If fine restaurants around the country price dishes at exorbitant levels when they feature specialized meats or showcase an unusual cooking method, we rarely bat an eye. However, most times that same courtesy isn’t extended to bars or lounges that offer a uniquely constructed cocktail made with interesting ingredients. Even with the occasional sticker shock, though, the five following places are keeping over-the-top libations on their menus because they know that, no matter what, there’s always a thirst for one-of-a-kind drinking experiences.
If you were wondering, the “S” and “P” in this San Francisco hotel eatery’s name stand for Sansome and Pine streets, as in the corner where Forbes Travel Guide Five-Star Mandarin Oriental, San Francisco sits. People may know the address for chef Adam Mali’s dishes, but if the gifted beverage team keeps concocting energetic drinks such as the Emperatriz (Spanish for “empress”), that will soon change. This high-end martini consists of DeLeón añejo tequila, Grand Marnier, Gläce Luxury Ice, agave syrup and fresh lime juice. A real gold flake and finger lime caviar top the $50 drink, assuring that you rest comfortably at the junction of excess and fulfillment by the time you finish with this one.
With an overload of spoils to capture the eye around Dubai, many things are acknowledged merely with an apathetic shrug. But that’s not the case with the Skyview Bar, a stunning lounge towering more than 650 feet above sea level inside the iconic, sail-shaped Burj Al Arab. At the bar you’ll find Diamonds Are Forever, an elixir fine enough for a sheik. Diamonds consists of hard-to-find L’Héraud Grande Champagne 1906 cognac, Luxor Champagne, The Bitter Truth Jerry Thomas’ Bitters and brown sugar. To make it stand out among all of the United Arab Emirates’ glitter, however, the $1,350 cocktail is served in Swarovski crystal.
It’s not a surprise that some of the most inventive cocktails originate in Sin City. And while Four-Star Wynn Las Vegas’ $10,000 Ono Champagne cocktail and $3,000 Ménage à Trois drink are unquestioned headliners, the liquid fun coming from Bellagio right now is second to none. With master mixologist Ricardo Murcia leading the charge, the Four-Star hotel’s Petrossian Bar, Pool Bar and Baccarat Bar underwent a massive menu overhaul at the end of 2013, resulting in a vibrant, ingredient-focused drink lineup for guests of all tastes. Vodka lovers will simply adore what the Petrossian Bar has done on the Caviar Cube Martini ($39), a mature take on the classic that includes Beluga Gold Line vodka, Noilly Prat dry vermouth, Siberian artesian spring water filtered through silica sand and a skewer of Petrossian caviar.
Even though a crystal decanter of 64-year-old Macallan Scotch — the world’s oldest — scored $460,000 at a 2010 auction, the drink is still up for grabs. Shots of the rare pour have gone for a whopping $64,000, but £10, the specialty bar with the exclusive partnership with The Macallan that’s tucked inside of the Five-Star Montage, has less than two ounces remaining from the prized dram. By the time you get there, that last bit of glory could be gone. (Proceeds from the whisky sales go to a charity of the buyer’s choice.) But even if it is, rest easy knowing that the Macallan legacy lives on through slightly less exclusive varieties of the whisky (between 15 and 60 years old) that go anywhere from $35 to $3,100 per drink.
Trump Taj Mahal, Atlantic City
Over the past few years, Atlantic City has gambled with making an across-the-board facelift to change its luck with tourism. One of the places involved in the reimaging of the city has been this Trump property. You can see this polished new look at Robert’s Steakhouse, the multi-million, 8,000-square-foot eatery that opened in late 2012. And while the name suggests rib eyes and filet mignon as headliners, the bar offers a showstopper in its own right — The High Roller ($250). With Louis XIII de Rémy Martin cognac, Grand Marnier 150 liqueur and oven-roasted orange as the main attractions in the drink, you’ve already won. After the bartender garnishes the cocktail with specks of 24-karat gold, though, you’ll feel as if you’ve hit the jackpot.
Photos Courtesy of Bebe Jacobs-Getty Images and MGM Resorts International