Top Shelf: The $150 Cocktail at Hotel Del Coronado

Hotel Del’s new seaside restaurant has been the talk of Coronado for its tableside service and fresh-out-of-the-ocean seafood. But when we heard they have a $150 drink on the menu, in the name of research we had to see it for ourselves. And as far as Champagne wishes and caviar dreams go, the Fugu Del delivers (literally) just that.

The recipe has just a few ingredients: Beluga Gold vodka (a premium Russian brand), housemade marcona almond orgeat, and Meyer lemon juice are shaken over ice as a base, then topped with a liberal pour of 2006 Dom Pérignon. But what makes the price tag hefty is the puffer-fish glass it’s served in—handblown by an artist in Spain—and it’s yours to take home. The presentation doesn’t end there.

The Fugu Del arrives at the table on a wooden boat along with a spoonful of caviar and a conch billowing a cloud of coconut-scented dry ice vapor. It’s unabashedly over the top (every time I took a sip, I thought, "There goes twenty bucks"), and that’s exactly what the cocktail’s inventor, Eric Hobbie, was aiming for.

"The Del has such a majestic presence to it, and I wanted to grace that with a cocktail which brought an equally powerful presence," says Hobbie, a "corporate intoxicologist" at Clique Hospitality. He wanted the drink to touch all the senses, and that’s where the puffer fish’s sidekicks come in—the scented shell is reminiscent of an ocean breeze; the caviar brings the saline taste of the sea.

The buzz you’ll get from the Fugu is comparable to that of a French 75, and it’s only magnified by the fancy feeling you’ll experience when they bring it to you.


Serẽa Coastal Cuisine

1500 Orange Avenue, Coronado sereasandiego

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