Five of the world’s most expensive cocktails
From sumptuous serves made with vintage spirits to diamond-garnished Martinis, these are some of the most expensive cocktails in the world.
They say the best things in life are free, but we reckon quite a few lovers of vintage booze and decadent cocktails would beg to differ.
For people who get their thrills from opulence, there are a variety of swanky bars serving cocktails that radiate luxury – and they come with price tags to match, thanks to decades-old ingredients, valuable glassware and outlandish garnishes.
Here, we take a look at five elite serves, and reveal what makes them so costly.
5. Vintage Negroni – Maybe Sammy, Sydney
Price: AU$150 (US$108)
Acclaimed Sydney drinking den Maybe Sammy offers a selection of classic cocktails made with vintage spirits to appeal to drinkers looking for a sophisticated, nostalgic serve. Martin Hudak, the bar’s co-owner, mixes Gordon’s Dry Gin from the 1970s with 1970s Campari and 1960s Carpano Vermouth to craft a Vintage Negroni that provides a taste of a groovier era.
For those in search of something a little lighter on the wallet, don’t miss Maybe Sammy’s list of coffee cocktails. The bar takes its espresso seriously – Hudak wrote the book on the intersection of coffee and booze, after all – so whether you’re springing for a decades-old drink or a fresh Espresso Martini, you’re in for a sophisticated sip.
4. Vintage Martini – Atlas, Singapore
Price: SG$275 (US$204)
Singapore bar Atlas takes guests to another time through its Art Deco-inspired interior, and it boasts a list of vintage cocktails to help set the scene, as well. For its Vintage Martini, drinkers can choose from a collection of gins that span the decades, from the 1990s all the way back to the early 20th century – recent pours include a bottle of Seager’s Gin from the 1910s. Of course, these serves span a considerable price range too, with the cost of the serve increasing as the spirits get older.
“Guests often ask me: why have a Vintage Martini, what is the allure? To me it’s about drinking a part of history,” said Jesse Vida, head bartender at Atlas.
“Many of our older vintages are very rare, some bottles we will never get again once they’re finished. Connecting the history of 100 years ago to now through the story of distillation, a bottle that’s lived this long and travelled to the other side of the world – I think that’s a pretty cool Martini to enjoy, and where else than the beautiful Atlas bar, where you can feel transported to the 1920s as is.”
3. Woodford Reserve Mint Julep
Each year around the Kentucky Derby, Bourbon brand Woodford Reserve releases a unique cocktail in a limited edition Mint Julep cup, with proceeds benefiting a different non-profit organisation. Last year, just 100 cups were produced: the first 10 were gold-plated, selling for US$2,500 each, and the other 90 were silver-plated, priced at a cool US$1,000. Funds were donated to the Project to Protect African-American Turf History, a Kentucky-based non-profit that celebrates the history of Black jockeys.
And what of the cocktail itself? Pre-pandemic, Derby attendees who pre-ordered the glitzy cups ahead of the event could enjoy unlimited Mint Juleps while they watched the race, but in 2021, the glamorous vessels were shipped directly to the buyers, along with the ingredients to create the drink of the year – a Cherries and Cream version of the classic serve.
2. L’Imperial – Baccarat Hotel, NYC
At its core, Baccarat Hotel’s L’Imperial is a version of the classic Last Word cocktail – but with its US$5,000 price tag, you can be sure the drink has a few luxurious tricks up its sleeve. The liquid centrepiece of the serve is a measure of vintage Green Chartreuse dating back to around 1921-1926, which costs US$1,150 per pour; it’s supported by Nolet Reserve Gin (US$100 per measure), cherrywood-aged maraschino liqueur (US$50 per measure), clarified lime juice and a gold cherry.
However, the most expensive part of the cocktail is the diamond-infused Baccarat crystal Tsar glass that’s yours to take home after you’ve drained your drink, so you can sip in style at your leisure.
1. Diamonds Are Forever Martini – Ritz Carlton, Tokyo
Price: ¥2,600,000 (US$22,579)
Sidle up to the bar at the Ritz Carlton Tokyo to order the world’s most expensive cocktail, a mix of Absolut Elyx Vodka, lime juice and a casual US$16,000 one-carat diamond for garnish. You can opt for the drink shaken or stirred, and it is served tableside with great fanfare, accompanied by a soundtrack of – you guessed it – ‘Diamonds are Forever’.