Are ultra-premium, ultra-expensive alcohols really worth the price and deserving of the hype they get? We were at a friend’s house last night for cocktails. He is a bit of a “luxury whore” and he made a point of showing us the vodka he was using – Stolichnaya Elit Vodka -and telling us that it was ‘way better than Grey Goose’. I looked up the price when I got home and found out it costs about 80$ for a 750ml bottle. Sees a little steep considering that vodka, as I understand it, is pretty much just water and ethanol made with the simplest ingredients (wheat, potatoes…) – the simplest of the alcohols.
I don’t have the most refined palate and when I drank the cocktail, I don’t think I could tell the difference from the Vodka I usually use (which is much cheaper than $80). So, the popularity of these ultra premium alcohol seems to be mainly – if not completely – a prestige thing. People wanting to show either that they are sophisticated or wealthy enough to buy it. Don’t we have to move beyond associating prestige with someone’s ability to spend money, be it on expensive alcohol, cars, or other luxury goods.
Next time you are about to drop 80$ on a bottle of vodka, buy the $30 bottle instead and give $50 to the street person asking for change just outside the liquor store door – I challenge you all.