^
Keep New Times Free
4

Alejandro Gonzalez's Liquid Nitrogen Brings Down the House

The business card lists his job title as "atmospheric manipulator." That's how Alejandro Gonzalez describes what he does as the owner and founder of Kryogenifex, which creates special effects using liquid nitrogen.

Unless you've been to one of the many Miami-area clubs that cools partiers using puffy white clouds of this stuff, you might have the same reaction as many others who meet Gonzalez: Huh?

"Most people don't know what the hell I'm talking about," he admits. "The question is usually 'You can make a living doing that?'"

The answer is yes, at least when you pioneered the idea and then patented your own system. That's what Gonzalez did. The Kendall native graduated from the University of Florida with a degree in economics and then spent several years in Colorado and San Francisco. He apprenticed as a glassblower and sculptor before returning home to Miami to work in the family business: distributing and delivering industrial gases.

In his spare time, he began messing around with liquid nitrogen and quickly realized it could be used for special effects. He asked some club owners to try it. His big break came when Twilo, the now-defunct New York City nightclub, got onboard.

I Support
  • Local
  • Community
  • Journalism
  • logo

Support the independent voice of Miami and help keep the future of New Times free.

In 2000, Kryogenifex was officially born. Since then, Gonzalez has worked with just about every major Miami club — including LIV, Space, Amnesia, Marquee, and Story — as well as musical artists such as Swedish House Mafia and Skrillex. His client list also includes bar and restaurant owners, who use liquid nitrogen to make frosty cocktails and shots that give off chilled white smoke — thanks to the carbon dioxide being released into the atmosphere — when they're placed on the bar.

Gonzalez's Wynwood warehouse resembles a mad scientist's garage: glass-fronted display cabinets full of beakers, bookshelves stacked with manuals, industrial-size blenders, and giant tanks labeled "nitrogen" scattered around the room. "I'm kind of always tinkering about," he says.

One of his latest innovations? Alcoholic popsicles, flash-frozen with liquid nitrogen. Going forward, he wants to work with more artists to do custom installations, and see if liquid nitrogen has applications as an eco-friendly, renewable resource.

Meanwhile, in the ever-evolving world of nightlife, cryogenic special effects seem to be one trend that's sticking around. Sixteen years after Gonzalez started his company, liquid nitrogen is hotter — if not in a literal sense — than ever.

Keep Miami New Times Free... Since we started Miami New Times, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Miami, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Miami with no paywalls.

We use cookies to collect and analyze information on site performance and usage, and to enhance and customize content and advertisements. By clicking 'X' or continuing to use the site, you agree to allow cookies to be placed. To find out more, visit our cookies policy and our privacy policy.

 

Join the New Times community and help support independent local journalism in Miami.

 

Join the New Times community and help support independent local journalism in Miami.