The World’s Most Expensive Cocktails

A brief history of drinks that cost more than $500. Baaalllliiiinnnnn'!

  • Click through the gallery to see the drinks that have flirted with the $1,000 mark...or blow right past it.
  • Name: The Winston

Cost:  $12,916

What it is:  As of February, The Winston, created by bartender Joel Heffernan for  Melbourne's Club 23, holds the current title for world's most expensive cocktail. It's got a whole slew of expensive ingredients, including chocolate nutmeg dust and Grand Marnier Quintessence, but the cherry on top is two nips of 1858 Croizet cognac, which runs a cool $6,000 per shot. Fortunately for judgement-impaired Club 23 customers, the Winston can't be impulse bought: Heffernan needs 48 hours' notice. (Photo:  Born Rich)
  • Name: Salvatore's Legacy

Cost:  £5,500 (about $8,628)

What it is: Before the Winston took its crown, Salvatore's Legacy, named for legendary booze collector Salvatore Calabrese, made headlines in October for being the world's priciest drink. As our correspondent reported at the time, the cocktail uses a Clos de Griffier cognac dating from 1778, 1860 orange curaçao, and 1900 Angostura bitters. Collectively, the cocktail's been around longer than all your grandparents combined. (Photo: First We Feast)
  • Name: City of Lights/My Cherry Amor

Cost: $1,500-$2,000

What it is: The inspiration behind this post (a dubious distinction, perhaps), these two cocktails were created for Cirque du Soleil's nightclub at the Mandalay Bay in Vegas. The City of Lights gets its price from Hennessy Paradis Imperia, the My Cherry Amor from Dom Perignon Rose, making them gimmicky in different ways, but gimmicky nonetheless. Creator Michael Monrreal claims he made the drinks with big spenders in mind. You think? (Photo: The Light Group)
  • Name: Ritz Paris Sidecar

Cost: $1,670

What it is: Like its younger counterparts, the Ritz Sidecar gets its price bump from the use of 19th-century cognac, an 1830 reserve that predates a plague that took out most of France's finest grapes. Apart from that, it's a straightforward take on the classic drink with Cointreau and lemon juice, served at the historic Paris hotel that's synonymous with >em>pricey. (Photo:  Daily Pour)
  • Name: Kentucky Derby mint julep

Cost: $1,000

What it is: The Derby cheats a bit by charging for the cup as well as the drink. Made by Tiffany & Co., the glass is silver and filled with Alaskan glacier ice, Woodford Reserve bourbon, locally grown mint leaves, and Turbinado sugar. Of course, customers get to keep their glass, so if you think about it, it's kind of a bargain. (Photo:  Markets Media)
  • Name: Mai Tai

Cost: $1,267

What it is: The Mai Tai isn't exactly associated with expense, but the original version of the drink, served at Belfast's Merchant Hotel, still uses J. Wray & Nephews Jamaican rum that Trader Vic used in the original 1940s version. The problem? There's only six bottles left, meaning that once supply and demand work their magic, you're left with one expensive cocktail. (Photo:  Merchant Hotel)
  • Name: B&B King

Cost: £490 (about $768)

What it is: The menu at London's Purple Bar, located in the ultra-cushy Sanderson Hotel, proclaims its take on the 1940s classic drink "the most opulent cocktail" currently available in the city. Created using two ingredients that actually date to the 1940s—a Martell extra cognac and Benedictine liqueur—we don't doubt it. Perfect for washing down one of the bar's burgers, which sets patrons back about thirty U.S. dollars. (Photo:  Sanderson Hotel)
  • Name: Magie Noir

Cost: $630

What it is: Truly a drink for the one percent, the Magie Noir, or Black Magic, was custom-mixed by bartender Giles Andreis of London's Umbaba Nightclub at the behest of two Goldman Sachs bankers out to celebrate their bonuses. The Magie Noir combines Hennessy cognac and Dom Perignon champagne with blackberry liqueur, lychee, lemon grass, and yohimbe bark. American big spenders looking to recreate the drink are in for a disappointment, since while some consider yohimbe an aphrodisiac, the FDA considers it a dangerous substance. (Photo:  Flavors of Thought)

Jaws dropped across the blogosphere this week as Las Vegas’s Light Nightclub announced the addition of two drinks to its menu: the City of Lights and the My Cherry Amour, clocking in at $1,500 and $2,000, respectively. Though it’s obviously a bit of a (successful) publicity stunt—even the highest of high rollers knows two grand for a cocktail that’ll be gone in ten minutes is a terrible investment—the drinks aren’t the first to break into the quadruple digits. In fact, they’re about $10,000 from being the world’s most expensive mixed drink, and they’ve got plenty of company in the $1,000-a-pop range.

Click through for a survey of the world’s priciest cocktails, complete with explanations of what makes them so mind-bogglingly expensive. 


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