Join The Discussion


New arena at Will Rogers takes shape

The proposed Will Rogers Memorial Center arena continues to take shape as voters head for a Nov. 4 election to decide whether to approve new taxes to help pay for the $450 million facility.

read more >

Cooking Class: Fort Worth chef brings home the gold

Toques off to Timothy Prefontaine. The executive chef at the iconic Fort Worth Club is currently the best in the nation, according to the American Culinary Federation. Prefontaine earned the title of 2014 U.S.A.’s Chef of the

read more >

Fort Worth firm 'simplifies' advertising

Reaching customers requires more than price slashing and flashy ads. In today’s competitive marketplace, machines – not men and women – are essential to tapping new markets and

read more >

Trinity Valley School leader to leave in May 2015

Gary Krahn, head of school for the past eight years at Trinity Valley School in Fort Worth, will leave his position in May 2015 when he and his wife Paula will move

read more >

RadioShack rescue raises question of what's worth saving

NEW YORK — RadioShack Corp.'s effort to seek financing and stave off bankruptcy raises a key question for investors, analysts and the customers who've shunned the electronics retailer for years: What's worth saving here?

read more >

$100 margarita! America's most expensive cocktails


The Benjamin Margarita at Red O Restaurant in Los Angeles. It has three extra añejo tequilas and an edible-gold-and-kosher-salt rim.

Credit: Red O Restaurant

Source: Red O Restaurant


City: Los Angeles

Kristin Hunt

for CNN

(CNN) -- Think the $18 martini you ordered at the hotel bar was steep?

That was peanuts.

As in, the little dish of complimentary germ-infested peanuts on the bar.

From California to New York and everywhere in between, ritzy bars are playing a crazy game of "Who Can Make the Costliest Cocktail?" -- and the competition is as stiff as the product.

We scoured the country for examples of the most over-the-top pours we could find, excluding those accompanied by crown jewels or crystal goblets.

Even still, you may need to skip a mortgage payment or two to enjoy a night of these extravagant cocktails.

The World Cocktail (World Bar, New York City)

Price: $50

If you want to grab the attention of The Donald, ordering the priciest drink in all of Trump Tower is a place to start.

That drink would be the World Bar's aptly named World Cocktail, a blend of grape juice, lemon juice, simple syrup, 23k edible liquid gold, Pineau des Charentes and bitters, topped with Veuve Clicquot champagne.

When the cocktail debuted in 2002, it was considered the most expensive in the world.

Oh, how times have changed.

The Benjamin (Red O Restaurant, Los Angeles)

Price: $100

Mexican cuisine master Rick Bayless made noise in 2011 when his L.A. spot Red O debuted its $100 margarita, dubbed The Benjamin.

So what makes a marg worth a C note?

To start, it uses three exquisite, extra añejo (or "ultra-aged") tequilas: Patron Burdelos, Herradura Selection Suprema and Partida Elegante.

Add some Grand Marnier Cuvee du Cent Cinquentanaire, 100% organic agave syrup, fresh lime juice and Louis XIII cognac to float and you're almost there.

Can't forget the blood orange caviar and edible-gold-and-kosher-salt rim!

The Daiquiri 1981 (The Breadfruit, Phoenix)

Price: $150

This decadent daiquiri was created just last year by Breadfruit co-owner Dwayne Allen to commemorate National Daiquiri Day (which is July 19, so mark your calendars).

The key ingredient is English Harbour 1981, a rare rum aged for a minimum of 25 years in old whiskey and bourbon barrels.

The still on which this rum was originally produced is gone, meaning English Harbour 1981 will eventually run out. Get it while you can in this drink, which also includes hand-squeezed key lime juice, demerara syrup and house-made cherry bitters.

St. John (Osteria 177, Annapolis, Maryland)

Price: $200

The baby of the list, the St. John made its debut mere months ago in Maryland's capital.

Osteria 177 mixologist Lucien Smith, riffing on the classic sidecar recipe, mixed up a cocktail consisting of Louis XIII cognac, Grand Marnier Cuvee du Centenaire, Meyer lemon juice, syrup made from Meyer lemon and Grade 1 saffron and 23k edible gold flakes for garnish.

So far, Smith says they've sold two of 'em.

El Series (El Gaucho, Portland, Oregon)

Price: $220

The bar staff at El Gaucho Portland first made its name in the extravagant cocktails game with The Josephine, a $500 cocktail featuring L'Esprit de Courvoisier and Grand Marnier 150.

Once the bar's stash of L'Esprit de Courvoisier ran out, The Josephine was retired, but its siblings in the "El Series" have carried on the mantle.

A collection of four $220 cocktails, the El Series uses Louis XIII cognac as its base. Entries include the Louis Smash (add fresh mint and a splash of soda) and Louis Sidecar (add Grand Marnier, lemon and orange juices).

The JW 1800 (The Lily Bar & Lounge at The Bellagio, Las Vegas)

Price: $480

You've probably come across some member of the Johnnie Walker family in your lifetime, but have you ever met the Johnnie Walker?

You will if you order The Lily Bar's JW 1800.

This cocktail includes "The John Walker," an incredibly rare vintage whiskey that dates to the 1800s.

When we say incredibly rare, we mean it: only 180 bottles exist and once they run out, that's it.

In case you're interested in sipping this endangered species, the JW 1800 also includes sweet vermouth, whiskey-barrel-aged bitters and a Maraschino cherry.

Drinking the Stars (The Starlight Room, San Francisco)

Price: $735

You could easily buy a whole constellation of stars for the price of The Starlight Room's "Drinking the Stars" cocktail.

Originally created by mixologist Jacques Bezuidenhout, the concoction takes 1979 Chateau de Ravignan Bas Armagnac brandy and infuses it with Madagascar vanilla bean, orange peel and raisins.

It's topped off with Dom Perignon, and they'll even leave the bottle with you.

Order a 750 ml version of this drink for $365, or play high roller with the $735 1.5L.

If vanilla bean isn't your bag, the Starlight Room has three more so-called "million dollar cocktails," ranging from $90 to $200.

The $1K and Over Club

All the flashy cocktails above are built on nothing but booze and edible garnishes, but if you're looking for something that comes with a keepsake, there are plenty of even pricier contenders.

The Kentucky Derby has offered a $1,000 mint julep served in a complimentary sterling silver cup for almost a decade, while $3,000 to $40,000 martinis with actual jewelry have sprung up in places like the Foxwoods Resort in Connecticut and the White Barn Inn of Kennebuck, Maine.

The most cocktail Happy-Meal-heavy city is Las Vegas.

In the last few years, Vegas has seen drinks ranging from the Gotham and High Roller martinis at The Capital Grille (perks: necklace or ring) to the Ono at the XS Nightclub (perks: necklace for ladies, cufflinks for gentlemen).

Then there's the Menage a Trois, $3,000 at the Tryst Nightclub in Wynn Resort. The drink itself consists of Cristal Rose champagne, Hennessey Ellipse, Grand Marnier 150, liquid gold syrup and 23k gold flakes.

But you get to sip it out of a complimentary 24k gold-plated straw with its own diamond, making for a trinket that puts all your crazy straws to shame.

Remember, folks, tip that waitstaff well.

< back

Email   email
What do you think of the new plans for a new Will Rogers arena and changes at the Convention Center?