Liquid Assets: Expensive Mixologist Drinks and Their Cheap Alternatives

February 16, 2011


The next time you go out for a celebratory drink, make sure you bring your black card (or apply for a small bank loan). All across the District, sommeliers and mixologists are offering uber-expensive libations for those with the urge to splurge. Whether you want to enjoy an aristocratic afternoon tea, a congratulatory toast or a once-in-a-lifetime bottle of wine, these sumptuous options are sure to please everyone except your financial planner.

Masterclass Martini
James Bond’s classic shaken, not stirred vodka martini seems like chump change when compared to Trummer’s on Main’s (7134 Main St., Clifton, Va.; 703-266-1623) $105 White Truffle Martini. This costly cocktail brings together top-shelf Hennessy XO cognac and Grand Marnier 150 liqueur with five slender slices of the fancy fungus (another three precious slivers are laid across the drink after it’s poured). The bold, dark tones of the cognac, and the bitter orange and vanilla of the liqueur blend well with the earthy tones of the truffles. “It’s definitely the most expensive drink I’ve ever sold,” admits owner Stefan Trummer. “I was nervous when I first made it, because you’re experimenting with a lot of money.”
Or You Could Buy: Three Lenox Tuscany Classics martini shaker sets, so you can make your own high-end highballs whenever you want.

Legendary Grapes
Many oenophiles consider the 1947 Cheval Blanc the greatest wine ever made. Find out how your review of the Bordeaux compares by blowing your 401(k) on one of the two bottles available at Proof (775 G St. NW; 202-737-7663) for $11,000 each. Wine director Sebastian Zutant gets a lot of questions about the costly crop and more than a few requests to see it. “People just want to be around it,” Zutant says, “the way they would want to be in the same room as the greatest painting ever or the most beautiful woman in the world.”
Or You Could Buy: About 9,382 Bartles & Jaymes wine coolers. Talk about more bang for your buck.

Royal Tea
Enjoy the royal treatment when you order a $300 pot of the 1985 Emperor’s Masterpiece pu-erh tea at the Park Hyatt’s Tea Cellar (1201 24th St. NW; 202-419-6755). Hand-harvested from 500-year-old trees in China’s Yunnan province, only 15 pounds of this super-rare vintage was produced. Its leaves have a vibrant coffee color and give off the faint aromas of burnt caramel and cracked black pepper. “It’s very earthy,” says tea sommelier Robert Rex-Waller. “So, it’s not for the faint of heart, but it will dance on your tongue.”
Or You Could Buy: Approximately 720 bottles of Lipton Iced Tea, which would last you almost two years if you drank only one a day.

Big-Ticket Brew
Scaldis Prestige de Nuits beer by Belgium’s Brasserie Dubuisson is so ritzy it’s sold in champagne bottles. Uncorking this extravagant dark ale — aged in oaken wine barrels for six months — at Belga Café (514 8th St. SE; 202-544-0100) will set you back $97 a pop, but its 13 percent alcohol content and flavorful hints of vinous grapes and rich toffee should make it a priceless experience.
Or You Could Buy: Roughly 11 cases of Pabst Blue Ribbon, which would definitely make you the most popular guy at the frat house (at least for the first half of the game).

Written by Express contributor Nevin Martell
Photos by Jason Hornick

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