Five-figure cocktails: The Algonquin’s $10,000 “proposal martini” isn’t the only one

See recent posts by Michael Wolman

The Oak Bar at the Fairmont Copley Plaza in Boston, which serves a $12,750 martini (not pictured, because, well, Oyster reporters' per diem is only $12,500 per day).
The Oak Bar at the Fairmont Copley Plaza in Boston, which serves a $12,750 martini (not pictured, because, well, Oyster reporters' per diem is only $12,500 per day).

We were amused and intrigued last week when we saw this story about a $10,000 “proposal martini” available at the Algonquin Hotel’s Blue Bar, especially in light of the Great Recession. A little digging of our own — investigative, not gold — turned up a couple of interesting footnotes. First, that the Algonquin’s is not the only absurdly extravagant cocktail out there. (Not even close: We found at least two more drinks that cost as much as a Nissan.) And second, that people have actually purchased these drinks. In fact, according to Alex Aubry, Food and Beverage Director at the Algonquin, six men used the bar’s “Martini on the Rock” to pop the question in 2005, the year the hotel debuted the cocktail. Since then, that figure has fallen to two or three per year, perhaps because of the economy.

Or perhaps because the men of the world blew all their cash in Vegas. On drinks. According to this list of the most expensive drinks in Las Vegas, there are at least nine places in Sin City to drop $100 or more on a single cocktail. And because this is Vegas, land of the hotel-casino, all but one of the drinks on the list can be found at hotel bars. The “winner”? The $3,000 “Menage a Trois” at the Wynn’s Tryst nightclub, a modest little concoction of Cristal Rosé, Hennessy Ellipse, and Grand Marnier Cent-cinquantenaire, garnished with 23-carat gold flakes, liquid gold syrup, and a gold straw studded with a 9-point diamond (yours to keep afterwards, if you concern yourself with such trifles).

But wait. That list is out of date. The “Menage” has since been eclipsed by a drink at the Wynn’s sister property — by $7,000. Which makes two $10,000 cocktails sold at hotel bars we’ve been to. And here’s the best part: There’s a third one out there that’s even more expensive. Read on to find out what it is. And then be thankful your wife was (presumably) easier to impress.

Martini on the Rock

  • The venue: Blue Bar, Algonquin Hotel, New York City
  • The ingredients: Grey Goose vodka, dry vermouth, green olives, diamond ring (1 or 2 carats, depending on clarity)
  • The damage: $10,000
  • The romance: Served by a white-gloved waiter in a crystal glass on a silver platter (none of which you get to keep, though the waiter may be negotiable). The Algonquin arranges for the soon-to-be-fiances to work one-on-one with a private jeweler to customize the engagement ring.
  • The breakdown: Since you can’t put a price on love, I won’t depress you with one of our bundle breakdowns. Suffice it to say, normally a 1- to 2-carat diamond doesn’t fetch 10 grand. Let’s hope those olives are organic. As “YABBI” writes in the (quite entertaining) comments section of the piece, “All that classy razz-ma-tazz, but who wants to fish a ring out of a drink then put it on? What a mess. Who wants to drink something that ring has been soaking in? Lord knows where the ring has been, and that alcohol is not going to kill germs. I’ll bet a big chunk of that change went to the cost of setting up the whole scenario. What a load of hooey.” Hooey indeed, YABBI. Hooey indeed.

Ono cocktail

  • The venue: XS nightclub, Encore at Wynn Las Vegas
  • The ingredients: Louis XIII Black Pearl cognac, 4 ounces Charles Heidsieck 1981 Champagne Charlie, fresh-squeezed orange juice, apricot puree, Sence rose nectar, two ice cubes, 18-carat gold necklace with Tahitian black pearl, 18-carat gold and stingray-leather Mont Blanc cuff links
  • The damage: $10,000
  • The romance: Not much, if the two guys who bought it last year are any indication. Stay classy, fellas.
  • The breakdown: A legendary liqueur, a rare Champagne, and extensive bling for both you and your lady. Not a bad deal, it seems, especially if “sexy server” Traci Tokunaga is on duty the night you order it.

Engaging Martini

  • The venue: Oak Bar, Fairmont Copley Plaza Boston
  • The ingredients: Belvedere vodka, dry vermouth, green olives, diamond ring (or other piece of jewelry of your choice)
  • The damage: $12,750
  • The romance: A full-on “engagement package,” including a suite (complete with Champagne, chocolates, and flowers) and a dinner for two at the Fairmont’s restaurant, the Oak Room.
  • The breakdown: A diamond may be forever, but the drink it comes in is probably gone in less than an hour, depending on the thirstiness of your beloved. Good thing the Fairmont explicitly states that $11,000 of the $12,750 total goes toward the jewelry credit at DePrisco, “Boston’s premier diamond jeweler since 1948.” Assuming you can get more than a carat or two for that much, I’d go with the “Engaging Martini” over the Algonquin’s “proposal martini.” Then again, here at Oyster we prefer pearls. Which begs the question: How many of those would they drop in my drink for $10,000?

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