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Outrageously Expensive Cocktail’s Guinness World Record Called Into Question

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It all started with an Ocean's Eleven-style casino heist.

"The Winston" was made with 1858 Croizet cognac, valued at $157,000 per bottle.
"The Winston" was made with 1858 Croizet cognac, valued at $157,000 per bottle.
Sydney Morning Herald

The Guinness World Records committee is considering stripping Australia's Crown Casino bar, Club 23, of its 2013 title for most expensive cocktail, reports The Sydney Morning Herald. The bar has been accused by The Age of reimbursing the buyer Giang Nguyen for the $12,916 cognac-based cocktail in order to cover up a $32 million casino heist.

The Age reports that in the days leading up to the Guinness media event, the Crown Casino discovered the cocktail's scheduled buyer, New Zealand millionaire James Manning, had participated in an Ocean's Eleven-style scam at the card tables. Rather than alerting authorities to incident, the Crown reportedly made a deal with Manning and banned him from the premises.

"We had the cognac, we had the event organized, we just didn't have a buyer. We were in an awful bind."

Meanwhile, the casino's PR team scrambled to find a replacement for Manning. "We had the cognac, we had the event organized, we just didn't have a buyer. We were in an awful bind," a former member of the casino's PR team tells the paper. In the days before the event, executives at the Crown approached Nguyen, a high roller with ties to the Australia's Geelong Football Club. Former employees say Nguyen was reluctant to pay the outlandish price, so the Crown struck a deal with him to pose for photos and sign the check with the promise that he'd be paid back after the event. "Giang stepped in at the last minute. He made the transaction as per Guinness rules, but he got his money back and it never came from Club 23," a former employee says.

Nguyen showed up for the event and only took two sips of pricey cocktail before leaving. Doug Male a representative for Guinness says the organization is reviewing the record for fraud. "The matter has been passed to our Records Management Team in London to investigate."

Club 23 isn't the only place to waste good booze on a world record. In 2014, a restaurant in Vancouver, Canada created a $100 frank by soaking a Kobe beef sausage in $2,000 worth of cognac.

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