Pricey cocktail: He didn't finish it

STEVE COLQUHOUN
Last updated 11:35 08/02/2013

How to make a $12,500 cocktail

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PREMIUM & PRICEY: This NZ$15,360 drink was served to a Kiwi businessman last night in Melbourne - and he only took a few sips.

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What does the man whose name will sit in the record books alongside the world's most expensive cocktail do when his much-hyped $15,000 masterpiece finally arrives?

James Manning, a New Zealand businessman, last night took a few polite sips for the assembled media, and nibbled gingerly on the edible garnish it was served with. He appeared somewhat overwhelmed by the fuss that included his own roped-off section of Crown Melbourne's exclusive Bar 23 and a chair probably more accurately described as a throne.

Pronouncing it to be "good", the high-rolling Crown regular signed a cheque and an official statutory declaration, then disappeared into the night.

The majority of the most expensive cocktail ever poured is left undrunk, still nestled in its ridiculously splendid hand-made garnish.

This concoction has occupied the considerable skills of a highly trained barman and a team of chefs over two days, and contains two nips of an 1858-vintage cognac at $7370 a shot.

It has been hyped, coveted, obsessed over, and promoted in local and national media in the days leading up to this event. The Guinness Book of World Records has been notified, and official witnesses drafted - including the author of this story - to attest to the historic moment.

The guest of honour had arrived at Bar 23 dressed in a white shirt, casual black pants and a pair of sandals that would probably not have made it past the front door any night other than this one.

It was later explained by a spokesman from Croizet, while nursing the $192,000 bottle of cognac his company sold to Bar 23, that Mr Manning wasn't feeling well. He had retired to his room and was unlikely to return.

Still, the media abhors a vaccum, so it was left to the other star of the hour, Club 23 barman Joel Heffernan, to make himself comfortable in the plush chair and accept all the plaudits and glory. Which he happily did.

- Executive Style

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