Only in New York can you throw back a $1,000 shot and live to write about it.
If you’re looking for a spirit to redefine celebration, you don’t necessarily have to dress up for New York‘s luxury hotels, top-tier restaurants or exclusive bars. After all, this is New York, and luxury can be found in the most obscure places. Instead, direct your driver to W. 33rd Street, between 5th Avenue and Broadway and head to the third floor of gentlemen’s club Rick’s Cabaret – there you’ll find a cognac that’s almost impossible to purchase anywhere else in the United States.
Louis XIII Rare Cask de Remy Martin is not widely available. Of the 786 bottles on the market, a mere 30 were allocated to the U.S. market, which have mostly been claimed by private collectors and consumers, leaving few opportunities for the merely wealthy to enjoy a sip.
Shortly before the armed guards showed up at Rick’s Cabaret with the club’s two bottles, I learned from Louis XIII senior brand manager Remi Brabant, as we sipped a more conventional Remy Martin cognac, that 10 percent of the U.S. allocation – three bottles – is going to Rick’s Cabaret. Two bottles were escorted to the VIP floor at the Manhattan club, after having been carried almost reverently over the red carpet out front, and the third will be served at the company’s Tootsie’s club in Miami.
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When asked why Rick’s Cabaret received the opportunity to purchase such a large share of the U.S. inventory – particularly that available after private buyers were accommodated – he cited Remy Martin’s long relationship with Rick’s Cabaret, not to mention the strength of the gentlemen’s club’s brand and its financial security (Rick’s is publicly traded and has used the recession to go on something of an acquisition spree, with CEO Eric Langan making some smart pickups). Branant told me, “It’s a great pleasure [to work with Rick’s],” adding, “these are fantastic people to work with.” Ultimately, he concluded, “It’s about friendship.”
According to Ken Sistrunk, the New York club’s general manager, a single ounce of this cognac will cost a customer $1,250, with price breaks coming at an ounce and a half ($1,750) and 2 ounces ($2,200). Even at these prices, he said that the bottles won’t last long. Sistrunk expects the first purchase to be made by the middle of August, with both bottles being exhausted by New Year’s Day.
So, who would shell out more than $1,000 for a single ounce of cognac? Sistrunk explained, “There are still a lot of people making a lot of money, and they want to celebrate.”