Thu Dec 15, 7:21 AM ET
CHICAGO (AFP) - A jeweler turned drink designer has made a splash in the Chicago bar scene with a new cocktail that costs a whopping 950 dollars.
The Ruby Red is a tangy mix of vodka, champagne, cognac, pomegranate liqueur and orange juice.
And it comes complete with a one-carat, grade-A ruby.
"We kind of were playing with an idea that someone could come in and have something to celebrate and remember the night by," said Pete Gugni, a manager at the trendy Reserve club in downtown Chicago.
Gugni said the club wanted to come up with something more memorable than opening a bottle of champagne.
"That's where the stone comes in - at the end of the night they can take it home."
Gugni spent a few years as a jeweler after he graduated from art school, but switched to managing a bar because he got bored sitting behind a desk all day.
He used his old connections to buy the cocktail gems wholesale, and says they can easily be turned into a ring, pendant or earrings.
So far, he has sold three.
The first was to an out-of-town businessman who quietly ordered it for the woman sitting with him at a table.
The next was a Reserve regular who bought one for his girlfriend.
The third was an extravagant club promoter in his 20s who bought it to impress a first date. The man made a big show of handing it to the woman and warned her to watch out for a surprise at the bottom of her martini glass.
"She was loving it," Gugni said. "All her friends were looking at it trying to see the stone."
Coming up with a recipe for the drink took a lot of experimenting behind the bar with the club's servers acting as a test market.
"We wanted to use pomegranate because it's hitting a popular trend with the antioxidants, and orange is really good with that," Gugni explained.
Dom Perignon champagne added a certain 'je-ne-sais-quoi', while using the Grey Goose orange vodka brought a smooth and silky kick.
"It's not a really heavy or sweet drink. It's got more of a tart taste."
Nobody has ordered the drink without the ruby yet. Gugni figures he would charge around 120 or 130 dollars for a gem-less Ruby Red, to cover the cost of uncorking the champagne.
But even at that price, they won't get the whole bottle - they just get a splash.
To make a Red Ruby, stir together these ingredients (the gemstone is optional):
- 1.5 ounces Grey Goose L'Orange vodka
- 0.5 ounce Hpnotiq cognac
- 0.5 ounce orange juice
- 0.25 ounce Pama (pomegranate) liqueur
- a splash Dom Perignon champagne
Seems like a problem if they just drop the gem in the drink dosen't it? Isn't it possible that someone just happens to consume it by accident and then can't find the thing? Exactly how heavy is a one carat ruby? I wouldn't think that it's massive enough to stay at the bottom of the glass and not move around. It might have been cooler if they embedded the gem in a clear ice-cube and dropped that in the drink. If you made the ice cube out of some sort of booze, it wouldn't dilute the drink and if you made it large enough, it wouldn't completely melt perhaps until the person had mostly finished drinking the thing. Not to mention it might look pretty cool to see a spot of red ruby in the middle of a block of ice.
I'm also kinda curious what they do with the rest of the bottle of Dom after they've added the splash needed for the drink. Maybe the bar staff gets to drink the rest down or there's a bargain basement sale on a glass of the stuff after it's been opened.
I hope the guy who bought one for the girl on the first date got some compensation for his largess. It's like those parody diamond ads. Diamonds: She'll pretty much have to.