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The Most Expensive Cocktails in the World

The Most Expensive Cocktails in the World


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If you’re looking to fritter away a small fortune, you may want to peruse the bar menus of some of the more exclusive hot spots around the globe. The thousand-dollar and over cocktail club is an elite group of spirits that will cost you no less than 10 Franklin notes and can be found on five continents.

The Most Expensive Cocktails in the World (Slideshow)

The champion of these is the $12,040 Winston created by Joel Heffernan of Club 23 in Melbourne, Australia and named after Churchill, the man who once said, “My rule of life prescribed as an absolutely sacred rite… the drinking of alcohol before, after and if need be during all meals and in the intervals between them.”

In 2013, The Winston even made its way into the Guinness Book of World Records as the most expensive cocktail in the world, taking the title away from the $9,230 Salvatore’s Legacy, invented by cocktail legend Salvatore Calabrese for the Playboy Club in London.

Though both concoctions have held the official title as the priciest beverage around, unofficially, the most money that’s ever been thrown down for a single drink was a very cool $50,000 on the Siberian ice terrace of Moscow’s Reka restaurant. The concoction included 60ml of Cognac Croizet 1858 Cuvée Leonie, another Guinness Records titleholder as the most expensive cognac, Grand Marnier Quintessence, V.E.P and three diamonds from Italy’s Crivelli jewelers.

Don’t start booking your flights to Russia just yet — the sale was one-time auction at the restaurants opening festivities. But don’t worry, there are plenty of elixirs that come with prized baubles worth boarding your private jet for and others still that use the rarest bottles on the planet.

A couple of years ago, we rounded up the most expensive cocktails in the world at the time, but nothing is forever (not even the diamonds that pop up like daisies in many of these absurdly expensive cocktails), and so our list has changed and expanded. Take a look at these cocktails and pretend that you, too, are capable of such ridiculous conspicuous consumption.

10. Mai Tai — $1,036

The Merchant Hotel, Belfast

For £750 euros (or about $1036), you can enjoy possibly the most expensive drink on all of the Emerald Isle. The Merchant Hotel in Belfast serves up its notorious cocktail, made with the same ingredients as the first-ever Mai Tai, with the original recipe as made by Trader Vic in 1944. The drink is made with two ounces of 17-year-old J. Wray & Nephew Rum — only 24 bottles of the rum exist — shaved ice, juice of a fresh lime, half of an ounce of Holland DeKuyper orange curaçao and French Garnier orgeat syrup, and finished with a quarter-ounce of Trader Vic’s Rock Candy Syrup and a sprig of fresh mint.

9. Bon Fire — $1,037

Skyview Bar, Burj Al Arab Hotel, Dubai, United Arab Emirates

As the name suggests, this drink has some heat, perhaps in a tribute to its desert setting.

Havana Maximo aged Cuban rum is blazed and combined with smoke essence, and bitters. In addition, the drink’s fragrance is enhanced with kaffir lime leaves and orange zest. Dried fruits and brown sugar sweeten the deal. All this and views of the Dubai skyline make the cocktail amost worth it — but at 3,810 AED? Not really.

Read More About the Most Expensive Cocktails in the World

Masha Vapnitchnaia is a lifestyle and travel writer. Read about her adventures on her website, An Unlikely Pilgrim, or follow her on Twitter @UnlikelyPilgrim. Additional reporting by Marcy Franklin.


5 of the Most Expensive Rums in the World

It’s time to play a word association game. We’re going to say a word and you say (to yourself or to whomever you’re around) the first thing that comes to mind. Ready?

Did you think about pirates? The Caribbean? Something you added to Coke while in college?

Or did you think of a refined, complex spirit deserving of slow slips and careful consideration? If the latter, then you, sir or madam, must be a true connoisseur of exquisite rum, the kind of rum for which you would expect to pay, say $50,000 per bottle, no? Too much? How about just $2,600, then?

