A pint of Guinness may be the drink that's dearest to the Irish heart, but there's no question what Irish drink comes at the dearest price — and its home is Ireland, too.
For only $1,470 more than a glass of Guinness, you can quaff the drink that the Guinness Book itself says is the world's most-expensive: the Merchant Hotel's world-famous Mai Tai. It's so expensive — and apparently, so good — that it won the Belfast five-star luxury hotel a 2009 Spirit Award as part of the group's "Tales of the Cocktail" festival in New Orleans, where the most-acclaimed cocktail experts in the world gather.
Only 15 servings are available of the 17-year-old Wray and Nephew Rum used to make the $1,475 Mai Tai, which is why the drink is so pricey. Only two have ever been bought — and one was made for the celebration of the world record.
Wray and Nephew stopped making the rum, but recently released a small number of bottles. The Merchant has one of six bottles of the rum known to exist. Each is said to be worth more than $51,000.
The Merchant, located in the cvity's Cathedral Quarter, was named ‘World’s Best Hotel Bar’ thanks to their supreme skill in the art of mixing this reportedly perfect cocktail.
"We are thrilled that The Merchant has become a world beater. This really puts Belfast and Northern Ireland on the world’s hospitality map,” said Sean Muldoon, bar manager and "mixologist" at the Merchant.
The Dorchester, Paris Ritz and George V were The Merchant’s top competitors fighting for a world title, but the Belfast hotel also walked away with the title of ‘World’s Best Cocktail Menu" and ‘World’s Best Drinks Selection."
“To be the only hotel in Ireland, and indeed Europe, to achieve such acclaim is a credit to the talent that exists here, within the hospitality trade,” said Muldoon. “To come out on top with a list of awards will bring very obvious benefits for the tourist industry and is a massive coup for Northern Ireland.”
Judged by top industry figures from around the world, the Spirit Awards give recognition to establishments and bartenders that have shown talent for advancing the creation of various cocktails, from White Russians to the Merchant’s famous Mai Tai.