It's the status symbol of hotspots like 1Oak, LAX and Hyde -- that ubiquitous bottle of premium vodka or champagne that's like a bling commodity for all its VIP disciples. Bottle service has become a sort of nightlife necessity often reserved in advance or at the door, granting big-spender guests exclusive privileges within often off-limit VIP nightclub circles.
Traditionally, it's been a 22-inch bottle of Grey Goose or magnum of Moet that have been the most popular bottle service choices, arriving with a selection club soda, tonic water and cranberry juice mixers. But lately it's an all-new lineup of alcohols that have emerged on cocktail tables of nightlife elite from the clubs of Porto Cervo to private parties of Point Dume.
Los Arango Tequila
Tequila: The New Vodka
- 'It' Bottle: Los Arango tequila
- Who's drinking: 20-something Hollywood starlets
Quickly becoming as popular as vodka in the bottle service scene, premium tequilas seem to be the latest accessory at virtually every VIP lounge in the U.S. But instead of everyday labels like Patron and Don Julio, boutique brands like Los Arango Reposadi and Corzo are the fashionable choice for celebrity patrons looking to stand out with more than just a pretty bottle.
Los Arango Tequila is derived from a historic hacienda in Guanajato, Mexico, once home to the famous conquistador Don Pedro Sanchez. The legacy spans from 1755 with a selective agave distilling process in a noncommercial local setting. The Reposado, or aged tequila, is then deposited into oak barrels and aged between two to 12 months. The resulting tequila is then bottled, capped, labeled and sealed by hand in those signature artesian bottles appearing on VIP tables everywhere.
Cachaca: God Bless You
- 'It' Bottle: Fazenda Mae De Ouro
- Who's Drinking: Brazilian Supermodel Posse
Chicer than rum, Cachaca might as well be the official drink of Ford models. No fashionable party in Brazil is quite complete without the scene of bronzed bartenders in bikinis and Speedos squeezing, pounding and mashing their way through endless limes ultimately mixed with the cahcaca and sugar to create the Capirhina. Perhaps a sign of summer, a well-known starlet was recently seen at a Hamptons nightclub ripping up endless packets of Splenda to create her own sugar-free version.
Cachaca is no easy liquor to make, originally invented by Portuguese settlers among the vast sugarcane plantations of central Brazil. Premium brands like Fazenda Mae De Ouro are derived from hand-cut, unburned sugarcane in Minas Gerais, Brazil's most-famous cahaca producing state, where it is immediately processed to preserve flavor and freshness. After fermentation and at least one year of aging, it is bottled in locally produced bottles and shipped to a bar near you.
Champagne: The Gold Standard
- 'It' Bottle: Cristal by Roederer Vintage 1982
- Who's Drinking: Oil-Rich Billionaires and Friends
Sure there are new trends that seem to displace this bubbly standard, but there is nothing quite as chic as a great big, expansive bottle of vintage Champagne. It's like a gold seal of class and elegance that starts off with a pop and ends with one of the worst hangovers you will ever have. But in-between it's a feel good shot of confidence that's easily poured, never has to be mixed and makes for a great shower if you happen to be at a nightclub where such fabulous behavior is tolerated.
While novices may defer to price as the deciding factor in selecting Champagne, there are a few basic rules in making your bottle service decision. First, look and see if there is a sponsor like Moet on the back of the menu or at a nearby ice chiller, a sponsor will normally offer better prices than other menu competitors. Never forget, there's no such thing as non-French Champagne. And lastly, go for a larger bottle instead of ordering several smaller ones. It'll likely get you better seating at the club and maybe even a cuter entourage.
Liquoristerie de Provence
Absinthe: The Fantasy Drink
- 'It' Bottle: Liquoristerie de Provence
- Who's Drinking: Take-Me-Serious Brit Musicians
It's history is intertwined with some of the most successful artists of all time, including Van Gogh, Oscar Wilde, and Degas, who painted L'Absinthe depicting two weary pub drinkers. Banned in Europe and U.S. for much of the 20th Century because of its rumored hallucinogenic effects, the drink resurfaced in the late '90s throughout the London social scene and Soho membership clubs after becoming legal again throughout much of the world.
While its hallucinogenic effects have been all but disproved, drinkers still insist that an "exquisite hour" of euphoria follows consumption, perhaps explaining why these pretty Provincial bottles are popping up as high-end additions to regular vodka and Champagne bottle service. If ordering the best, go for a bottle of Liquoristerie de Provence, the first absinthe reintroduced to France in 1999. Drinkers place a spoon and half cube of sugar over the absinthe glass, pouring cold water to draw out the purest flavors.
Michael Martin is the managing editor of JetSetReport.com -- a luxury travel and lifestyle guide based in Los Angeles and London. His work has appeared in In Style, Blackbook, Elle, U.K.'s Red magazine, ITV and BBC.