The most expensive cocktail in the world.

In October 2012, with this drink, I broke the Guinness World Record for the most expensive cocktail in the world by using a 1788 cognac, an 1770 kümmel, an 1860 orange curaçao and Angostura Bitters from 1900. Other expensive drinks normally have some sort of gimmick, but mine was valued according to its true retail price owing to the sheer age of the liquids – in total that’s 733 years of liquid history in one drink, pricing the cocktail at £5,500. However, it is a great drink which can be enjoyed by using modern spirits too.

This drink also comes with some bad memories – just a couple of months before the record attempt, a regular customer of mine and a fellow aficionado of aged spirits, had asked to try my oldest cognac. I presented him with a bottle from 1788 – the year before the French Revolution, the year George Washington was campaigning to become the first American president and the year Australia was discovered – and served him with two shots at £5,000 a piece. My customer then requested that we leave the bottle on his table so he could admire it while sipping the spirit. Unfortunately, his friend stood up, accidentally knocking the table, and the bottle, which was not perfectly flat on its base, fell slowly over and smashed on the floor. When I heard the sound of breaking glass from across the bar, my heart sank. And then the smell of this wonderful spirit filled the air. We all stood there looking at what must have become the most expensive piece of floor in the world. I wondered if we could somehow rescue the liquid but in the end we had to pick up the broken glass and clean up the mess. Luckily, I found another bottle.


  • 40ml cognac XO
  • 20ml kümmel
  • 20ml orange curaҫao
  • 2 to 3 dashes Angostura bitters


Combine all the ingredients In a mixing glass, add a good handful of ice and stir for 20 to 30 seconds, then strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with a twist of orange zest, just for the oils.