An Irish-based cocktail expert and mixologist has said that very expensive cocktails are all about status and not taste after an Irish woman in London accidentally paid £1,890 for a single cocktail.
Thomas Ostrowski, an instructor at Dublin Bar Academy, said he would much rather order an expensive spirit with water and “travel through the flavours” than pay thousands for a single cocktail.
“These super expensive cocktails appear on menus in the most expensive and famous bars around the world that already have an established reputation,” Mr Ostrowski told the Irish Independent.
He stressed that these super extensive cocktails like the one the Irish woman paid for in London, which she mistakenly believed would cost £18.90, are simply a “marketing tool” and “couldn’t be replicated in a normal bar”.
“You could put the spirits in the cocktail with much cheaper ingredients in the same order and the person just won’t feel the difference, as there are too many flavours,” Mr Ostrowski added.
The Polish native, who has decades of experience behind Irish bars, said the most expensive cocktails he has found in Ireland are around the €200 range in five star hotels close to St Stephen’s Green.
While the industry of super expensive cocktails exists in cities like London and New York, the bartending instructor believes it is only time before it joins the increasingly popular wine and whiskey tasting experiences here in Ireland.
“While it is coming, I don’t think Irish people would be very happy with the prices. We are a big consumer of alcohol here and one drink wouldn’t be very much.
“I would be more than happy to pay a little bit more for a cocktail made in a unique way, but it should stay in the €20 range,” he said.
Mr Ostrowski explained that the cocktail culture in Ireland is changing and that the days of three for €20 in Irish bars and nightclubs has been left behind as prices continue to rise with the cost-of-living.
“The three for €20 deal appeared at the end of the last recession, when people wanted low prices. These cocktails came with only 20mls of spirits and had loads of sugar juice,” he said.
Despite their cheap price, he believes that these cheap cocktails had a “bad impact” on the cocktail culture in Ireland, which took a while to recover. “Cocktails are much better now,” he added.
The gold standard for the amount of spirits contained in cocktails in Ireland now is 60ml, generally comprised of 40ml of spirits and 20mls of liquor, having moved on from the old 20ml marker.
Mr Ostrowski said that it is a common misconception that cocktails in Ireland contain less alcohol than in countries like Spain or Poland.
Cocktails have the same amount however, drinks like gin and tonics often include more alcohol abroad, due to bigger measures, he said.
On finding the best Christmas cocktails in terms of money and quality, the master mixologist recommends that people head out to casual or fine-dining restaurants.
“These places have some of the very best bar staff, with their cocktails made on location using special extraction techniques. There is no need for these super expensive prices,” he said.
What Mr Ostrowski would like to see, is Irish people explore more high quality Irish spirits on their own, by drinking them neat, something which he said “isn’t done very much here”.
He said he would love to see people drinking more Irish whiskey, which he said is some of the best in the world, and is “going through this beautiful moment in history”.
“I have a very good pallet but if you mixed one of these special whiskeys in with a cocktail there is a strong chance I wouldn’t recognise it.
“Master distillers are crying out when these unique old Irish whiskeys, which are so special, are mixed in with these expensive cocktails and lose their taste,” he added.
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