You can get a fine bottle of rum for about $50 and a truly great bottle for a little under $100. But to dabble in the best rums on the planet — or at least the most expensive — you’re going to need to add a zero or two. Or three. Maybe overly expensive rum was the reason pirates stole things instead of paying for them? Or maybe they were just kind of jerks.


Could ‘vintage cocktails’ be the most expensive drinks ever?

Would you pay extra to drink a cocktail mixed with spirits as old as the recipe?

Words: Jonathan Wells

It was six years ago that Salvatore Calabrese, the master mixologist hailing from Italy’s Amalfi Coast, made history. One October night, Calabrese, who had previously worked at Dukes in St James’s and The Lanesborough in Knightsbridge, created a cocktail in The Playboy Club in Mayfair.

Made of 1788 Clos de Griffier Vieux Cognac, 1770 Kummel Liqueur, 1860 Dubb Orange Curacao and two dashes of Angostura Bitters first bottled in the 1900s, this was not only the world’s oldest cocktail – using spirits from the time of the American Revolution – but also the world’s most expensive. The ‘Salvatore’s Legacy’, it is said, cost £5,500 a glass.

Fast forward to today, and Calabrese seems to have set something of a trend. After pouring his heart and soul – and several hundred pounds worth of spirits – into a cocktail glass, the Italian has inspired many bars around the world to do the same. No longer are these bottles dusty relics to be coddled and locked away in display cabinets. Today, they are viewed to be used, mixed with similarly rare tipples and sipped at leisure – and with great decadence.

"After pouring his heart and soul - and several hundred pounds worth of spirits - into a cocktail glass, the Italian has inspired many bars around the world to do the same. "

The industry itself has also been revived by these age-old bottles. Bartenders and mixologists who were finding themselves increasingly bored by the spirits on offer, and turning to left-field smokes, foams and reductions to create interesting cocktails can now take things back to basics, paring back the number of ingredients but upping the ante of their quality. And this involves some exciting detective work, too – the chance to scour the drinks cabinets of the globe for forgotten and aged treasures untold.

And there is a real thirst for these vintage cocktails from customers. Within the high-earning community, keen and savvy drinkers are more than happy to part with their cash for a splash of these authentic, ancient drinks. After all, who wouldn’t want to enjoy an Old Fashioned mixed using bourbon created before the recipe for the classic drink had even been dreamt up?

Since Calabrese’s bold initial effort, more and more bars and hotels have dipped their toes into the vintage cocktail industry – with many of these establishments based in the exciting gastronomic hub of London. In The Ritz’s Rivoli Bar, there are a grand total of four different vintage cocktails on offer, including a Negroni mixed using 1960s Gordon’s Gin, 1970s Campari and 1980s Vermouth. This best-selling cocktail is priced at a mere £90 – which is considerably more than anything you’d find at All Bar One, but not a patch on the most expensive drink on the menu.

That honour goes to a £500 Sazerac, mixed using a bottle of Lhreaud Cognac from the year The Ritz opened, 1906. There are only six bottles of this brandy left in the world, and three of them sit behind the bar in the iconic hotel. Across London, in the Savoy, The Beaufort Bar offers six vintage cocktails, all with their own unique heritage and history lessons to consider while you sip.

For the £250-a-glass Nacional – named after Churchill and Hemingway’s favourite Havana hotel – head bartender Joe Harper uses Cuban rum from the 1940s and 1960s apricot brandy, an education in the distillation processes of the past. And, if you’ve got really deep pockets, why not chart the life of, and take a sip of The Beaufort Bar’s exclusive stash of Harewood House rum, distilled in Barbados in 1780. The Savoy charge £12,000 per customer for the chance to sip at this ‘true piece of liquid history’ – a high-rolling highball if ever there was one.

But is there actually any benefit to using these older spirits to pep up your drink – aside from the obvious peacocking to fellow drinkers? According to those in the know, yes. Over the decades – and, in some cases, centuries – that companies have created their signature spirits, recipes have changed for reasons from availability of ingredients to customer tastes. And this results in vastly different tasting cocktails.

