Haven GM Responds to Reports that Liquid Nitrogen Cocktail Made Woman Ill

A woman was rushed to the ER after drinking what was labeled a "toxic cocktail." The incident happened at the Taste of the Garden event, held at the Miami Beach Botanical Garden back in January.

Local 10 reports that Barbara Kaufman was at a fundraiser when she was handed a liquid nitrogen cocktail. After taking a sip, Kaufman felt ill. "My head felt like it was exploding." She tells Local 10 that "smoke was coming out of my nose and my mouth."

Kaufman claims a bartender from Haven handed her the drink without any instructions or warnings. Haven is known for its nitro cocktails and ice cream, which feature dramatic smoke effects and The Bazaar by Jose Andres is famous for its Liquid Nitrogen Caipirinha, prepared tableside.

Once at the hospital, two teams of surgeons were assembled after Kaufman told them she was "gravely ill."

Doctors found tears or holes in the woman's esophagus, stomach, and lower bowels, as her lungs filled with fluid and the liquid nitrogen turned from a liquid to gas in her body. Doctors had to relieve the gas pressure inside her body. Kaufman spent five days in the intensive care unit and is currently under a doctor's care.

According to Local 10, Haven confirms two employees were at the event, but the owners refused to say anything else.

Ben Arndt, general manager of Haven, told Short Order that the bartenders working at the event were Haven employees that were off the clock and volunteering at the Miami Beach Botanical Garden's "Taste of the Garden" event on January 30, 2014. "This was a charity event that Haven was not directly involved in. We were asked if any bartenders were free and wanted to volunteer. Two of our bartenders volunteered, but Haven was not officially a part of the event. There was no Haven signage at the event and we did not supply the liquor or the liquid nitrogen."

Arndt also added that Haven instructs employees on the proper use of liquid nitrogen. "Since the opening of our restaurant, we have had a lengthy protocol in place that employees must learn and sign off on." For now, Arndt adds, Haven has stopped serving the dramatic food and beverages. "We have not served liquid nitrogen since this event."

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