When it comes to drinking, you often get what you pay for. The finest, most sumptuous wines or the sharpest, tastiest ales offer a much more satisfying experience for the palate than the mass-produced fare in most bars or shops. Fine living and fine drinking go hand in hand for many – our tipple of choice is a treat that we look for to complement a great meal, good company, a riveting read or a gripping TV drama.
But, while many of us accept we might need to pay a little more for quality, what about the products that are off the scale? Here’s our guide to five of the most expensive drinks that money can buy – and the stories behind their price tags:
Beer doesn’t necessarily command a place at the very top table of the expensive drink market – but that’s not to say that there aren’t any ales that can hold their weight in this list. In the US, Sam Adams releases Utopias every two years at a cost of $150 a bottle. Each batch is aged in sherry, brandy, cognac, bourbon, and scotch casks for up to 18 years and includes a little maple syrup. Still, that’s far from the most expensive price paid for a beer. Nail Brewing in Australia is thought to have earned that moniker for its Antarctic ale. This was brewed with water that was melted down from the ice of the Antarctic. Only 30 bottles were made, with profits going to the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society and each selling for more than $800 a bottle at auction.
As one-off sales go, the limited edition 12-litre bottle of Chateau Margaux 2009 that sold for £122,380 in Dubai shows that the odd wine sale has the ability to go off the scale. Still, the experts at wine-searcher.com put together their top list of the world’s most expensive bottles on sale – many of which are seen as decent investments given the fact that they rise nicely in value. Domaine de la Romanee-Conti Romanee-Conti Grand Cru from Cote de Nuits in France topped the league at an eye-catching £8,310. This wine must be made from at least 85% Pinot Noir grapes and was once described by the Archbishop of Paris as ‘velvet and satin in bottles’ – amen to that.
Cocktails offer us the chance to sup a heady mix of flavours in a glass but Gigi’s manages to be a drink that is rich in both taste and price tag. It sells for £8,888 and is aimed at the well-heeled Mayfair crowd, having been created especially for singer Grace Jones at the star-studded opening of Gigi’s restaurant. With a reputation of being ‘like liquid gold’ the ingredients include vintage Champagne and an ultra-rare Armagnac as well as lashings of gold leaf that give them an extra bling factor.
If gin is your drink of choice then you’d relish the chance to take a sip of Nolet Reserve. This mythical gold-labelled bottle reportedly changes hands for about $700 a bottle.
This is a 104.6 proof unaged spirit in a 750ml bottle, crafted by the Nolet family in Holland which has been crafting such drinks since the late 17th century. The Reserve has a golden hue and includes saffron as a prime botanical.
The rest of the drinks on here are left trailing in the wake of the Tequila Ley .925 – although this has little to do with the actual drink. It’s the diamond sterling bottle that truly turns heads – and helps to command the $3.5 million price tag. A slightly cheaper diamond encrusted bottle still sells for $1.5 million. A similar diamond-studded bottle helps earn the Henri IV Dudognon Heritage Cognac Grande Champagne a $2 million price.