Cheers to You

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Whisky

Fermented grain mash aged in barrels produces this alcoholic favorite. Although the first written record of the beverage did not appear until the 15th century, it is believed to have been around for hundreds of years prior to that time. It was only within the past few decades, however, that whisky entered into the world of exclusivity and prestige.



"It used to be that a [$200] bottle of Johnnie Walker Blue Label was the crème de la crème," says Jonathan Goldstein, vice president of New York-based Park Avenue Liquors. "Now, there seems to be no limit at the high end of whisky."

Indeed. In addition to the recent $20,000 bottles featured in the John Walker 1805 Pack, bottles from the 1926 Macallan Fine and Rare Collection are priced at nearly $40,000. Unfortunately, though, there aren't any left to be sold. Nonetheless, in lieu of the hefty per-bottle price tag, you still have the option to have a taste when you purchase a dram at the Old Homestead Steakhouse in the Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa in Atlantic City, NJ, for $3,300.

Tequila

First produced in the 16th century, this alcoholic beverage made from blue agave was named after the area in which it was invented, Tequila, Jalisco, Mexico. Of course well-known and well-liked tequila brands such as Jose Cuervo and Patron are always welcome additions to any festivity, but the best way to make a party truly special is by purchasing one of the rarest and most sought-after tequilas there is: Pasion Azteca. The tequila, which comes in a gold and platinum bottle featuring artwork created by artist Fernando Altamirano, is created "with pure sap of the blue agave plant, which has been fermented, distilled, and aged for six years."

Produced by Ley .925, only 66 bottles are available for purchase. Interestingly, this particular tequila earned a spot in the Guinness Book of Records as the most expensive bottle of alcohol sold when it was purchased in October 2006 for $225,000. Thereafter, Ley .925 created The Diamond Sterling, featuring a one-of-a-kind bottle dipped in platinum and encrusted with diamonds, hoping to shatter its own previous Guinness record. The value of The Diamond Sterling is estimated at nearly $1.5 million.

Vodka

This alcoholic beverage typically distilled from fermented potatoes, grain, or molasses is believed to have been developed in the European region that now encompasses Poland, Belarus, Ukraine, Lithuania, and western Russia. Since its inception in the 14th century, however, the drink has come a long way in terms of distillation, bottling, and price.

Thanks to Scotland-based Blackwood Distillers, which has developed DIVA Premium Vodka, vodka has been taken to an unprecedented level. The company has developed a unique filtration process that incorporates precious stones into its distillation method. "It is triple-distilled, ice-filtered, filtered through Nordic birch charcoal, and then passed through a sand of crushed diamonds and gems," yielding unparalleled clarity and smoothness.

In addition to the gems that are used to distill the alcohol, each bottle comes with a 6.5-millimeter column filled with precious gems. Combinations include DIVA Marina (featuring sapphire, peridot, and aquamarine,) DIVA Cassandra (featuring emerald, black diamonds, and tourmaline), DIVA Amelia (featuring light rose, siam, and jonquil), and DIVA Spice (featuring citrine, yellow beryl, and yellow sapphire.) Depending on the stones used, prices per bottle vary from $3,700 to $1 million.

Here's to blissful, sophisticated, and responsible drinking. Cheers.




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