What a Senseless Waste of Great Wine

As the great Hunter S. Thompson used to say, “when the going gets weird, the weird turn professional.” And as we continue our journey through the absurdities of wine, food and too much money, the going really does get weird. After all, what could be weirder than today’s first item – the Douche Burger?

Words by Drinks Writer, Ken Gargett


Where else but New York? Food truck, 666 Burger – a name that must have been concocted very late at night – came up with something special, the Douche Burger, costing, you guessed it, $666. A Kobe beef patty stuffed with foie gras and gold leaf and then drenched in a mix of caviar, lobsters and truffles – doesn’t sound like your typical Golden Arches fare.

So where does the Champagne come in? Well, apparently the burger is soaked in a combo of Gruyere cheese and BBQ sauce. The cheese is melted by, wait for it, Champagne steam.

At the time this was reported, the food truck had actually sold one Douche.


Okay, getting a bottle of Petrus with your burger, which you can drink or even cellar is one thing, but using two bottles of the legendary 1982 Mouton Rothschild when making your pie is bordering on criminal.

The Fence Gate Inn in Lancashire holds the world record for the most expensive pie at $14,260. Or if you’d simply prefer a slice, $1,781. As well as the two bottles of Mouton murdered in the making of this pie, it contains a splendid array of fungus – black truffles, Chinese matsutake mushrooms (which were quoted at around $900/kg at the time, but given recent health scandals over these mushrooms, maybe a smidge cheaper now), French bluefoot mushrooms and about a grand of Wagyu. And of course, it is covered in the obligatory gold leaf.

But pouring an 82 Mouton, let alone two, into the pot? I’d feel sick before I took a bite.


Granted my understanding of the making of a Hollandaise sauce is somewhat limited, but I have grave doubts that the use of such a wonderful and wonderfully subtle wine as Dom Pérignon Rosé would really contribute much, but perhaps I am casting unfair aspersions on the chef. Anyway, it seems that the Opus Restaurant at the local Radisson in Manchester was prepared to give it a go – I guess with all those obscenely wealthy soccer players walking both sides of the street, they shouldn’t have too much trouble convincing a few of them it was a good idea.

The Hollandaise (with the aforementioned DP Rosé) is tipped over the world’s most expensive pancake. A mere £800 will get you the pancake, which also contains liberal quantities of lobster, caviar and truffles.


‘Salvatore’s Legacy’. Mixologist Salvatore Calabrese, of the Playboy Club in London, held the record for the most expensive cocktail with his Legacy, a lazy £5,500 each. He had sold three of them at the time of the report. The Legacy contains, among other ingredients, 1788 Clos de Griffier Vieux Cognac, 1770 Kummel Liqueur and 1860 Dubb Orange Curacao. I’m sure it is very nice, but I’d have been very keen to see all three individually, although as I am never likely to be forking out that sort of dosh for a cocktail, or anything else, that might be moot.

In steps our local hero… In February 2013, Joel Heffernan of Club 23 at the Crown in Melbourne came up with a new cocktail that smashed the old record. ‘The Winston’, coming in at US$12,970 (really? Couldn’t find thirty bucks of olives to toss in and bring up a round 13K?) contains 60ml of the 1858 Croizet Cuvee Leonie Cognac, which also holds its own record – the most expensive Cognac sold at auction. Apparently, it goes for $6,000 a nip so the Winston is looking a bargain!


During a stint in Sydney many years ago, I lived about 80 metres from the Lord Dudley in Woollahra. I can assure you that items such as what follows were not part of our usual lunch.

The Posh Pie or surf ‘n’ turf for $12K, chockers with top-notch wagyu, West Aussie rock lobster, black truffles, organic veggies and, wait for it, yes gold leaf. Not only that, two bottles of Penfolds Grange were sloshed into the mix. No mention of vintage but really? Twelve grand will get you a fair whack of Grange. I’d be happy with that and a good pie and peas from a stand at the footy.

You’d have to pay for your chips there, as well.

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