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The Most Expensive Cocktails in the World (And Where to Find Them)

Would you spend $23,000 on a cocktail?

Over the last two years, we have collectively endured a global pandemic, enforced lockdown, isolation, and social distancing. To cope, many have turned toward the fine art of cocktail mixing. Whether it’s Stanley Tucci giving us a Negroni masterclass or Ina Garten inspiring us with her bathtub-sized Cosmopolitans, splurging on a well-made drink has always been an indulgence. Now that we can return to indoor dining, treating ourselves to a professionally-made cocktail is a treat we all deserve. What better way to kick off the New Year (who needs Dry January, anyway?) than with some of the swankiest and outrageously priced cocktails?

As a self-professed foodie and author of five culinary travel books, I’m always justifying how I spend my money—all in the name of research, of course. I confess to buying a $14 loaf of “ártisan” bread before it was mainstream, and I have fallen victim to spending more than I can afford on a stinky-yet-incredible creamy Swiss alpine cheese.

When it comes to cocktails, I love a good tipple. I always start my weekend clinking glasses with my mates on Friday night. How about a well-balanced martini or a Sidecar with just the right amount of cognac, triple sec, and a squirt of lemon to end a tough work week? If you sometimes scoff at the prices of cocktails in bars ($32 for a pina colada? $24 for a Mint Julep at the races?), you might just lose your mind at some of the world’s most high priced cocktails.

From a $10,000 cocktail in Vegas to a “humble” thousand-dollar drink in one of Paris’ most iconic bars, if you thought these cocktails had more style than substance, think again. Most of these cocktails are expensive because the ingredients used are extremely rare and considered some of the most sought-after spirits, some of which date back to the 19th-century. If you’re looking to splurge on a truly unique drink, look no further than the following places. Cheers!

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Diamonds Are Forever Martini

WHERE: The Ritz-Carlton, Tokyo

The Ritz-Carlton hotel group in Japan prides itself on cocktails. Recently launching their own “cocktail,” a bottled cocktail for pandemic times, the hotel is famously known for being the world’s most expensive cocktail. Priced at a mere $23K, the cocktail is your typical martini made with chilled Gray Goose Vodka, and, oh, did I mention it comes with a one-carat diamond in lieu of the regular ho-hum olive? The original “Diamonds Are Forever” cocktail had the flawless diamond floating in the drink, which now hangs on the glass, probably because there were one too many accidents with guests choking on the jewel, no doubt.

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Salvatore’s Legacy

WHERE: Donovan’s Bar, London

Some may tell you to go to The Playboy Club in London for the city’s most expensive cocktail, but true cocktail-seekers will know that the almost $7,000 ($6,622 to be exact) cocktail named Salvatore’s Legacy is found in none other than Donovan’s Bar in Browns Hotel, London. Scintillating cocktails are on offer for just $30, but Mayfair’s most indulgent sippers will opt for Salvatore’s Legacy, named after the cocktail “maestro” who created it. The cocktail calls for 1778 Clos de Griffier Vieux Cognac, 1770 Kummel Liqueur, Dubb Orange Curacao (circa 1860), and two dashes of Angostura Bitters (circa the 1900s). The vintage spirits cocktail has more than 700 years of history in a glass and is worth appreciating, so sip this cocktail very slowly.  

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The Brandy Crusta

WHERE: Verlinde Bar, Park Hotel Vitznau, Switzerland

Sitting on glistening Lake Lucerne in Central Switzerland is undoubtedly one of the country’s most exclusive hotels. You can easily get lost in one of the highly-awarded restaurants, Prisma or Atelier at PHV, but guests know the Verlinde Bar with its impressive 200-strong vintage Armagnacs and cognacs is where the night begins and ends. Nickolaos Loustas, the Chef de Bar, makes everything to order, and no request is too much here. The Brandy Crusta cocktail is not on the menu but can be requested with the vintage cognac, Frapin 1888 being the star of the show. Otherwise, you could also choose the Prince of Wales cocktail made up of Frapin 1888, 1998 Krug Clos dÁmbonnay, a vintage champagne, and an 1862 vintage Madeira, D’Óliveira. Prices are undisclosed because that would be tasteless but are rumored to be a cool $22,000.

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Kir

WHERE: Le Relais Bernard Loiseau, France

Le Relais Bernard Loiseau, an institution in French gastronomy, has long been regarded as a culinary pitstop for discerning foodies and oenophiles. Travelers start their two-Michelin star experience (created by Chef Patrick Bertron) with Kir—a French cocktail made from the region’s creme de cassis liqueur, which is normally topped with a local white wine. At the Loiseau family-run chateaux, guests are treated like the celebrities who visited in the past, including Edith Piaf and Julia Childs, and are allowed to heighten their Kir with one of the highly-prized vin blancs in the Loiseau wine cave. The Loiseau sommelier and I consider it a sacrilege to do so, but since guests have their culinary wishes granted in the Loiseau house, a specialty Kir with Montrachet Grand Cru 1997 by Domaine de la Romanee-Conti will set you back about $5,100.