"Keen and savvy drinkers are more than happy to part with their cash for a splash of these authentic, ancient drinks. "

Types of grain have become extinct, the woods for barrels has changed and the volume at which spirits are produced now differs. Bourbon whisky is sweeter today, and a high-alcohol vintage gin gets smoother and smoother with age. These spirits have lived, and whilst not all may improve the taste of your cocktail, they will give it a whole new and exciting flavour. If you’ve got the money…

Although, before you click away, wishing you had a spare couple of thousand pounds to drop on a rocks glass of liquid history, know this: The Ivy in Covent Garden, for all its glamour and celebrity guests, offers the most affordable vintage cocktail in London. It may not be centuries-old, but the 1917 Champagne Cocktail, mixed using 100-year old ‘R’ de Ruinart Champagne, 1917 Hermitage Cognac and a sugar cube soaked in 1917 Madeira – is just £25. So raise a glass, because old is the new new.

Gentlemen's Journal is happy to partner with The Prince’s Trust RISE campaign, which is working to create a network of young adults aged between 21-45, who are passionate about social mobility. You can become a Prince’s Trust Riser by donating just £20 per month to the scheme.


Try the World's Most Expensive Gin in These Seriously Bold Cocktails

At $45 for a 375ml bottle, Monkey 47 Schwarzwald Dry Gin is the priciest gin on the market right now—and also the most interesting. Take one whiff and you'll see (well, nose) exactly what I'm talking about. Most juniper-forward gins have a strong woodsy aroma, but this one smells like someone bottled an entire forest.

Actually, that's practically what the distillers behind Monkey 47 did, plucking a whopping 47 botanicals from Germany's Black Forest and macerating them in a mixture of molasses alcohol and spring water to create the gin. Wowza.

How a German distiller found himself making a traditionally British spirit is another story: In 1951, a retired British commander named Montgomery Collins moved to Germany's Northern Black Forest region to take up watchmaking, and quickly found himself missing the tipple of his native country. He began experimenting with his own bootleg varieties, using the Black Forest's abundant juniper alongside its more unusual plants and herbs and eventually tucking the final recipe in a wooden box in his country guest home. In 2006, the founder of Germany's Black Forest Distillers found the recipe and decided to revive it, dubbing it Monkey 47 in honor of the commander's monkey, Max. A hit in Europe, it launched in New York last year and is continuing to roll out across the U.S.

Monkey is the boldest, most complicated gin I've ever tasted by a landslide, punching the mouth with juniper, pepper, flowers, citrus and bitter fruit, thanks to a hearty dose of Black Forest lingonberries. Try a few sips neat for the novelty, but considering that it's 94 proof (47% ABV, get it?) on top of delivering such an intense flavor, it's screaming to be balanced in a cocktail. Pro bartenders from around the world share their favorite recipes below:

Monkey Juice

Recipe created by Raveen Misra, executive bar chef of Nektar in Singapore

1 part freshly squeezed grapefruit juice

1 part freshly squeezed lime juice

In a cocktail shaker filled with ice, combine all ingredients and shake vigorously. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass.

Recipe created by Jordi Otero, bar manager at Bocagrande in Barcelona, Spain

2 parts freshly squeezed lemon juice

Infuse gin with jasmine tea for 2 minutes. In a cocktail shaker filled with ice, combine gin, St. Germain, lemon juice, simple syrup and egg white. Shake vigorously. Strain into a chilled tumbler and top with cranberry juice.

Recipe created by Arndt Heißen, bar manager at the Curtain Club at the Ritz Carlton in Berlin, Germany

2 parts freshly squeezed lemon juice

In a cocktail shaker filled with ice, combine all ingredients and shake vigorously. Strain into a chilled tumbler.

For more of what I’m loving right now, check out these Champagne cocktails from Playboy's 1971 bar guide. Follow me on Forbes and Twitter.

As a former features and lifestyle editor for The Chicago Tribune, People magazine and Time Out Chicago, I’ve covered restaurants and bars across the country for more…

As a former features and lifestyle editor for The Chicago Tribune, People magazine and Time Out Chicago, I’ve covered restaurants and bars across the country for more than 10 years. Follow me on Twitter and Instagram: @Marissa_Conrad at both.


