One Of NYC's Fanciest Martinis Is Topped With Caviar And Gold Leaf

A dirty martini is one of life's great indulgences. Especially considering that these days, one vodka martini is likely to cost you upwards of $20 in New York City. But as some bars and restaurants push the limits of a martini's filthiness (think Bonnie's MSG Martini or Cafe Cluny's Bloody Mary-esque Filthy Martini), others push the limits of its decadence.

The Cathédrale Restaurant, located in the Moxy East Village hotel and owned by the Tao Hospitality Group, is known for its French-Mediterranean food and stunning interiors. But the restaurant also makes an extremely fancy martini called An Affair to Remember. The cocktail is made from Belvedere Lake Bartężek Single Estate Rye Vodka, Salers gentian liqueur in lieu of vermouth, and olive brine, and topped with a Beausoleil oyster, Kaluga caviar, gold leaf, and a "deconstructed Castelvetrano olive." Beausoleil oysters are known for their sweet, mild flavor, likely chosen so as not to overpower the earthy, fatty richness of the Kaluga caviar, often considered a sustainable substitute for Beluga.

But you know what's really wild about this over-the-top drink? It only costs a (relatively) reasonable $55. Not bad for a side of gold leaf and caviar.

An Affair to Remember

An Affair to Remember was invented by Nikki McCutcheon, the Tao Group's Senior Director of Beverage, East Region, in the spring of 2022.

"The Affair to Remember is the perfect cocktail to indulge in; a dirty martini poured over a large clear ice cube, topped with a gilded caviar oyster and a deconstructed Castelvetrano olive," McCutcheon told Tasting Table. "Pairing a favorite classic cocktail with a timeless small bite garnish to create a decadent showpiece that's sure to take your cocktail hour to the next level. The salinity of the dirty martini highlights the savory briny notes of the oyster and caviar. The touch of gold leaf covering the caviar is the perfect finishing flair!"

It might be a splurge for most people, but it's worth considering the cost of this drink. Cathédrale sells half a dozen oysters for $29, putting the cost of each one at just shy of $5. Kaluga caviar costs an average of $30 per 0.5 ounce, about the size of an average serving. That would cash out to a $20 martini, which is not outrageous for the neighborhood, not to mention whatever the gold leaf costs. All in all, it's really something of a bargain for such a bold, unique beverage.