Central City’s newly released Queensborough Gin pays homage to its B.C. roots

As featured in The Alchemist Fall 2016

It’s not often the new kid on the block walks away with a major international award the very week of its launch, but that’s exactly what Surrey-based Central City Brewers and Distillers’ newest offering accomplished earlier this year; their Queensborough Gin garnered a gold medal at the Spirits International Prestige (SIP) Awards.

When it came to developing Queensborough, head distiller Stuart McKinnon was influenced by his Scottish background and looked to Britain. He found inspiration in a London Dry-style recipe rooted in 17th-century England, then added local flare with foraged uniper from the Interior of B.C. and Vancouver Island spruce tips.

“We are fans of brewing and distilling using traditional European methods with centuries of proven success, while balancing this with more modern styles and methods using state of the art equipment and technologies,”  McKinnon notes.

And, just like the homegrown ingredients used in the gin, the name pays homage to all things local — Queensborough is an area within neighbouring New Westminster — as a way to honour that delicate balance of tradition and modernity that this place had in 1859, when it became the first official capital of the new colony of British Columbia.

Besides gin, Central City also produces Seraph Vodka. Historically a seraph, or “burning angel,” has been associated  with light, ardour, and purity. Today, it’s more likely to be linked to some really great cocktails.

From the Canadian barley used in their forthcoming whisky, to the select Rocky Mountain berries enhancing their gin, every ingredient used at Central City has been carefully planned and researched before use in their spirits. Each part of the distilling process is also closely monitored. From finding the best grain, to on-site milling and mashing, to finally distilling, bottling and packaging, Central City embraces the same artisanal spirit it’s always brought to its craft beers.

“At Central City, we have our brewpubs in downtown Vancouver and Surrey, as well as our tasting lounge at the main brewery where people can come try our Queensborough Gin and more,” says McKinnon. “And later this year, we will  be launching our first whisky, which has been aging for years, and is just about ready to pour.”

Try Queensborough Gin in the following cocktails crafted by Christos Kalaitzis, Central City’s Spirits Brand Ambassador & Mixologist:


1 oz. Queensborough Gin

1 teaspoon Sweet Red Vermouth

3 fresh blackberries

Tonic water

Orange zest

In a large wine glass add gin, vermouth and ice, and stir. Top up with tonic water. Garnish with blackberries and orange zest.


1 oz. Queensborough Gin

1 teaspoon Elderflower Cordial

1 teaspoon Dry Vermouth

Hopping Mad Apple Cider

Thin green apple slices

In a large wine glass add gin, cordial, Vermouth and ice, and stir. Top up with Hopping Mad Apple Cider. Garnish with thin green apple slices.

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