Hey! Big Spender

Does a blank cheque guarantee a better cocktail?

An ounce of Remy Martin Louis XIII Black Pearl Cognac will cost you $800 at Hawksworth. Lou Lou Childs photo

When the Hôtel Ritz Paris’s legendary barman Colin Field introduced the $1,700 Ritz Sidecar in 2001, it was considered the most expensive cocktail in the world. Since then, a multitude of bartenders have created their own lavishly priced drinks made with everything from truffles, gold dust and precious gems, to vintage spirits recovered from famous shipwrecks.

But are these ultra-premium cocktails worth their ultra-premium prices? Well, it depends — and not just on how much credit you have left on your flexible friend.

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A matter of taste

At Sheringham Distillery, Jason MacIsaac brings a chef’s palate to the still

David McIlvride photo

Twenty-three years in kitchens taught Jason MacIsaac all about balance. Bitter versus sweet, savoury versus salty, weight versus intensity—key principles in creating harmonious foods. Now, as founder, owner, operator, distiller and, along with his wife Alayne, every other possible role at Vancouver Island’s Sheringham Distillery, MacIssac has transposed those culinary skills to the still.

“As a chef, studying flavour profiles was my career,” he reflects. “Balancing flavours has been a passion. Every chef can start with the same ingredients but have vastly different outcomes. The same goes for distilling.”

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