Forbidden Sips: Banned Cocktails Around the World

While most cocktails are utterly irresistible and a treat to enjoy, some are too dangerous for even the most hardened of drinkers. Are you ready to delve deeper into the world of dubious drinks? Here are some banned cocktails around the world and the reasons why they’ve been outlawed.

Read on, if you are brave enough!


A Vaportini is any cocktail that is inhaled, rather than sipped the traditional way. So, in this case, it is the process, rather than the drink, that has been banned in some places. And the reasoning is simple—the alcohol travels to the brain a lot faster, getting the recipients drunk more quickly. It can also exacerbate any issues that person already has with responsible drinking.

The inhaling process requires the use of a contraption that heats up the alcohol and traps the vapours, so you can enjoy them through a straw. You still get a lot of the flavour of the drink, but it’s not quite the same as drinking it normally.

Heating the drink also separates the water from it. So, even if you are enjoying pure rum, you’ll start off with an inhalation of water. This could be why the effects of the drink are so short-lived in comparison to its liquid form.

The Vaportini is not banned everywhere, but you won’t be able to get one in many U.S. states. And even in places where it is not illegal, it is still a difficult cocktail to come by.


Nutcracker to go cocktail

If you’re lucky enough to come across a Nutcracker cocktail in a bar today, it will likely be a delicious, creamy mix of Vodka, Amaretto, Cream Liqueur and nutmeg. 

The original recipe was not so innocent. The main premise of the drink was to use whatever high-proof spirits you could find, like 160-proof Devil’s Springs Vodka and 151-proof Bacardi 151 Rum. You then mix several of them with fruit juices to make them more palatable before putting in the freezer and turning it to slush.

This version of the highly-alcoholic drink is easy to find in New York, where it originated in the early 20th century. You’ll often find vendors in the Big Apple walking up and down the beaches or in the public park with them. 

But it is the unknown nature of these drinks that makes them so controversial. While they can, of course, be made weaker to suit American laws, homemade mixtures tend to be stronger and closer to the original recipe. 


From a convenience point of view, the idea of powdered cocktails makes a lot of sense. The way to use it was relatively simple—just mix your margarita powder with water to create a delicious cocktail on the go. Easy to transport, sneak into festivals and a much quicker way to mix your drink. 

But, of course, with an alcoholic powder comes a health crisis. Apparently, lots of people thought that snorting the Palcahol would be a better way to consume it. After all, if convenience is the aim, there’s no quicker way to get it into your bloodstream.

The Palcahol craze happened about ten years ago, when it was quickly banned in several American states before the trend died out.

Four Loko

Do you remember the crazy days of Four Loko? This college party beverage used to be easy to get hold of—that is until the hospital admissions, deaths and court cases started adding up. People would report drinking only one or two cans and then losing all conscience of the hours that followed.

The drink contained four key ingredients—taurine, guarana, caffeine and alcohol. The first three ingredients are ones you might recongise from energy drinks. They are known stimulants that give you energy and help clear your head. And on their own, in measured quantities, they can be useful. However, this potent combination, combined with alcohol in large measures made for a cocktail that was incredibly dangerous.

In the end, the company changed their recipe, upsetting fans of the sweet concoction. But as the list of places banning the drink around the world started to rise, they had no choice. The Four Loko drink you can buy today is less potent, but as with all alcoholic drinks, you should still enjoy responsibly!

Moby Dick Whale Cocktail

There are different rules in different countries, but when the Moby Dick Whale cocktail went on sale in a bar in the UK, the police got involved.

The offending drink was made of Scotch, Galliano, lemon bitters and ale. The star ingredient was a rare whiskey infused with whale skin. And this was the problem with the recipe. The bar owner had purchased the whiskey on a trip to Japan, unaware of the laws against hunting and trading whales.

So, if do you come across this drink when on your travels, it might be the same recipe, but using whale-free ingredients.

Things are always changing in the spirit world, with ingredients like Absinthe and Raki regularly being banned and reintroduced in different countries. But we don’t think you’ll be seeing any of the above cocktails in their original form any time soon!



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