The Case for Terrine’s $60 Old Fashioned

Ryan Wainwright’s new ”Premier Menu” is shooting for total cocktail optimization

The idea of a $60 Old Fashioned isn’t all that shocking by L.A. standards. Remember that $100 margarita at Red O and the $500 boozy milkshake at Powder Room? It turns out there are people out there who like to treat themselves, check off a booze bucket list, or pay for the opportunity to brag to their friends about drinking such spendy cocktails.

I can’t say I blame them. If you’ve got the money to burn, why not? But a lot of places do it for the gimmick, building the pricey cocktail without too much regard to how it highlights the spirit. For the booze aficionados who really want a sense of getting their money’s worth, chef Kris Morningstar’s Terrine is offering a new “Premier Menu,” which debuted last week and features cocktails like a $37 Daiquiri and a $19 Gold Rush.

What prompted head bartender Ryan Wainwright to put something that could easily be interpreted as gimmicky in his bar program? He credits the guests who come in the restaurant looking for “premium spirits” like Patron, Macallan, and Hendricks (none of which the bar carries) only to be left confused. So he created this cocktail menu which showcases the best booze that money can buy in “their best habitat.”

“I picked the spirits I wanted to highlight, tasted them, thought about them, and then said, ‘You know what? This would make a good XYZ,’” says Wainwright. “This menu is a way for me to think about every aspect—the ice we shake with, the citrus we use, the sweetener, the glassware, the spirit; everything. Give us a little of your time and a little of your understanding (for the cost) and we will blow your socks off.”

He means it, too. After each cocktail description on the menu is the claim, “This will be the best ____ you have ever had.” And the barman who’s had years of experience tasting and mixing a lot of drinks says these are “flawless and amazing.”

His $60 Old Fashioned—currently the most expensive cocktail on the menu—is described as:

“This is a truly one of a kind experience. This is singlehandedly something very unique and special. This extremely hearty whiskey ages in new charred oak barrels for no less than 15 years. Straight out of the barrel, uncut and unfiltered, the taste is powerful, flavorful and intense. Lush toffee sweetness and dark chocolate with hints of vanilla, fudge, nougat and molasses. Underlying notes of dates, tobacco, dark berries, spearmint and a hint of coffee round out the palate. This is extremely rare and limited with us only able to make 12 of these. We were lucky enough to get one of these rare bottles for the whole year and there is no better way to enjoy it than in the Old Fashioned Style.”

The Premier Menu—featuring four drinks and one flight—will only be available to those sitting at the bar, however. Wainwright wants the high-end drink to be a whole experience, meaning you’re off your phone and actually talking to the bartender about why it’s so special. The menu will change regularly according to what rare spirit is in the bar’s possession. For instance, right now Terrine only has one bottle of the limited-production George T. Stagg bourbon, which means there are only about 10 Old Fashioneds left. Get there fast.

redarrow Terrine, 8265 Beverly Blvd., Los Angeles, 323-746-5130.