$1,893 for soup? The Drake Oak Brook has a bowl waiting for you

The Colonial Room at The Drake Oak Brook is offering something unique for experience-seeking diners. But be warned. It’s soup-er expensive.

For a limited time, the iconic hotel is offering a luxuriously upgraded version of their signature Bookbinder’s soup, preparing it with one of the world’s most prestigious spirits, Louis XIII cognac, as well as other lavish flourishes.

The price: $1,893. Soup-rise!

  The Drake Oak Brook’s $1,893 Bookbinder soup is made with Louis XIII cognac and red snapper flown in fresh from the Gulf of Mexico, then garnished with caviar and gold flakes. Rick West/

The extravagantly revamped version of the soup goes beyond just subbing in the Remy Martin Louis XIII cognac in place of the traditional dry sherry. The dish is served with red snapper flown in fresh from the Gulf of Mexico each time the soup is ordered. It’s garnished with gold flakes and Ossetra caviar.

  Executive Chef Ezequiel Dominguez of The Drake Oak Brook cuts filets from a fresh red snapper flown in from the Gulf of Mexico, especially for a serving of the $1,893 Bookbinder soup. Rick West/

“Our brand is about looking for ways to elevate experiences and tying it in with brands that are opulent,” said Jeffrey Mabilangan, assistant general manager at The Drake Oak Brook. “We view the Drake as an iconic hotel, so what more iconic liquor to pair with an essentially iconic soup than Louie XIII?”

The experience includes a snifter of the premium spirit, as well as a trip behind the scenes to the kitchen for a personalized cooking lesson from Executive Chef Ezequiel Dominguez on preparing the soup.

  Executive Chef Ezequiel Dominguez of The Drake Oak Brook flames up a pan with fresh red snapper while making a $1,893 version of their classic Bookbinder soup. Rick West/

The specific $1,893 price comes from the date of the original recipe for the soup, created by Samuel Bookbinder in 1893 in Philadelphia.

The original version of the seafood bisque featured snapping turtle but was adapted to use red snapper when The Drake in downtown Chicago adopted the recipe in the 1930s.

They’ve been serving it in Oak Brook since the hotel opened in 1962, and it’s been a favorite of past guests, including Frank Sinatra and (now) King Charles. The regular version of the soup will set you back $10.

The experience will be available by request for a limited time and must be ordered two weeks in advance to arrange for the fresh fish and the cooking demo. Reservations can be made online.

  Executive Chef Ezequiel Dominguez of The Drake Oak Brook puts the finishing touches on a special edition Bookbinder soup by drizzling a half ounce of Louis XIII cognac on top. Rick West/

“We wanted to do something fun and take something old and escalate it, but we didn’t want to change the original makeup of the soup because it’s iconic and people love it,” said Director of Sales Jill Hare.

Those who are only vaguely familiar with the Louis XIII probably know it as the pour you order from a fancy hotel bar on somebody else’s expense account. The cognac is a blend of over 1,200 different eaux-de-vie, or fruit brandy, each aged between 40 and 100 years.

Each decanter, no two of which are exactly the same, is handcrafted from Baccarat crystal and features an 18-carat minimum gold neck. The cork stopper has a small NFC chip integrated to allow owners to connect to the Louis XIII Society.

A one-ounce pour at the hotel bar is $500, Hare said.

Not surprisingly, Chef Dominguez, who has been at the hotel for 13 years, says he’s never cooked with such an expensive ingredient.

“It’s stressful,” he said. Several people carefully packed it back in its display case when he was done using it.

Hare said she knows paying $1,893 for a bowl of soup isn’t for everyone, but she thinks those who can afford it will appreciate the uniqueness of the opportunity.

“We feel like this is a great way for people to have an experience that’s so different, and people are looking for that now,” she said. “Experiences are at the forefront.”

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