Throughout history, man has always found ways to take the simplest of pleasures and needs and transform it into something beyond its original intended purpose, beyond function, beyond necessity. We have found the most humble of foods and turned them into luxurious gourmet meals, discovered rocks in the earth, polished them, and had them made into the most expensive bodily decorations. When dealing with luxury, it is never a question of why or how, it is taking the most precious of things and putting them together for all to appreciate and behold.
And nothing exemplifies the very definition of opulence as much as “Flawless,” a 71,011.50 USD Christmas cocktail put together at the high-end London nightclub Movida, a popular haunt for the incredibly posh. It is a new take on the common Christmas and Champagne combo, the Christmas cocktail, and the giving of jewelry as gifts. The famous nightclub, frequented by celebrities, footballers and the wealthy, had immediately taken orders for the drink, being at the peak of the Christmas season.
The Christmas cocktail consists of large measures of Louis XII cognac, half a bottle of Crystal Rose champagne, brown sugar, Angostura bitters, sprinkled with flakes of an edible 24-carat gold leaf and before service, an 11-carat diamond dropped and settled at the very bottom of the glass. The ingredients had been carefully chosen to reach the exorbitant, record-breaking amount, and the ensuing publicity frenzy had ensured that the drink would not go by unnoticed upon its launch. It would be prepared at the bar where two bodyguards will keep watch, and during service and consumption the buyer will be escorted and guarded closely by them.
The drink reportedly has a warm flavor and finish to it, mostly due to the age of the liquor and the bitters, however it was being bought mostly as presents for significant others, a new take on giving diamond rings or jewelry as gifts. It has been criticized to be an unnecessary excess, another cocktail with expensive liquor put together, with the random bit of precious gem thrown in for good measure.
The buyers do not seem to think the drink is too excessive though, as the drink is reportedly their new version of presenting diamonds to beaus, a newer and more creative alternative to a run-of-the-mill engagement method. The first buyer, a developer, had bought the drink for his girlfriend, and does not seem very bothered at the steep price the drink had cost.
The buyers also do not seem to mind the price of the drink, considering it just another gift, as it was the holiday season after all and when the wealthy spend, they go all out. After all, the Flawless was never created purely out of a need for publicity stunts. It was not about the priceyness of the drink, or the novelty of its nature or the culture of excess. It was about the craftsmanship and the Christmas spirit and the art of giving, with which price is unimportant.
Author Sharon Sussman is a gemologist, jeweler and Director of Products at Brilliance.com. It is a tough call which is more extravagant and quirky: this drink or their PSY Gangnam Style Gold Pendant which is studded with 600 diamonds. Sharon would like you to know your opinion.