Whisky, with a splash of bitcoin. As cryptocurrencies seep into multiple facets of life, from online games to shareable art, it’s no surprise that the trendy digital assets have finally arrived to the craft cocktail world.
This April, global restaurant group Chotto Matte, which has locations in London, Toronto and Miami, will debut a specialty cocktail that can only be purchased with bitcoin. (The restaurant group is also debuting a $1 million NFT with its own set of perks.)
Timed to debut during Miami NFT Week (April 1 – 3) and the Miami Bitcoin 2022 conference (April 6 – 9 a), Chotto Matte’s signature crypto drink will sell for the bitcoin equivalent of $50 (the actual amount in $BTC will be set that day, pending market conditions). The drink will only be sold between April 4 – 1o.
The drink is named “10/31” as a nod to the date in 2008 when enigmatic bitcoin inventor Satoshi Nakamoto published the white paper that changed the world. (Nakamoto, incidentally, is a pseudonym for one or more people; the true identity of Nakamoto remains, to this day, hotly debated.) Crypto enthusiasts have turned the date into unofficial celebrations.
“I was trying to figure out how to represent the evolution of money towards crypto, and getting it into a drink,” Gabor Fodor, Chotto Matte global bar manager, says.
The result: a Sazerac-inspired mix of Hakushu 12-year-old Japanese whisky, cognac, umeshu, okinawa black sugar and bitters. The drink is garnished with a “$50 bill” clipped to the side of the drink. It is set on fire, and when the paper burns off, a bitcoin is revealed. (It’s not actual money, but rather magician’s flash paper that burns easily and without residue. The taste of the drink is not impacted.)
“There’s a few aspects to this,” Fodor says. “You get to burn money which many people would love to do. That bill turns into a bitcoin. Is that like the evolution of money? Is it something like burning money to get bitcoin?”
As for the drink itself, Fodor chose Hakushu, because of its rarity and cult status among the cognescenti. The Japanese single malt is lightened with cognac and umeshu, a Japanese plum sake, plus an unrefined molasses-rich black sugar. It’s served over a big ice cube.
“This presentation is something that hopefully you haven’t seen before,” Fodor says. “It fits in with the whole bitcoin conference. It’s storytelling in a drink.”
Is this drink a harbinger of things to come, with crypto payment taking off in bars over the next few years? Possibly. Crypto is becoming part of the conversation among restaurants as the technology gets more popular. In some ways, the limited-edition crypto-only cocktail represents a dry run for future offerings, at least for Chotto Matte.
“We implemented a point of sale system just for this week,” Fodor says. “We are considering if it works well and seamlessly, then we might consider keeping it on for regular service.”
“One of our next openings is San Francisco,” he adds, “which is an area where it’s very common to pay with crypto. It’s something we are heavily considering to have there. And then we will see, if there is need, and if there are people who want to pay with crypto, then why not.”
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