‘A $250k tab.’ This is what it’s like to drink in luxury


As far as signifiers of status go, drinks are pretty lasting. Authors down the years have used them to illustrate what their characters are all about. For instance, Jon Self, a character in the book Money by Martin Amis’ (he, the son of renowned drinker and writer Kingsley Amis), is a raging alcoholic — a fact illustrated by the way he is described as drinking a litre of fizzy red wine at lunch, telling you all you need to know about the bloke.

But some people do the drink on another, more expensive level. We thought we’d compile a few examples of real world bling to see what that tells us about the world of luxury drinking, and a couple luxury ingredient delivery systems (that is to say, cocktails).

Great moments in crazily expensive drinking

Jay Z would need to feature in this story. 



And of course he does, reportedly spending some $250,000 on a bar tab one night. What was on the bill? Well, a private lounge and a wall of Armand de Brignac Gold, and a 30 litre bottle of said champagne. It’s a hard knock life, indeed.

But the largest tab reported goes to a douche.

When he was 23, financier Alex Hope spent up big: over $300,000 at a Manchester club. Again, Armand de Brignac was a feature on the tab. But the douchiest item on the tab was the 40 bottles of champagne he handed out to single women at the club.

The Universe got one back via some cosmic karma when Hope was busted by the cops the next year for an unauthorised investment scheme which allegedly netted him five million quid.

The world’s most expensive cocktail comes courtesy of an Australian. Joel Heffernan put Crown Casino’s Club 23 in the record books when he put together a cocktail — featuring a cognac from 1858 that costs $6000 a nip — for $12,500.


He broke Salvatore Calabrese’s previous record, which consisted of a 1788 bottling of Clos de Griffier Vieux Cognac, a 1770 bottling of kummel, an 1860 bottling of orange curacao and some Angostura Bitters from the early 1900s sold for £5,500.

LeBron_James_at_GSW“I wish I was a baller.” LeBron James gives new meaning to the definition of a baller — despite being one of basketball’s greats, he’s also one of the great exponents of the ridiculously expensive bar tab. He worked up a $170,000 tab thanks to 33 bottles of Cristal, six bottles of Patron among other things — including two six packs of Bud Light. Really? Cristal and Bud Light?

Thomas Jefferson, the third president of the US, liked a drink. And he had good taste, too. A bottle of 1787 Chateau Margaux belonging to him was put up for auction for $500,000 in 1989. It didn’t sell, and the bloke who owned it never even got to drink it. A clumsy waiter smashed it at a dinner.



Perfect luxury ingredient delivery systems

Champagne Cocktail

Armand de Brignac Gold champagne
1 sugar cube
2 dashes of Angostura Bitters
15ml Cognac

Soak a sugar cube in a few dashes of bitters, place in a flute glass. Add cognac, then fill with champagne.

Brandy Crusta

45ml Hine Antique XO Premier Cru
15ml curacao
5ml Luxardo maraschino
1 dash of Boker’s Bitters
30ml lemon juice

Rub a sliced lemon around the rim of the glass and rim with sugar. Pare half a lemon for the wine glass. Put the ingredients into a shaker filled with one third crushed ice, shake well and strain into the glass.

Adapted from Jerry Thomas’ Bartenders Guide 1887



Gran Patrón Piedra. An extra anejo tequila, having been distilled three times before being aged for more than three years in both new American and French oak barrels. “We created Gran Patrón Piedra to offer tequila aficionados a tasting experience unlike any other,” said Francisco Alcaraz, Patrón’s master distiller. “Its complex flavour profile and remarkably smooth finish sets Gran Patrón Piedra apart in the ultra-aged tequila category.” South Trade

Hine Antique XO Premier Cru. Made from a blend of over 40 cognacs from grapes exclusively grown in Grande Champagne, the finest cru of the Cognac region. Delicate aromas of spices, vanilla and liquorice blend together with hints of chocolate and baked apple in this delightful invitation to entice the senses. island2island

Louis XIII de Remy Martin. It is synonymous with high-flying connoisseurs. With over 1200 different eau de vie in the blend aged between 40 to 100 years old, it has an average age of 70 years and is bottled in a Baccharat crystal decanter. Not being crystal-ware aficionados ourselves, we’re told this is very fancy. Suntory

elit by Stoli. Made from grain grown in the Central Black Earth Region, known for the high number of nutrients in the soil, in Russia and using a blend of winter wheat, spring wheat and rye. It’s filtered through quartz sand and Russian birchwood charcoal. island2island

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