In Food + Drink

Six Of Sydney’s Most Expensive (And Exquisite) Cocktails

Sky-high property prices and ridiculous rents – it’s no surprise that Sydney is a perennial on the lists of the most expensive cities on earth.

Regularly eclipsing the likes of London and New York thanks to soaring living costs, the flashy Harbour City is also now seemingly determined to allow high roller types another opportunity to flaunt their bling via a raft of new pricey cocktails and drinks with a price tag of three figures and up.

In the spirit of the festive season’s signature excesses, we’ve rounded up the city’s most decadent alcoholic creations, each with a high rise cost that’ll mean you need to dig deep.

From rare whisky flights and gold powder-topped margaritas, to vintage cognac cocktails and an opulent Old Fashioned; read on for a definitive guide to the most expensive Sydney cocktails.

’76 Negroni, Madame Shanghai

Image: Madame Shanghai / supplied

If you want to travel back in time for a real taste of the 70s (no flares or dodgy haircut required) then a ’76 Negroni at Madame Shanghai is your time machine in drink form. You see, each of the three essential Negroni ingredient spirits in this unique creation actually date from the 1970s.

Sourced from auction houses over many months by the slick restaurant-cum- bar – which sits on the border of Darlinghurst and the CBD – the unique creation features a 1976 Beefeater London Dry, 1970s Campari, and 1976 Cinzano Antica. Expertly mixed together, it’s a creation that few people will ever taste, hence the $130 price tag.

Booze aside, his venue is also a go-to for ticking off another local institution: yum cha. One of the newest spots on the yum cha bloc, Madame Shanghai is also one of the best. Here, the tired old trolley is a thing of the past and instead, there’s beautiful decor that’s designed to mimic a 1930s Shanghai tea house. But while the vibe is different, you can still expect the usual favourites, such as soupy xiao long bao and barbecue pork buns.

Millionaire’s Margarita, Bar Patron

Image: Bar Patron / supplied

Aptly named, the Millionaire’s Margarita is a signature creation at the latest addition to Rockpool’s portfolio of venues, Bar Patron – a Mexican-inspired restaurant and bar sitting within Circular Quay.

Assembled table side the top-priced creation is made by a mixologist using ingredients laid out on a specially designed tequila trolley. Firstly, native Australian finger lime pearls are placed at the base of the glass and flash-frozen with liquid nitrogen and a perfect sphere of ice is placed on top. Next, agave nectar, freshly pressed lime juice, 150-year old Grand Marnier Cuvee du Cent Cinquantenaire, and a generous pour and a half of Patron Gran Burdeos are mixed in a cocktail shaker. Finally, a spritz of $4,000 cognac and then a shaking of powdered gold on top and voila.

Though rich, sweet, tasty and very more-fish, given its $100 price tag, this is one top-notch tipple that you’ll want to sip and savour slowly.

Very Old & Rare Whiskey Flight, NOLA Smokehouse And Bar

Image: NOLA Smokehouse And Bar / supplied

Are you an American whiskey lover in search of a new hit? As of two weeks ago, NOLA Smokehouse and Bar in Barangaroo has officially launched what is Australia’s most expensive whiskey flight to their drinks menu.

Priced at a whopping $850, the Very Old & Very Rare Flight does exactly what it says on the tin: pours of some of the oldest and rarest American whiskeys in existence with a collective bottle value in excess of $19,000. The flight includes a 1990 O.F.C straight bourbon (of the 63 bottles available worldwide, NOLA Smokehouse and Bar has the only one in the Southern Hemisphere); WhistlePig The Boss Hog IV ‘The Black Prince’ (aged in Armagnac casks from France for 14 years); Pappy Van Winkle’s Family Reserve (a 23-year-old bourbon now one of the most sought-after bottles of whiskey in the world); and Michter’s Celebration Sour Mash (of the 256 bottles of this blended American whiskey NOLA has the only one in Australia).

While out of reach of most wallets, the harbourside smokehouse has more than 600 varieties of American whiskey behind the bar, so there’s a nip for every budget.

Royal Sazerac, Blu Bar On 36, Shangri-La Hotel

Image: Shangri-La Hotel / Paul Ewart

Manhattan or Sydney? You’ll be forgiven for doing a double take when you walk into the Shangri-La’s Blu Bar.

Perched high above the city – 36-stories up to be exact – the cocktail bar is the embodiment of the age-old adage: ‘location location location’. Brimming with Sydneysiders and visitors alike, floor-to-ceiling windows offer both water and city views, including a jaw-dropping birds-eye vantage point above both the Opera House and Harbour Bridge. As you’d expect, the decor here is slick, and the drinks menu oozes sophistication, with a selection of wines, champagnes and signature cocktails.  And as of this month, the bar has another attraction for the city’s high rollers: the newly created Royal Sazerac cocktail.

Made with Louis XIII cognac (produced from the grapes of Grand Champagne that has seen ageing of between 50-100 years in the final blend) the decadent libation also contains Peychaud bitters, lemon oil, and a final spray of salted Absinthe mist. Designed for cashed-up cocktail enthusiasts, the luxe creation will set you back an eye-watering $499 a pop.

No. 10 Rum And Rye Old Fashioned, Kittyhawk

sydney cocktails

Image: Kittyhawk / supplied

Taking its name from a US fighter jet, Kittyhawk, the latest venue from the team behind the successful CBD bar, the Lobo Plantation, is as unique as its predecessor. Themed around the WWII liberation of France by the US, the Phillips Lane bar is a time capsule of wartime memorabilia and posters.

Vintage fans will love the historic touches, Francophiles will love the French food (the onsite kitchen serves up an array of yummy Parisian street food snacks) and everyone will appreciate the 12-metre-long bar that serves more than 900 available spirits, including what has become Kittyhawk’s signature creation – the No.10 Rum and Rye Old Fashioned. Touted as the most expensive Old Fashioned in the country, this version blends Michter’s Rye 25-year-old and Bacardi Facundo Eximo Rum.

Want to give it a go? At $250, you’ll need deep pockets.

Sammy’s Old Fashioned, Maybe Sammy

sydney cocktails

Image: Maybe Sammy / supplied

Channeling 1950s Vegas in the Rocks, Maybe Sammy opened its doors in January and has already become one of the most lauded bars in the city. Fresh from winning a swag of awards, including ‘best new cocktail bar’, ‘best bar of the year’, best bar team’; the cool drinking den even managed to nab a coveted spot on the the ‘world’s 50 best bars’ list – the top spot in Australasia no less.

Rat Pack and Hollywood glam are evinced by the pink velvet banquettes, leather-clad stools and gold lamps, but the focal point is the huge marble bar topped. It’s from here that classic martinis and other creations are whipped up, alongside the (now famous) Sammy’s Old Fashioned. Priced at $140 this suitably high roller targeted concoction is made to a traditional recipe but crafted with the creme de la creme of ingredients: Old Rip Van Winkle’s 10-year bourbon – which was beloved by the late, great Anthony Bourdain – and Hennessy XO cognac.

Afterward, soak up the alcohol with tasty bar snacks including lip-smacking cheesecake, oysters, and gourmet tacos.

(Lead image: Millionaire Margarita / supplied)

Published 20 December, 2019