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Sazerac

WHERE: The Savoy, London

Even Londoners think this Savoy Sazerac cocktail is a little on the pricey side. The Savoy in London is historically known as the oldest surviving cocktail bar in Britain, having opened in 1892, and so the hotel justifies this almost $7,000 Sazerac with the surrounding that it is served in. Made with Sazerac de Forge from 1857 and further embellished with 1950s Pernod Absinthe from Tarragona and Peychaud’s Bitters from the early 1900s, the cocktail is one of the most expensive cocktails you can get in London. Richer in taste, the bartenders at The Savoy stand by their price tag and claim that the lucky few who drink this are indeed sipping the original Sazerac served in the 19th-century.

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Sidecar

WHERE: The Bar Hemingway, Paris

Bartender and owner Colin Field has been voted the world’s best bartender on numerous occasions, and so what better way to sample his talents than the most expensive cocktail in his bar. The classic Sidecar cocktail comes to life here in The Bar Hemingway, with 1830 Ritz Reserve Cognac being the piece de resistance of the hotel bar. Made from vines harvested prior to an insect plague in the 1860s, the grapes used to make this Cognac no longer exist, making this spirit very valuable and highly sought after. Since its debut, it has increased from 400 Euro to 700 Euro with the price currently standing at $1,670.

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The Ultimate Macallan

WHERE: Skyview Lounge, Dubai

Perched upon the 27th floor and 700-feet above sea level is the Skyview Lounge in Dubai. With a strong list of cocktails, the self-titled “eclectic” range seems quite insignificant next to the most expensive single-malt cocktail served in a Lalique bottle, of course. The drink is made of Macallan 55-year-old single-malt whisky, combined with dried fruit bitters and a homemade passion fruit sugar. But if you thought it was all about the malt, think again. The very same water that runs through the Macallan distillery is frozen into ice cubes and placed in your drink, and mixed with a custom stirrer from a Macallan oak cask. For more bang for your buck, you also keep the 18K gold goblet it is served in.

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Jewel of Pangaea

WHERE: Pangaea Club, Singapore

The cocktail known as The Jewel of Pangaea is touted as the most extravagant cocktail in Asia, coming in at $32,000 a glass. Master mixologist Ethan Leslie Leong says it took more than six months to formulate and perfect the drink with a mix of gold-flecked Hennessy brandy, a hickory smoke-infused sugar cube, and 1985 vintage Krug champagne—all coming together with a 1-carat diamond created by Swiss jeweler, Mouawad. The original cocktail came out with a bodyguard and “Pangaea girls” who served the cocktail in a smoke-filled stainless-steel briefcase for theatrics.

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Genesis Decanter

WHERE: Devil’s Place, Hotel Waldsee am See, Switzerland 

The Devil’s Place in St. Moritz, Switzerland, is where locals hang out for a fun apres-ski session while sipping more than 25,000 different bottles of whisky. Although only true whisky-lovers find themselves in the bar taking single shots of the amber-colored drink, some may go wild and reach out for the priciest $101,100 Macallan “Genesis Decanter” whiskey (which sits behind bullet-proof glass). Served straight up upon request, the whiskey can also be reproduced as their favorite sidecar, Manhattan, whiskey sour, or old fashion cocktail, but that would be a slight waste, no? Perhaps not to the oh-so-glamorous St. Moritz crowd.

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Secret Margarita

WHERE: Yaamava’ Resort & Casino at San Manuel, California

The Pines Southern California Steakhouse at Yaamava’ Resort & Casino in California has always been a place of luxury and, with its recent expansion, is offering a menu with elaborate food and wine pairings. A secret margarita made with a 1985 Salon Cuvee  ‘S’ Le Mesnil Blanc de Blancs Brut is served in a Versace medusa Lumiere Haze Champagne flute and costs a cool $5,000. Gamblers at the formerly named San Manuel Casino will roll the dice and enjoy the most expensive cocktail developed in-house: an A. H. Hirsch 16-Year-Old whiskey, distilled in 1974 with 1996 Château Lafite-Rothschild Bordeaux and splash of ultra-rare Hardy cognac. The cocktail comes served in a Lalique crystal glass along with a cocktail pick made from 14k gold and topped off with a sparkling diamond, which the guest takes home as a keepsake.

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The Golden Globe

WHERE: Widder Hotel Bar, Switzerland

Zurich is where all the cool Swiss kids hang out, and one of the coolest bars is at a 5-star luxury hotel called the Widder. In the center of Zurich’s old town, the Widder Hotel is not only home to a Michelin-star restaurant serving contemporary Swiss cuisine, but is also home to some excellent cocktails. The cocktails are traditional, innovative, and creative, but the most expensive is The Golden Globe, which costs about $1,100. The cocktail uses Glenfiddich aged 40 years, a Krug Rose demi bottle (750ml), milk protein (we are in Switzerland, after all), and olive oil to create this stunning drink.

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Sapphire Martini

WHERE: Foxwood Resort Casino, Connecticut

In 2006, Connecticut’s Foxwoods Resort Casino released the country’s most expensive cocktail: the Sapphire Martini, which contains Bombay Sapphire Gin, dry vermouth, and orange-flavored liquor dyed blue to really pack in the wow factor with sugar around the rim. Foxwood bartenders go the extra mile with a blend of blue sugar and a set of sapphire and diamond-studded earrings to match the color of the ocean-blue drink. The cocktail is still available to date and prices at $3,000, but if it is too high for your taste, go to the Neon Palm Bar in the same hotel for a cheap frozen daiquiri served in a priceless insulated souvenir cup.

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