Gold leaf and 30-year-old aged Cognac for a $2300 cocktail: a customer misunderstands the price and exceeds her spending limits, but the hotel resolves the situation by reimbursing her.
Just as a comma can change the meaning of a sentence, it can also change the fate of a bill. Some time ago, Mrs. Lynsey Bennett from Belfast, vacationing in the English capital with her husband, returned to the hotel where they were staying after a night at the theater and dinner. She decided to end the evening by sipping a cocktail at the hotel bar—a cocktail with a rather bitter aftertaste, as she found herself handed a bill for almost £1890, equivalent to $2300.
"The guy behind the counter had just started working, he was from Toronto, and we had been there on vacation in the summer, so we had a nice chat. I always drink Champagne, more rarely cocktails, so I thought, 'You know what? I'll order something a bit different, a mixed drink,'" Lynsey told The Drinks Business. Bennett's choice fell on a cocktail called 1890, without imagining that would be more or less the price of it. "The guy pulled out a bottle of Cristal, uncorked it, put a gold leaf, a 30-year-old aged Cognac, gave me a huge book to sign, and I thought of it as special treatment. Then, however, he presented me with a bill for £2000, and the thought was only one: 'I can't afford to pay it,'" she continues.
In a later TikTok, Bennett recounted that her husband was furious about the "oversight," walking away from the venue while she tried to explain to the bartender that she had interpreted the space between 18 and 90 as a decimal point. At that moment, the hotel manager intervened, reassuring Lynsey and asking her not to worry about the bill and to enjoy her vacation.
After the incident, the Belfast customer wisely decided to stay away from the bar for a few days, until New Year's Eve when she met the manager again, learning of the bartender's dismissal: "I burst into tears, I was devastated." Fortunately, the manager was joking, and the hotel decided to institute training courses for staff to avoid such mistakes.
Nothing is known about the hotel's identity; what is certain is that Mrs. Bennett perhaps needs to pay more attention not only to the price but also to the ingredients, as she stated: "I didn't even like the cocktail in the end because it was whiskey-based, and I can't stand whiskey."
All photos by Unsplash