Anyone who spends their money on cocktails knows: They don’t come cheap. In fact, in recent years, cocktail prices have skyrocketed—where a craft cocktail might have run you $10, even at the most exclusive speakeasy, that freshly mixed tipple could now set you back $16 or more.
Examining this change through the perspectives of several high-end bartenders, Food & Wine reports that, basically, cocktails are expensive because they’re expensive to make.
Frank Coleman, senior vice president of the Distilled Spirits Council, says high price tags are a result of high quality, both in ingredients and in service.
“Many cocktails today are being crafted by master mixologists using super-premium spirits, fresh ingredients, and infusions,” Coleman tells Food & Wine.
Thad Vogler, owner of Bar Agricole and Trou Normand in San Francisco, says he has seen the price of cocktails rise 40 percent in 10 years, noting that “the main factor is how much the drink costs us to make.”
Rising rents and restaurants’ bottom lines are less to blame, then, than our own expectations. “The blossoming of cocktail culture has trained diners to want better drinks,” Food & Wine writes, and if we as consumers expect a higher standard of what’s in our glass, as well as who’s serving it, then we can expect a higher price tag, too.