Drink with a sting in the tail

"THAT'LL be $12,500, sir" - words you might hear when buying a used car or a kitchen, but definitely not a drink.

"THAT'LL be $12,500, sir" - words you might hear when buying a used car or a kitchen, but definitely not a drink.

However, a New Zealand businessman, James Manning, on Thursday night wrote a cheque for that amount in a Melbourne bar.

At the same time he wrote his name into the history books as the buyer of what is believed to be the most expensive cocktail ever made.

The basis for the cocktail, which will be claimed as a Guinness world record, is a bottle of Croizet cognac dating to 1858. It is, itself, already a world-record holder, having previously been valued at $157,000.

The bottle was purchased from Croizet by Crown Melbourne's Club 23 bar, whose barman Joel Heffernan put two days' preparation into the cocktail.

It includes two nips of Croizet - at $6000 per shot - along with Grand Marnier Quintessence, chartreuse Vieillissement Exceptionnellement Prolonge, and a dash of Angostura bitters.

Heffernan's concoction was presented with chocolate nutmeg dust, essence of poppy seed and roses, and hints of coconut, passionflower and oranges.

It is called the "Winston" in tribute to British prime minister Winston Churchill, who is said to have shared a treasured bottle of 1858 Croizet with Allies commander General Dwight Eisenhower on the eve of D-Day in June 1944.

The previous world record for a single cocktail is held by Salvatore's Legacy, a concoction developed by barman Salvatore Calabrese using Clos de Griffier Vieux cognac that dates to 1778. It sold for £5500 ($8330) in October last year in a London bar.

Crown spokeswoman Ann Peacock said although the world record would belong solely to Mr Manning, anyone else with the inclination - and finance - to try the Winston would still be able to indulge.

"An additional 11 cocktails will be available for purchase from Club 23. But because it takes two days to make, you have to give a bit of notice," she said.

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