Ben's Beer Blog

A place for all things beer.


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What to Drink This Week: The French 75 (aka The Southampton)

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This installment of “What to Drink This Week” features a drink that for me is a summer time staple. It’s supposed to feel like close to 30 degrees today, and I’m sure that won’t last, so why not try to squeeze out a little more summer with a cocktail today before we all hunker down for the winter with dark beer, brown liquor, and German erotica….er, just me?

Anyway, this is a summer drink I thought I invented–but most certainly didn’t.

The beverage is technically the French 75, though my version is modified slightly and rechristened The Southampton. 

Both beverages are a ridiculously potent mix of champagne or proseco and gin.

The French 75 was so named because the act of having a few is not unlike the feeling of being assaulted by the French 75mm light field gun, arguably the first piece of modern artillery, capable of  delivering 15 rounds-per-minute (which was not bad when facing an enemy with bolt-action rifles in 1897). Continue reading


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You Should Already Be Drinking: Forty Creek Whisky

*I received financial compensation for this post. 

I‘ve never been all that interested in Canadian Whisky.

It’s sort of a shameful secret of mine given that I’m clearly an enthusiast of alcohol and also fiercely (some might say stupidly) local when it comes to my beer consumption. But the Canadian stuff has never really done much for me. Perhaps it goes back to my days of drinking excessive quantities of Canadian Club before high school dances, but I’ve always found rye, and by association, Canadian whiskies just too sweet and more often than not, I’ve opted for Canadian whisky’s decidedly more established cousin from Scotland.

Thankfully though, I was recently invited to attend a whisky tasting led by Forty Creek’s own master distiller John Hall, and I got a bit of an eye opener: Canadian whisky can taste pretty good. Continue reading


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You Should Already Be Drinking: Tequila Tromba

As is probably obvious from previous posts here and from my role in creating the Ontario Brewmaster’s Cup, I tend to try to support local businesses when it comes to my consumption of alcohol. This is getting increasingly easy thanks to the recent surge in amazing  Ontario craft brewers and, thanks to smaller distillers like Still Waters and 66 Gilead, is become a little easier when it comes to some spirits.

I like to drink and when I do I like knowing that the (considerable amount of) money I spend on alcohol is going toward helping a smaller, local business. I know, I’m weird like that. Continue reading


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What to Drink This Week: The Pimm’s Cup

If you’re anything like me,  you’re likely also frequently trying to find ways to justify your alcoholism by pairing seemingly mundane occasions with appropriate drinks, thereby making the event much more fun; for example mint juleps for the Kentucky Derby,  Old Fashioneds for the season premier of Mad Men, Scotch when you’re ironing, etc.

And now that we’re smack dab in the middle of Wimbledon, you, like me, are probably wondering what’s an appropriate drink to consume at 8am on Friday when Djokovic and Federer face off in the men’s semi-finals, right?

Yes, you were totally wondering that. Continue reading


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Beer? Cocktails? Liquor? Problem solved.

There’s been a lot of debate lately in the world of Toronto alcohol enthusiasts over the merit of cocktails.

Toronto lifestyle publications like the Grid and blogTO seem to have amped up their cocktail coverage, and stories abound in the dailies about the complex new places that mixology is taking Toronto’s drinkers.

The mixed-libation trend seems even to have spilled over (pun!) into the world of beer.

Beer cocktails seem to have reached a new level of prominence and you can even find beer cocktail recipes from certified cicerone, beerologist, and blogger, Mirella Amato in the current issue of the LCBO’s Food and Drink magazine.

[Semi-related sidenote: Back in March the beer cocktail debate really began to rage (as much as online writing about beer can rage…) when Andy Crouch, author of BeerScribe.com called for “Death to Beer Cocktails.”

Ezra Johnson-Greenough, founder of The New School craft beer commentary blog then responded with a somewhat-less-than-subtly-titled “Andy Crouch is a Big Fat Idiot” and various other beer bloggers joined the fray on both sides.

The fracas ultimately culminated in Toronto’s own Stephen Beaumont calling for cooler heads to prevail by noting the “Futility of Either/Or Thinking.”]

In short, things seem to be getting pretty crazy in the world of Toronto libations in general and, as Christine Sismondo summed up in an excellent HuffPo article this week about how exactly we got here, the “mixology” craziness has even reached a point where “today’s professional craft cocktail makers create syrups from scratch and hand-carve ice to achieve specific levels of coldness suited to the level of dilution required.”

Uh, alright then.

Toronto bartenders, it seems, are going to great and weird lengths to one-up each other with the most original concotions and some of them seem to bringing all the annoyingly pretentious aspects of foodie-ism to my favourite past-time; namely, getting drunk.

Continue reading