If you’re the type of budget-conscious boozer who scoffs at the idea of paying more than $10 for a cocktail, you’d do well to steer clear of Chicago’s Baptiste & Bottle. This ritzy outpost located in the Conrad Hotel is out to empty your wallet with a new Scotch-based drink dubbed the “Macallan Rare Journey Cocktail” that sells for an insane $95. What are this pricey potable’s main ingredients, you ask? Sherry and scotch. And an Oculus Rift.
In fairness, the fancy dinner-and-drinks spot is selling the Rare Journey Cocktail as more than just an opportunity to light a hundred dollar bill on fire. B&B presents patrons with a wooden box adorned with moss and other forest fauna designed to evoke the sights and smells of Macallan’s rare oak casks. From there, a member of the bar’s staff explains the painstaking, time-consuming process required for Bodegas Tradicion 30-year Oloroso Sherry and Macallan Rare Cask scotch to appropriately mature into the world-class spirits you see before you.
Next, it’s time to strap on the Oculus headset and embark on a journey through Scottish forests, Spanish sherry bodegas and to the famous Macallan estate. All the while, a mixologist (who may or may not be wearing a vest) is hard at work assembling the spirits in a glass specifically designed to activate their aromatic qualities, adding an olfactory element to your virtual reality cocktail. Then all you have to do is sip, reflect on the life decisions that led you to order a $95 drink, and soak up Baptiste & Bottle’s 20th story views of Lake Michigan.
As you might expect, this high-end cocktail experience was made for those who live to flex on Instagram. “This cocktail experience is very instagrammable and is meant to be shared and seen,” said Raquel Raies, National Brand Ambassador for Macallan. “We wanted to create an exciting experience that would touch all the senses, while being educational, fun and interactive.” If you compare that price to round-trip airfare to Scotland, it at least starts to feel a little more affordable.
This also isn’t the first time B&B’s beverage director Michael Fawthrop’s scored some publicity with his creative approach to cocktails. Just last month, he dreamed up a balloon-based cocktail to celebrate a Takashi Murakami exhibition at the nearby Museum of Contemporary Art. Given his track record, it feels like we’ll be hearing about wearable-connected mezcal meant to protest Trump’s see-through border wall by the end of the year. Until then, though, this elaborate concoction will have to do.