Best served frozen, the Daiquiri is up one place and is cited as being the bartender's favorite. Cuban in origin, this fun little number's recipe calls for white rum, lime juice, and sugar syrup — and it's always shaken before being served.

Coming in at second place for the sixth year in a row, this cocktail is one of the easiest to make at home — which is probably why it's so popular. It's also among the top three cocktails served in 42% of polled bars. Simply combine Campari, sweet vermouth, and gin.


America's Most Expensive Margarita Costs $2,500

Happy National Margarita Day! Yes, it&aposs today! And if you&aposre A. wondering how to celebrate, B. located in New York City, and C. have $2,500 to spare, the answer is simple: Enjoy a record-setting cocktail at the Selena Rosa Restaurant on the Upper East Side.

Yes, that&aposs how much the "Silk Stocking Margarita" will cost as it commemorates the 70th anniversary of the margarita&aposs invention. But how else would the restaurant be able to set the record for "America&aposs Most Expensive Margarita"? Besides, when you consider that it&aposs made with the $1,500 per 750ML Clase Azul Ultra A༞jo Tequila, the price makes sense.

Credit for the Silk Stocking Margarita goes to Mexican-American bartender Marco Antonio, who named it after a neighborhood key to the drink&aposs history. It will also, according to a statement, "be rimmed with a blend of exclusive Mexican-salts, and garnished with a fresh-cut lime and spiral-cut jalapeño, skewered by a mini beach umbrella, and complemented by rose petals."

Like many cocktails, the margarita&aposs history is somewhat foggy, but Alfred Cointreau went in-depth with Food & Wine today about how it the salt-rimmed delight is the brainchild of a Dallas socialite named Margaret Sames, who created (or at least codified) it in 1948. Today, it&aposs one of the most popular drinks in America, with 185,000 cocktails made and consumed every hour, according to the NY Daily News.

If the Silk Stocking Margarita is going to be one of them, know that you&aposll also have the opportunity to enjoy it with some suitably extravagant caviar tacos, among other "contemporary Mexican-fusion delicacies." The record-setting margarita is a bit more celebratory than the last time Selena Rosa made the news: In 2016, it had to change its name from Selena Rosa Mexicana after a dispute with the Rosa Mexicano chain, as well as remove the words "Mexico" and "Mexican" from its menu. It&aposs fortunate for everyone, then, that serving America&aposs most expensive margarita remains fair game.


That's the spirit

There were two notable record-breaking attempts this week. The first was Felix Baumgartner's bid to break the world's free-fall record, set in 1960. The second is one that might easily have been attempted in the 1960s: the world's most expensive cocktail, inside the Playboy Club on London's Park Lane, by well-known Italian bartender Salvatore Calabrese. Whereas Baumgartner had to contend with strong winds, an altitude of 120,000ft and possible death, all Calabrese needed was a steady pair of hands, a connoisseur's knowledge of cocktails, and several of the world's most expensive bottles of spirits.

What could go wrong? Well, Salvatore attempted the world record in July, but calamity struck: the bottle of 1778 Clos de Griffier Vieux Cognac, worth around £50,000, was dropped. 'When something gets smashed in a bar it's normally cleaned up straight away,' he says. ɻut in this case everyone just stood looking at the puddle for 10 minutes. Should we try to sponge it up and filter the liquid? We mopped it up in the end funnily enough, the bartender who cleaned it away was stopped by police on his way home and asked if heɽ been drinking.'

The remains of that bottle are now behind glass in the 'museum cabinet' at Salvatore's Bar, containing more than £1 million worth of vintage cognacs. For today's attempt, however, he managed to find a replacement bottle, as well as a 1770 bottle of Kummel liquer, an 1860 Dubb Orange Curacao and a tiny bottle of 19 th -century Angostura bitters.

