How to create a super-expensive cocktail in 7 steps
Words by Theodora Sutcliffe
Does your high-end bar need more PR? Are you too ethical to Photoshop a £20,000 bar tab or £10,000 tip? Follow this handy guide to create a really, really expensive cocktail that's a magnet for lazy journalists around the globe.
1: Start with a stupidly expensive brandy
What do you mean, you won't taste the difference once it's mixed? And they don't age in the bottle? Pre-phylloxera cognacs can sell for over £100,000 at auction - add a bar mark-up for the price of the shot, or a decent-sized slug, plus extra for opening the bottle, and you're away.
2: Or a rare spirit...
Management won't front up for a six-figure brandy? Get creative! When a spirit is really, really rare - a last stray bottle from a long-closed distillery, or a vintage of a rum that Donn Beach might once have allegedly told someone he smuggled - you can pretty much name your price. No matter what you paid.
3: My preciousss, my precioussss
In the words of Beyoncé (well, almost), "Put a ring in it." Chat up a high-end jeweller for a cross-promotion - dropping a £500,000 ring into even a £5 Martini will make it, well, a £500,005 Martini. Easy as!
4: Bling, bling!
During his 70s high days, the Austrian actor Helmut Berger had Bvlgari custom-make a solid gold razor blade and straw for his, err, joy candy. Why not pair your ludicrously expensive crystal glass, antique Murano goblet, or pewter cup allegedly used by Lincoln himself with a bespoke solid gold straw?
5: Mix it up
Secured your wallet-hammering glassware and eye-bleedingly exxy spirits and liqueurs? Champagne - vintage, shipwrecked, anything provided it's still drinkable - is a natural choice, particularly opened by sabrage. But don't stop there! Some green teas sell for thousands of pounds a kilo; rare Japanese grapes can cost over a tenner each; gold and pearls are edible; and, should you get hold of a Heligan pineapple, you could value it at £10,000.
6: Don't forget the garnish
Yes, you're right - caviar, even the Iranian yellow stuff in its gold tins, is frankly grotesque as a cocktail garnish, and wrapping it in gold leaf and studding it with diamonds is not likely to improve it. Why not try something subtler, yet still mindboggling in its extravagance, like a rare Borneo orchid? Perhaps with some tastefully grated truffle? Or a hint of foie? Or possibly not...
7: And if all else fails...
Still can't get your cocktail price high enough? Sell it by the bottle, or in pitchers - cut crystal, naturally - for sharing. And, if you're targeting the Chinese market, make sure the price has lots, and lots, and lots of 8s.