In 2013, the British Columbia Provincial Government established two categories of distilleries: commercial and craft. The former can be any size and use anything from anywhere to distill from, but to achieve a craft designation, a BC distillery must produce no more than 50,000 liters (about 13,000 gallons) of spirit each year and must use 100-percent BC agricultural products to produce the alcohol that must be completed onsite.
One of the distilleries leading this charge and definition from Day 1 was and is Sheringham Distillery, which not only uses BC-grown ingredients but sources those from its home of Vancouver Island when possible. Production has followed accordingly, speaking not only to the land in which Sheringham distills on but of its culinary surroundings and influences.
“Our philosophy of production comes from a culinary background — using traditional methods, sourcing the finest ingredients, using ingredients from our own backyard and the discipline of meticulous and methodical production,” says Jason MacIsaac, distiller and co-founder of Sheringham, who was a professional and private chef before going full spirits. “We strive for perfection hardily, all while knowing there is only the idea of perfection and we can only learn and better what we do day by day and have fun along the way.”
One of the ways Sheringham is having fun is with its house-created cocktails, which visitors to the new Sooke location can taste firsthand — or savor the spirits straight. In the Pomegranate Gin Sour, MacIsaac takes a simple recipe for pomegranate grenadine and mixes it up with an egg white and Sheringham’s heavily medaled Seaside gin.
“I wanted to create a cocktail featuring the lovely color and flavor of a pomegranate, while also paying respect to the botanicals’ flavors preexisting in the Seaside gin,” he says. “The floral aspect of the gin — provided by the wild rose petals and the lavender — highlight and pair well with the brightness and acidity of the pomegranate. The earthiness of the juniper berries also plays well with the pomegranate [and] counterbalances the sweetness from the grenadine to create a balanced cocktail.”
Using his cheffing expertise, MacIsaac says his knowledge of ingredient flavors help to create combinations that “gel and heighten their interaction with each other.” (This is also showcased in the many recipes featured on Sheringham’s website.) “A great cocktail should be a perfect marriage of sweetness, sour and umami traits,” he adds.
Get all the traits and create this cocktail at home this flavorsome sour and bright pomegranate that still allow the botanical, BC-crafted gin to shine.
Pomegranate Gin Sour
Makes 1 cocktail
2 ounces Sheringham Seaside Gin
¾ ounce lemon juice
¾ ounce homemade grenadine*
1 egg white
Combine all ingredients and shake well without ice, then add ice and shake until chilled. Strain into a chilled glass and garnish with pomegranate arils.
* To make the homemade grenadine, combine 1 cup pomegranate juice (like POM) with 1 cup sugar and 1 tablespoon of orange zest in a saucepan. Cook over medium heat until the liquid thickens and becomes a syrup consistency. Remove from heat and cool to room temperature before using.