It's Friday night and you're ready to r-e-l-a-x. You worked your ass off all week, paid your bills, forced yourself to go to the gym, and now it's cocktail time. Some of us might head to the closest happy hour spot with friends for some two-for-one margaritas. But maybe you're a baller and you want something a little more posh, like a $12,000 cognac concoction. Because yes – such a thing exists.
There are plenty of mixologists out there making $14 artisanal cocktails with blackberry shrub and deconstructed cherries. But the true billionaires of the world can throw down some serious cash if they're in the mood for one of the world's most expensive cocktails. So if you were flying around on your Bombardier jet on a Friday night, here's a sampling of the world's priciest cocktails for your (luxury) happy hour pleasure.
Back in 2013, award-winning mixologist Joel Heffernan at Melbourne's Club 23 set a Guinness World Record for the most expensive cocktail with the Winston, which is named after that refined old gent, Winston Churchill. A sampling of the ingredients includes Grand Marnier Quintessence and Chartreuse Vieillissement Exceptionnellement Prolonge, and the 1858 Croizet cognac, which goes for about $6,000 a shot. With names like that, you know the liquor is luxe. They only made a few Winstons, and they sold for over $12,000 each. Let's just hope whoever drank the things was able to enjoy them while they lasted.
Right behind the Winston is the cocktail that legendary London mixologist Salvatore Calabrese has been serving, in the form of vintage pre-phylloxera cognacs. At the bar Salvatore at Playboy, the drink Salvatore's Legacy was the Guinness World Record holder before the Winston came along, and it costs about $8,300 a pop. The drink combines 1778 Clos de Griffier Vieux Cognac, 1770 kümmel liqueur, circa-1860 Dubb Orange Curaçao and two dashes of Angostura Bitters from the early 1900s. So you can drink a piece of history – and spend a pretty penny for the pleasure.
If the Winston and Salvatore's Legacy sound fancy, watch out for the Ruby Rose. When the White Barn Inn in Kennebunk, Maine celebrated its fortieth anniversary in 2013, they created this $40,000 (yes, the zeroes are correct) cocktail, which was a mixture of Hanger One Vodka, St-Germain, fresh grapefruit juice, pomegranate and a spoonful of rosewater. The regular cost for the cocktail about $18, but when they plopped in a four-carat ruby garnish the price, understandably, inched up a bit.
Diamonds are Forever
Head over to the Ritz Carlton in Tokyo, and you might find a cocktail that'll set you back about $18,000. No big deal. Its' named after the James Bond flick Diamonds are Forever, and it has Grey Goose Vodka and lime, plus a giant diamond – hence the price tag. When the drink is served in the hotel's 45th-floor Lobby Lounge & Bar, a live band plays the film's theme song. If you want to orchestrate a surprise marriage proposal in Tokyo, this might be a good plan.
In 2014, another of the world's most expensive cocktails went on sale in London's Mayfair District. Gigi's was created for celeb singer Grace Jones, and it sold for a cool $14,500. It contains some of the most expensive Champagnes and cognacs around: Cristal champagne circa 1990, 1888 Samalens Vieille Relique Vintage Bas Armagnac and a rare Armagnac, plus Angostura Bitters and sugar (which isn't too pricey). There's also a sprinkling of edible gold leaves. It's a drink worthy of a diva like Grace Jones, or someone who thinks nothing of forking over a chunk of their yearly salary for a little tipple.
Kentucky Derby Julep
You'll have to wait until next year to suck this one down, but if you get one of the special edition julep's at the derby, you'll be slapped with a $1,000-$2,000 bar bill – for one cocktail. That seems like small change compared to Gigi's or the Winston, but still. It's $1,000 for a drink. This one is made with the state's finest bourbons and served in a 24-carat gold-plated cup with a silver straw, plus mint from Morocco, ice from the Arctic Circle, and sugar from the South Pacific. Ah, to be a millionaire.
Merchant Hotel Mai Tai
When you think of Ireland, you usually think of Guinness and Whiskey, but not a tropical Mai Tai, right? Well, the Merchant Hotel in Belfast changed all that years ago when they created their posh Mai Tai, which has lime, culacao liqueur, and a special 17-year-old rum (only six bottles were produced). If you're in the mood to brood and stare at the rolling hills of Ireland while sipping a Hawaiian cocktail, it'll cost about $1,500. Maybe you'll stumble upon a pot of gold to help pay for the thing.