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For as well as being the most expensive single drink in history, Salvatore's record-breaking cocktail will also be the oldest, with a combined age of 730 years. Two of the bottles here are from the time of the American Revolution, of Captain Cook and Marie Antoinette. William Wordsworth was born in 1770. Today is an event of almost archaeological importance. Indeed, Salvatore tackles the wax seal on the first bottle with all the sensitivity of a Bronze Age tomb excavation. There's several minutes of silence as he struggles, in front of an audience of bar regulars, friends and fellow bartenders, using a heated knife to loose the cork… and it's out. After all four bottles are opened, Salvatore tastes a thimbleful of each, 'to see if the drink is still alive and can be used'. The verdict? 'Mamma Mia!'

For the attempt, during London's Cocktail Week, he uses a 100-year-old bottle opener, the first mixing glass he ever used, given to him 40 years ago, and a rare, 19th-century glass. The ice is not vintage, but 'wonderfully pure'. 'Salvatore's Legacy' is mixed and stirred, sampled by its inventor, then handed to a man in the corner to drink. For the attempt to be verified by the Guinness Book of Records, the cocktail has to be actually bought by someone. The unnamed guest will be given a bill for £5,500. For a single drink.


The 15 Best Cocktail Books to Add to Your Bar Cart

Sometimes you've just had one of those days/weeks/months/years (@ 2020) and all you really want is a damn good cocktail. You might think you can only get those by exiting the comfort of your home and entering a bar, but think again! With the help of cocktail recipe books, you'll be able to make a great cocktail at half the price of the one you would get at your local watering hole.

And I know you're probs thinking about how the only drink you know how to make is a shot of tequila (which is not to be understated), but cocktail books exist to take your abilities from mediocre to master mixologist. And with the help of my trusty friend, The Internet, I've found the best cocktail recipe books for you to learn from.

These books provide intel on everything you'd need to know to make a delicious cocktail. They answer questions like "where does my alcohol come from?" and "what the hell is a jigger?" And once they teach you all about the basics, you can get right to making those fancy cocktails. When you purchase these books, you won't even need to go out for a good cocktail, and that folks, is what we like to call a dream come true.


For third place is the Cuba Libre which simply means Free Cuba. It is a highball consisting of cola, white rum, and lime. In Northern America, it is usually referred to as a Rum and Coke. There is no exact historical account to this third most sold cocktail drink around the world. Since its name is Cuba Libre, it is believed that it originated from Cuba.

The second spot goes to the famous and popular highball drink, Screwdriver. It is basically made up of two ingredients: orange juice and vodka. But this drink has different variations in different places and countries. This drink is also called “vodka and orange”. It was popularly known that this concoction was invented by American engineers who discreetly added vodka into cans of orange juice and stirred the drinks with their screwdrivers, thus the name Screwdriver.


The Most Popular Cocktail In Every State During The Pandemic

It’s no surprise that people have been making more cocktails at home since the COVID-19 pandemic shut down bars last year. But the types of cocktails we choose to mix up seem to vary by geography.

The folks at the travel rewards company Upgraded Points put together a map highlighting the most popular cocktail in every state (and Washington, D.C.). Apparently, people in California are partial to the paloma, while West Virginians are all about White Russians.

The map draws on Google Trends search data from March 2020 to March 2021. In addition to the top cocktails over the pandemic year, Upgraded Points also looked at the popularity of different beverages in the spring and summer versus fall and winter seasons.

Upgraded Points’ analysis found that the mimosa was the most popular cocktail in the highest number of states ― Colorado, Georgia, Illinois, Maryland, North Carolina and Tennessee. Another champagne-based cocktail ― the bellini ― dominated in Alabama and Oklahoma.

Five cocktails were the top pick in three states each: piña colada, wine cooler, White Russian, margarita and mojito. The margarita was also the second most popular cocktail overall in both the warm seasons and the cold ones.

Naturally, there were some clear local favorites, like the daiquiri in Louisiana and the mai tai in Hawaii. In other unsurprising revelations, Upgraded Points also found that search interest for “cocktail recipes” almost doubled in March 2020 compared to March 2019.

Visit the Upgraded Points website for more information about the most popular cocktails in each state in different seasons during the pandemic.


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