The $5000 gin cocktail: what it's like, why it's so expensive, & how you can recreate it at home

The latest headline-grabbing effort from the world of high-end bars arrives from New York, where the newest addition to the cocktail menu at the luxurious Baccarat Hotel (pictured above) will set you back a breathtaking $5000. No, that’s not a typo. Read on to find out just what is in the Imperial to see if you think they justify the price tag!

And if you don’t happen to have $5000 to hand, then we’ve come up with a much more affordable way to recreate this magnificent gin cocktail without the jaw-dropping price tag.

The $5000 Cocktail

Image:  CNBC.com

Image: CNBC.com

What’s it called? L’Imperial.

Price tag? $5000 with the glass as a keepsake or $1400 for just the cocktail alone.

Where can I order one? The swanky Baccarat Hotel in New York (pictured).

What’s in it? Nolet’s Reserve Gin, Cherry Oak Aged Maraschino Liqueur, vintage Green Chartreuse liqueur and clarified lime juice, garnished with a gold-leaf wrapped Amarena cherry on a bed of saffron and accompanied by Beluga Vodka Caviar Pearls with kaffir lime.

Ok, it sounds fancy. But why’s it sooo expensive?
First up, the gin: Nolet’s Reserve Gin uses both verbena and saffron, the most expensive spice in the word, in its production, and Carolus Sr., the 10th-generation distillery owner, approves each bottle of the gin before it is bottled, to ensure the quality. That kind of bespoke distilling means a hefty price tag.

Then there’s the cherry liqueur, which retails at $50 a serving. Finally, you’ve got the extremely rare vintage bottle of French green chartreuse that dates from 1921-1926 and is basically impossible to get elsewhere. Not to mention the Beluga cocktail caviar pearls and the two-Michelin star chef-created garnish.

Got it. Even with all those posh ingredients, does it really merit the $5000 cost though?
Well, we haven’t got to the glass yet. The ‘Tsar’ glass is named after Tsar Nicholas II, for whom the glass was designed in 1909. This coloured crystal glass retails in the UK for a cool £2980. Phew! Order the Imperial cocktail at the Baccarat Hotel in NYC and you’ll get to keep your glass to take home.

We’d be a bit scared to drink our G&T out of that. What does the Imperial cocktail taste like anyway?
”The cocktail is sweet and citrus, with a subtle hint of vanilla and cinnamon finish,” according to CNBC, who spoke to the hotel’s bar director, Antoine Hodge.

Ooh, yummy. Can we make a cheaper version of that at home?
Absolutely. The Imperial is based on The Last Word, a classic gin-based cocktail created in Prohibition-era America. Here’s how you can make one:

Photo by Mark Weinberg. Source:  Food52.com

Photo by Mark Weinberg. Source: Food52.com

THE LAST WORD

INGREDIENTS:

22ml gin
22ml lime juice
22ml green Chartreuse
22ml maraschino liqueur

METHOD:

Shake all the ingredients with ice and strain into a cocktail glass. Top with a maraschino cherry.

In case you’re wondering: green chartreuse is a naturally green herbal liqueur that is created according to a centuries-old secret recipe by French monks! You can buy a bottle online or in some specialist drinks stores for around £30, plus delivery.


Love gin cocktails? Check out our cocktail hub and browse our blog to find more classic, rare and unusual recipes!