The Cocktail Threshold: How Much is Too Much to Pay for a Drink?

updated May 2, 2019
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(Image credit: Megan Gordon)

The reason I ask? Last week I read a piece in The Washington Post about a bar in Washington, D.C. that was serving a $22 Manhattan. That’s right: $22!  Now I should say that this isn’t your average cocktail: it’s made with a small-batch rye whiskey, sweet vermouth and Byrrh quinquina, a sweet French aperitif. Once mixed up, it’s then aged for six weeks in an empty whiskey barrel. Writer Fritz Hahn describes it as “sublime” with “a lingering, oaky finish.”

It got me thinking about my own cocktail threshold which is right around $10. Now this could be a function of the fact that I live in Seattle and not Manhattan. It could also be that, thanks to our well-stocked home bar and number of friends who own restaurants, we’re not often paying full price for cocktails. So maybe we’re spoiled. But even when we go out to a really nice restaurant, I feel like $12 is a pricey, special-treat cocktail. 

So my gut reaction when I read about this $22 Manhattan was that clearly no one was buying them. Well, think again. Apparently they sold out of the 15-barrel container in 5 days. That’s a lot of $22 Manhattans. Where do you stand? I’d be curious to know what your cocktail threshold is. 

Read More: The $22 Manhattan at Georgetown’s Capella Hotel by Fritz Hahn for The Washington Post

(Image: Megan Gordon)