A plaque remaining from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem.

Above, a 1934 plaque from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem. Discarded as trash in 2006. Now a Popeyes fast food restaurant on Google Maps.

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Entry from February 10, 2013
Nicotini (nicotine + martini)

Many restaurants and bars throughout the world have banned smoking to eliminate second-hand smoke. Some enterprising individuals decided to try to put nicotine directly into the food and drinks. “Apple Nicotini” (nicotine + martini) was suggested in a satirical Salon article in June 2002. Jimmy’s Downtown, a supper club on the east side of Manhattan, served a “No No Nicotini” in October 2002. Larry Wald, owner of the Cathode Ray Club in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, served a “Nicotini” in May 2003—vanilla-flavored vodka, the coffee liqueur Kahlua and a splash of tobacco juice.

“Nicotini” was the Urban Dictionary‘s “Urban Word of the Day” on November 9, 2006. While a “nicotini” contains nicotine, it needn’t have the same ingredients as a classic martini (gin and vermouth). Nicotini recipes vary widely.

FRIDAY, JUN 7, 2002 02:30 PM CDT
Who needs cigarettes? Let’s put nicotine where the sun don’t shine!

We’re going to need Nico-drenched indulgences for the high-spending self-destructive crowd. The prize? A Starbucks tie-in. Nicoccino, Nicspresso, Nicofrappe, Nicosoylatte. There isn’t a smoker alive who can drink coffee without a cancer stick. Same goes for the hard stuff. We can inject everything from vodka to single-malt scotches with a Nico chaser. Or how about a Nico mixer (for the Nicopolitan, the apple Nicotini).

10 October 2002, National Public Radio:
On the East Side, at a supper club called Jimmy’s Downtown, supporters of the ban hosted a smoke-free party, complete with a new drink, the No No Nicotini, to prove the folks at Gallagher’s wrong.

Gersh Kuntzman
May 19, 2003
Tobacco in Your Tiramisu?
Faced with the smoking ban, several New York restaurants are putting tobacco in their food and drinks. Our non-smoking scribe samples a few offerings

As I write this, I am guzzling something called a Nicotini, which, as the name suggests, is a cocktail with a smoker’s cough—an ethereal blend of vanilla-flavored vodka, the coffee liqueur Kahlua and a splash of tobacco juice.

And later, when I looked back on my increasingly seismic handwriting, it appeared I enjoyed it. According to my notes, the Nicotini had a pleasing taste, which I described as either like a Maryland crabcake or a vanilla cupcake that had been sitting near an ashtray for an hour or so. (I later checked with a handwriting analyst and she determined that the notes said “cupcake.”)

Word Spy
Posted on October 30, 2003
(nik.oh.TEE.nee) n. A nicotine-laced martini.

New York (NY) Times
Nicotini, The
Published: December 14, 2003
There is nothing as alluring as vice, except possibly the combination of two vices. A Florida club owner may have come up with a cure for smokers’ rage over their recent exile from bars: a martini infused with nicotine-rich tobacco. (Sound delicious? How can it not be?) The Nicotini, as it is known, comes in various forms—among them a Quick Puff (a single shot) and, more enticingly, a Black Lung (mixed with Kahlua). Result: The stimulant and the depressant enter the boxing ring that is your body and battle for dominion—but then, that’s hardly a new sensation for anyone who has ever smoked in a bar.

Larry Wald, who once worked (with top-secret clearance) retouching official photos for the Carter administration, owns a Fort Lauderdale bar called the Cathode Ray Club. Faced with a Bloombergian ban on smoking in taverns, the 45-year-old Wald spent months devising an alternative to banishing smokers to the streets.

Urban Dictionary
November 9, 2006 Urban Word of the Day
An alcoholic drink that includes nicotine as an ingredient. Usually made with vodka in which tobacco has been soaked. Generally billed as an alternative for smokers in smoke-free establishments.
After the citywide smoking ban came into effect, my only option was to drink an occassional nicotini while barhopping.
by JiggaWhat? Sep 2, 2006

Art of Drink
Nicotini - Tobacco Infusions
by Darcy O’Neil on March 24, 2011
Update: After posting this article, the “user experiences” have been rolling in and it seems that a number of people have learned the hard way. If you operate a bar, or work in at one, you definitely need to consider liability issues if you are serving tobacco infused cocktails.
Update #2: There have been a number of questions about making a distilate with tobacco and whether the nicotine would distill over. As far as I can tell if you made an infusion of tobacco and distilled it, the nictine would not be in the final product. The boiling point of nicotine is 247°C so it’s unlikely to pass over during distillation. 

Posted by Barry Popik
New York CityFood/Drink • Sunday, February 10, 2013 • Permalink