Why this $150 bottle of Old-Fashioned is so Expensive

One hundred fifty dollars for a bottled Old-fashioned would be a lot of money. We thought they were “whiskey geeks” with big pockets. Robert Haynes, a drink industry veteran, calls them “sophisticated drinkers,” He bets they will clear this year’s stock by December.

The limited edition Gold Fashioned was launched by Chicago spirits brand Sunday’s Finest Cocktails on October 12. It is a ready-to-drink (RTD) bottled old-fashioned, which puts a heavy price tag on a classic cocktail.

The bottle is a bit of a family heirloom: Frontman creator Haynes is an ex-Chicago bartender. He is best known for his time at The Violet Hour in Logan Square. In 2013, he founded Analog, a critically acclaimed cocktail bar. In 2018, he co-founded Apologue Liquors. After a successful first batch of 2021 sales, Sunday’s Finest Gold Fashioned blend for 2022 elevates the concept.

This bottled cocktail is dubbed by its co-founders, Jordan Tepper and Damian Nickles, as the “world’s first luxury RTD.” Is it worth the price? It is small in production, with only 3,000 bottles. The packaging design is a unique experience. This recipe is a unique blend of Indiana rye and vintage bourbon from Bardstown and proprietary saffron bitters. It was created sustainably by a handful using ingredients from every continent.

World-Class Whiskey & Bitters

An old-fashioned cocktail is made with simple syrup, bourbon, and, in words, by David Wondrich, “a few splashes of bitters.” Haynes and his team came up with a new idea for the last part: “What if the world’s finest spices were sourced from six continents?”

The base is a mixture of 15-year Kentucky Straight Bourbon, 9-year Kentucky Straight Bourbon, and 6-year Indiana Straight Rye. MGP Rye, a well-known brand in spirits for making some of the best whiskeys in the world, is the base. Bardstown’s independent barrel broker sources the bourbon. An NDA protects its origins.

These spices include Tahitian vanilla, Tahitian saffron (Asia), Tahitian vanilla, and single-estate Ecuadorian chocolate (South America), as well as fair-trade demerara sugar (Malawi) and French gentian root (Europe). The saffron, which is hand-picked from Afghan farmers and -packaged via fellow Rumi spice, is more precise.

Sunday’s Finest, Chicago-based rare tea Cell partnered with the company to source the Grade-A Tahitian vanilla. Haynes says that Rod Markus is “known for sourcing only the very best of the best” and “we found great vanilla beans that were nearly a foot in length and as fat as your fingers.” Spain is the source of the bitter Seville orange peel. The gentian root? Haynes says that the gentian root is wild-harvested in the French Alps. Haynes adds that fair-trade demerara sugar, a Malawian product, sweetens the deal. Haynes claims it makes for a smooth syrup that enhances the whiskey’s complexity.

The package also includes an orange zest atomizer to add orange peel garnish to your drink.