Crown Melbourne’s Club 23 is now home to the world’s most expensive cocktail after bartender Joel Heffernan stirred up a $12,500 creation using Cognac dating back to 1858.

The Winston was bought by an anonymous Crown regular last Thursday night (Feb 17) and featured two nips of Cognac Croizet’s 1858 Cuvee Leonie Cognac – which recently sold at auction for USD$157,000 – as well as Grand Marnier Quintessence, Chartreuse Vieillissement Exceptionnellement Prolongé and a dash of Angostura bitters. The drink was misted with dry ice infused with orange and lemon peel, angelica and star anise.

Served on a bed of chocolate and nutmeg soufflé ‘soil’ The Winston also featured one of the most extravagant garnished ever seen – hand-made spun sugar and Chartreuse grapevines (created by Mr Hive Kitchen and Bar’s chefs John Lawson, Dalmaine Blignaut and Mario Wischnewski).

The drink was served by Jeffernan to the purchaser, who was seated behind ropes in a throne-style chair and amazingly only took several sips of the $12,500 drink before signing his bill and leaving the remainder of the drink behind.

What’s truly remarkable about that is only a few hundred bottles of Cognac Croizet’s 1858 Cuvee Leonie Cognac exist in the world and are only released on very special occasions – one of them, according to Cognac Croizet, was in 1944 when Winston Churchill and General Eisenhower reportedly shared one together on the eve of D-Day.

Guinness World Records staff was on hand to officially endorse the drink as the most expensive on the planet, which surpassed previous record holder Salvatore Calabrese’s ‘Salvatore’s Legacy’ drink that was crafted on October 15, 2012.

Calabrese, one of the world’s most celebrated bartenders, made a £5,500 drink at London’s Playboy Club using 1778 Clos de Griffier Vieux Cognac, 1770 Kummel Liqueur, Dubb Orange Curacao from 1860 and two dashes of 1900s Angostura Bitters.

Cognac Croizet was specially imported by Vanguard’s James France for the Crown Melbourne event.

James Wilkinson

Editor-In-Chief, Hotel Management