Cocktails are an experience in themselves. They define the height of creativity with the use of ingredients that are rich in texture, aroma and flavour. The most expensive cocktails are, therefore, seen by connoisseurs as nothing less than artistic masterpieces that enliven the senses with each sip.
It is worth noting that the costliest of these alcoholic drinks owe their price tags to components that are extremely expensive and possibly rare. However, the ingredients are not the only elements that contribute to the price tag. In some cases, a major factor that makes a cocktail more appealing to patrons is how they are presented. For instance, some highly-priced cocktails are served with diamonds — gemstones that almost everyone in the world desires.
In the end, the expensive cocktails not only promise to leave an unforgettable taste on the palette, but customers may also get to take home unique items, such as diamonds and exquisite glassware, as a souvenir.
Here are some of the world’s most expensive cocktails
Diamonds Are Forever
Price: USD 22,600
This is one martini that would perhaps please the fans of James Bond. After all, it is inspired by the movie of the same name, featuring the ace fictional spy, and it is served along with a live band playing the “Diamond Are Forever” theme song by Shirley Bassey.
The most expensive cocktail is served only at The Bar located in Tokyo’s The Ritz-Carlton. Having this elegant drink is indeed a lavish experience as the establishment, featuring floor-to-ceiling windows and marble work, spells luxury in every corner.
The drink is made of chilled Absolut Elyx vodka and a hint of fresh lime juice at the table. But why is the price so high? The answer lies in the flawless, one-carat diamond that is found at the bottom of the glass in which the drink is served.
Price: USD 12,970
The Guinness World Records lists The Winston as the current holder of the most expensive cocktail in the world. The record was set on February 7, 2013, at Melbourne Crown Casino’s Club 23. The drink was made by Joel Heffernan with 60ml of Croizet’s 1858 Cuvee Leonie cognac. The other ingredients in the drink are the liqueurs Grand Marnier Quintessence and the extremely rare Chartreuse V.E.P.
The cognac is famous for being the one that the then UK Prime Minister Winston Churchill and General Dwight D. Eisenhower of the US Armed Forces sipped when planning the D-Day landings during World War II. As per Guinness World Records, Croizet’s 1858 Cuvee Leonie is also a title holder for being the most expensive cognac sold at auction.
In 2015, Guinness World Records placed the cocktail’s status as the world’s most expensive under review following a report by The Sunday Age, which alleged that the event in which the record was set was a fix. Yet, as on June 21, 2023, the record is still listed on the official Guinness website.
Though the drink’s official status remains unchanged on the Guinness website, the bar, which was opened by legendary Australian cricketer Shane Warne with professional poker player Joe Hachem and billionaire businessman James Packer, shut down in 2019.
Ono Champagne Cocktail
Price: USD 10,000
Served at the XS nightclub of Encore at Wynn Las Vegas in Las Vegas, US, the cocktail has a rare cognac as its main ingredient — the Rémy Martin Louis XVIII Black Pearl, which retails somewhere between USD 60,000 to USD 100,000 per bottle.
Among the other ingredients are Charles Heidsieck 1981 Champagne Charlie, rose nectar made from Bulgarian Kazanlak roses, fresh-squeezed orange juice, and a dash of apricot puree.
It is served in an elaborate ceremony, complete with gold-rimmed glasses and gifts for the patrons. This includes an 18-carat gold necklace with a black pearl and a diamond.
Martini on the Rock
Price: USD 10,000
A wait of at least three days and an appointment with a jewellery designer are required before one can sip this cocktail at The Algonquin Hotel in New York City (NYC) in the US.
Known as a literary and NYC landmark, the hotel counted icons, such as Dorothy Parker, Maya Angelou, Sinclair Lewis and John Barrymore, as its regulars. Author William Faulkner wrote his Nobel Prize acceptance speech in 1950 at the hotel. No wonder, enjoying a drink (or dining) at The Algonquin Hotel is in itself an experience.
But the hotel’s management perhaps wanted it to be an unforgettable one. So, in 2005, they introduced Martini on the Rock with the idea of making a marriage proposal or a similar special occasion more intimate and lavish.
After reserving the order for Martini on the Rock at least 72 hours prior to dining, patrons visit an in-house jeweller at the hotel to pick a diamond of their choice. The diamond is the one that is placed at the bottom of the glass containing the drink. This is what gives the drink its ‘Rock’ label. The price can be higher than USD 10,000, depending on the diamond’s type.
Diamond Is Forever
Price: USD 10,000
Sometime in 2016, the Uncorked bar, which is no longer in business, started serving the Diamond Is Forever vodka martini at its establishment in the Upper East Side of NYC. Of course, the drink followed the diamond-in-the-glass concept of other expensive cocktails.
Reports suggest that it required a three-day advance booking and an appointment with a diamond maker, too. Similar to the cocktail served in The Algonquin Hotel, the cost of the Diamond Is Forever martini hinged on the value of the glittering gem itself.
And Uncorked actually made sure to list the cocktail in its menu, unlike most major establishments that do not do so, probably because of the exclusivity of such drinks.
Price: USD 7,000
In October 2012, renowned Italian bartender Salvatore Calabrese set the record for the most expensive cocktail when he created Salvatore’s Legacy at Playboy Club in Park Lane of London.
The drink is made using a 1778 Clos de Griffier Vieux cognac, a 1770 bottle of Kummel liqueur, an 1860 Dubb Orange Curacao and hints of 1900s Angostura Bitter. The combined age of the cocktail is itself a record-setter at 730 years.
Calabrese would have set the record in July 2012, but the bottle of the 1778 Clos de Griffier Vieux cognac was accidentally dropped.
Price: USD 5,000
The L’Imperial at the Baccarat Hotel in NYC is a cocktail that its patrons will remember every time they see the diamond and palm leaf decorations on the Baccarat Tsar glass in which they sipped the drink. This is because they get to keep it.
L’Imperial is a new version of the Last Word cocktail, which was created in the 1920s at Detroit’s Athletic Club Bar and was the most expensive drink of its time at USD 0.35.
The main ingredient of L’Imperial is a 1920s rare green chartreuse. Added to it are cherry oak-aged maraschino liqueur and Nolet’s Reserve gin. The drink is served with a gold leaf-enveloped Amarena cherry on the top, Beluga vodka caviar pearls and saffron — the world’s most expensive spice.
(Feature image credits: M.S. Meeuwesen/@meeuwesen/Unsplash; Hero image credits: Bjarne Vijfvinkel/@capturesbybjarne/Unsplash)
This article first appeared here.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Answer: The USD-5,000 cocktail in Dubai, served at the Skyview Bar on the 27th floor of the Burj Al Arab, was the holder of the Guinness World Record for the most expensive cocktail till Salvatore’s Legacy came along.
Answer: The Diamonds Are Forever cocktail is served at The Bar located in Tokyo’s The Ritz-Carlton. It is called so because it comes with a real diamond, placed at the bottom of the glass.
Answer: Several alcoholic drinks are among the most expensive in the world. Among them are Chateau D’Yquem cognac, Armand de Brignac Midas champagne, 1945 Romanee-Conti wine, and Henri IV Dudognon Heritage Cognac Grande Champagne.