too much, There is no medium for the proof of an alcohol, It would appear that the only way to find out is terrifying trial and error.

    What your thoughts?



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