Last night (January 29) I had the pleasure of attending the Nitrogen Cocktail Experience at the lounge bar at Mike A @ The Lafayette inside the newly renovated Hotel Lafayette. The event was hosted by Chef James Roberts, Executive Chef at the Park Country Club, as well as Tony Rials, Mike A's master mixologist and Chef Edward Forster of Mike A's.

We started the evening with a Ramos Gin Espuma made with gin, citrus, orange flower water, egg white and cream. Normally a fluffy, fizzy drink, once-super chilled with the liquid nitrogen (-321 degrees), it becomes a hard, brittle substance that I can best relate to crunchy Dip'n Dots. With a spoonful of this on the tongue, we were able to exhale the "dragon's breath" as it returned to its normal liquid form -- a refreshing citrus-filled drink that would be perfect on a cold day.

Next on the menu was a Manhattan on the rocks, made with rye whiskey, house vermouth blend, bitters and brandied cherry with thyme. One of the best parts of this (besides the incredible flavor) is that the "rocks" are actually made of the same thing as the drink, along with a brandied cherry. Because of this, there is no melting ice to water down the drink; it is being chilled by frozen ingredients that allow the drink's flavor and aromas to grow as it warms, taking on a much more complex body.

Our final cocktail of the evening was a Perfect Martini, Extra Dirty, Extra Cold. There is probably no better way to describe this drink. If you like your martinis dirty, this is the one for you. Made with old tom gin, shochu (a Japanese spirit, similar to vodka), cocchi americano, orange bitters, and olive spheres. The glass was first chilled with liquid nitrogen and then spritzed with olive oil, and the remaining ingredients minus the olives were then mixed with liquid nitrogen, turning the drink into a sorbet-like texture, and scooped into the glass and topped with the olive spheres. We were able to enjoy this at first with a spoon and then as it warmed up to about 20 degrees we were able to drink the little bit that remained.

Just when we thought we were done, we were surprised with a fourth drink, this one a sorbet-like concoction with cranberry and orange hints, which was a prefect and refreshing way to end the evening.

Throughout the evening we also enjoyed non-stop hors d'ouvres compliments of Chef Edward Forster of Mike A @ Lafayette. Chef Forster was able to put together a perfect compliment of hors d'ouvres that cleansed the palate but also warmed the mouth between drinks. From the croquets to the bruschetta and radishes in a light creamy sauce, or the toasted bread with pancetta, everything was incredible

It was not just an evening of amazing cocktails reinvented but also an entertaining show and a learning experience proving that science can be delicious!