The Windsor Court has a couple of Super Bowl drink options in case you've got a few thousand dollars just laying around.
The Super Bowl has long been a playground for the wealthy far more than the average fan, but that side of the story has grown exponentially since the game was last in New Orleans 11 years ago. CBS has taken over Jackson Square, Verizon will sponsor Woldenberg Park, Bud Light will temporarily rebrand The Wyndham Hotel "The Bud Light Hotel" starting Thursday, and Direct TV has erected a temporary building in Mardi Gras World parking lot for a Saturday celebrity beach football game and a concert with Justin Timberlake. On a less grandiose level, one bar owner in the CBD said his venue is being rented for a private party for more money than it usually takes in in a week.
In that world, a $2,000 and $10,000 cocktail is almost a bargain. The Polo Club Lounge in the Windsor Court currently offers these drinks, but they're more than simply a gimmick. "We want to have fun, but we want to tie New Orleans into it," says Sara Kavanaugh, Director and Sommelier of The Grill Room. To that end, "The Key to the Court" is a Sazerac-based cocktail made with Louis XIII Cognac. The person who pays $2,000 for one also gets a souvenir gold key garnish, a future one night stay on the Club Level, round trip airport transportation, a bottle of champagne upon arrival, dinner for two in the Grill Room Restaurant, and two spa treatments. "The Key to the City" is a D’Oliveiras Malvasia 1907 Madeira Cobbler - madeira served with a little simple syrup over crushed ice in a silver julep glass. Madeira was chosen because it came in through the Port of New Orleans, says Kavanaugh, and for $10,000 it comes with a future two-night stay in the penthouse, round-trip airport transportation, champagne, spa treatments, dinner for two in the Grill Room, and a city tour including a show at Irvin Mayfield's Jazz Playhouse.
There are also more budget-oriented options, relatively speaking. Both drinks are available without the future stay considerations, and The Polo Club Lounge is making another New Orleans classic - the French 75 - with Cristal champagne for a mere $85. No add-ons. So far, no one has bought one of the drinks, but Kavanaugh is confident. "Do I believe we'll sell them? Absolutely," she says. "Yes, you're getting a cocktail, but what you're getting on the back end is a deal."
"If we didn't come up with something, we'd be missing out," she continues. Kavanaugh believes the unusual occasion as Mardi Gras flows into the Super Bowl and back requires some sort of special, whimsical high-end drink in a luxury hotel, but the crazy nature of the three-week period suggested the nature of the additional, less liquid ingredients. Some similarly outlandish cocktails come with diamonds or something rare in the glass. She felt the drink needs to include a return trip because, she says, "It's going to be a crazy time, and there's so much the city has to offer [the rest of the year]."
Kavanaugh's favorite? The Key to the City, which makes the rich, lingering complex taste of madeira even more luxurious.
"But not because it costs $10,000," she says, laughing. "It's the jam."