10 of the world’s most expensive drinks 2022
Here are 10 costly beers, wines and spirits that excel in terms of design, quality, rarity and, perhaps most importantly of all, marketing.
This 750ml offering from San Diego-based AleSmith Brewing Company is also available from Craft Beer Co for £80.15 per pint, a price point that makes the soaring cost of the average pub pour in London seem reasonable. Then again, the Reforged 20th Anniversary Ale is actually a blend of three beers: Wee Heavy (Scotch Ale), Speedway Stout (Imperial Stout with coffee) and Old Numbskull (Barley wine) – now that’s what this writer calls value for money.
Harewood Rum 1780 – £8,225
What’s the most valuable bottle you’ve got in your cellar? Perhaps a Port you were saving for a Christmas yet to come, or some Champagne that seems too nice to open. What about 12 bottles of 18th century rum? Discovered beneath the dust and cobwebs in Harewood House, Leeds, the dark and light Jamaican rum went for more than six times the asking price when auctioned off by Christie’s in 2013, with the dozen costing £78,225 altogether.
Kors Vodka 24k George V – £24,500
This limited edition spirit is just one of 250 bottles. It was distilled in Italy and Finland to the same recipe of the vodka that Tsar Nicholas II used to send to his cousin King George V. Unfortunately for Nicholas, it wasn’t enough to persuade the British monarch to give his family refuge when the Russian Revolution came – but hopefully diplomatic relations will be more fruitful when you bring out a vodka that costs slightly less than a brand new Ford Mondeo.
Louis XIII: Mathuselam – £80,000
Remy Martin’s premium Cognac fetches a premium price – with a 50ml bottle starting at £700. But when it comes to brandy, this writer says go big or go home. The six litre mathusalem is spectacular inside and out, with the La Maison Baccarat-blown decanter housing a spirit aged in century-old Limousin oak barrels that explodes on the palate with unrivalled intensity. Just 50 of these giants are produced each year, but for those who want to browse the range of sizes available, the Louis XIII boutique was recently relaunched at Harrods.
1863 Niepoort in Lalique decanter – £102,000
Setting a new record for fortified wines, this Port was sold at the 2019 Nature Conservacy charity auction for more than HK$1 million. Just over four months earlier another 1863 Niepoort sold for £96,100 in Hong Kong. They are two of just five of these demijohn decanters to have been created, with each engraved with the name of one of the five van der Niepoort generations. The 1863 is a rarefied tawny blend and the decanter was inspired by one from 1905 and produced by Lalique in Alsace.
The sale at Sotheby’s in New York shattered the record for still wine (but thankfully not the bottle itself), as a pair of DRCs from the 1945 vintage fetched £377,000 and £424,000 respectively. In total, the consignment of rare Romanée-Conti from the cellar of Robert Drouhin fetched more than £5 million, a figure five-times greater than the pre-sale estimate. All that was disclosed about the buyer of the more expensive bottle is that they were a private collector from Asia. To read about other bottles that fetch a bit more than your average plonk, click here.
Fine and Rare 1926 Macallan – £1.5m
As db’s roundup of 10 of the most expensive whiskies of all time shows, 1926 Macallan doesn’t exactly come cheap. Cask #263 has produced plenty of contenders for the title of super-priced Scotch, with artists Valerio Adami, Peter Blake and Michael Dillon each turning their hands to designing labels. Though the ‘Fine and Rare’ might seem slightly dull in comparison, that didn’t stop it from reaching a record price when auctioned at Sotheby’s.
The Emerald Isle Collection – £1.6m
From whisky to whiskey, the addition of a Fabergé egg, a bespoke timepiece, two Cohiba Siglo VI Grand Reserve cigars (with a gold-plated cutter), obsidian whiskey stones and numerous other gilded accessories make this a veritable treasure chest of luxuries. As for the booze itself, there are two bottles of 30-year-old triple distilled Irish single malt aged in old Bourbon casks and then Pedro Ximénez Sherry barrels. While it is certainly excessive (as you would hope for the price tag), the money is going to a good cause as it will raise funds for the Correa Family Foundation.
2017 Champagne Avenue Foch – £2.1m
Shammi Shinh devised this recent record-breaker for sparkling wine, which didn’t fetch its eye watering price tag because of the quality of the wine within or because the bottle is exquisitely gilded, but because it has an NFT of a “mutant ape” on the outside. While the world of non-fungible tokens may be alien to many, brothers Giovanni and Piero Buono were happy with their successful bid, though they likely opened a slightly more affordable bottle to toast their auction success.
Tequila Ley .925 Diamante – £2.8m
“It’s what’s inside that counts” doesn’t really apply when you enter the stratospheric level of multi million pound bottles of booze, and this is no exception. Five pounds of pure platinum and 4,100 white diamonds are united to create what must be one of the most dazzling (and heaviest) additions to any drinks shelf – though there is reportedly only one in the entire world. Of course, the 42% ABV contents are still of the highest quality: the premium extra añejo is made from 100% select agave that has then been barrel aged for seven years. To read about other pricy Tequilas, click here.