Rick Bayless’ Mexican restaurant catastrophe Red O on Melrose is kicking off 2012 with a $100 Margarita, made for the
Truly Retarded “Truly Indulgent”. This is a likely addition to an establishment that’s equipped with all the necessary bells and whistles to keep their targeted clientele happy; Valet’s in straw hats, a gaggle of identical girls at the host desk guarding a completely empty restaurant that will say “No” to everyone but you, (since you made a reservation 3 months ago), a bar you can only sit at if you’re waiting for a table, and average food that costs a lot of money. You can put a $100 Margarita in the hand of a pig, but it’s still a pig.
The Margarita is made with “Gran Patron Burdelos, Partida Elegante, Herradura seleccion suprema; Grand Marnier Cent Cinquintenaire, fresh squeezed lime juice, organic agave syrup, ice cubes made of housemade lime sorbet, topped with Louis XIII cognac and orange “Caviar” made from fresh squeezed orange juice and Prunier D’orange Cognac, and served with a stainless steel straw and a edible gold rim”.
Yes, this is actually happening right now at Red O. Let’s take a look at what’s going into this Margarita: 3 over priced extra Anejo Tequilas that taste like brandy and are meant to be sipped on. Grand Marnier Cent Cinquantenaire liqueur is a 150 anniversary commemorative bottle of very old Cognacs mostly from Gran Champagne blended together, also meant to be sipped on. Louis XIII is a Remy Martin product that according to the Cellar Master Pierrette Trichet should be tasted one drop at a time, with humility for the 100 year old Cognac. And Prunier D’orange Cognac is a Cognac based orange liqueur.
As if the lime sorbet ice cubes aren’t sweating enough sweet into the drink as they melt, adding even more Cognac, orange and sugar with Prunier Caviar is by far the smartest addition to the cocktail. Innovation at it’s finest.
I’ve seen many bars and restaurants succumb to this tomfoolery. P.D.T. in New York City even had a “High Roller” menu back in 2008.
The infamous pyro-happy bar man Albert Trummer put together what he thought was New York Cities 1st “Reserve” Cocktail list at Apotheke in Chinatown, NYC in 2010. Each drink rang in at $65 and the menu explained the cocktails as being “A set of 10 meticulously crafted libations…cocktails made with luxury, high-end spirits, rare and imported fruits and herbs, and special kitchen techniques. The finished product is poured into a carefully selected crystal glass, specialized for each cocktail.” The wool was being pulled over the eyes of the uneducated consumer, who thought they were ingesting exotic rose water and imported cardamom (the former can be purchased from Whole Foods, the later costs a few bucks an ounce at any spice store.)
Indeed, ignorance can be bliss. Some drinkers don’t really care what they are sipping on and are happy paying top dollar for the experience of being told that what they hold in their hand is extraordinary and unique, even if it’s 100 proof vodka with peach puree and a splash of Krug.