My Hip Cocktails: In Sarnia

When the summer was coming to a close, I decided to mettle with cocktails which used beer as mix. With the re-emergence of countless numbers of craft beer, the possibilities are endless. One of my favorite Ontario microbreweries is Refined Fool in Sarnia, so it was a no-brainer to try and construct a beer based refreshment using their Canatara!, a Berliner Weisse named after one of Lambton county’s more well known beaches. With low bitterness and hints of passionfruit, I thought it would be perfect to finish off a beer cocktail.

The song “in Sarnia” was featured on the Hip’s last album…Man Machine Poem. It’s a bit of a haunting tune, especially when you watch Gord bellow out the lyrics during the farewell tour. Rumour has it the song was initially called “Insomnia” and the name was changed much to the delight of inhabitants of the Imperial City.

I tried a few versions of this cocktail using gin and bourbon and surprisingly felt that it worked best with the latter. I used a bit of peach nectar to complement the passion fruit and balanced it with some fresh lemon juice. Unlike most drinks where the mix is meant to compliment the booze, I would say in this case the booze is there to compliment the beer. Don’t get me wrong…a Canatara! on its own is just fine but I think beer-infused cocktails are an underappreciated art…much like Man Machine Poem album itself.

In Sarnia

1 oz of bourbon

0.5 oz peach nectar

0.5 oz lemon juice

Combine ingredients in a glass with ice and mix. Transfer to a highball glass without the ice and top with chilled Refined Fool’s Canatara! beer. Serve with a lemon slice.

You’re in my heart
And in my pocket and in my eye
In my blood
You’re on my mind

In Sarnia, Man Machine Poem- The Tragically Hip.


A Peachy Day

I was notified by a colleague that a friend of hers recently lost her foot to cancer and that a campaign to support her and create was awareness was on.  I was inspired by the website and decided to join the cause. Her name is Beth and her nickname is “Peachy”,  so my daughter and I hit the streets and kitchen with our “Team Peachy” sign.

Stop 1 was Merla Mae in North London.  Among  numerous creations, this iconic ice cream shop has a great peach sundae which we both ordered.

Stop 2 was at Moxie’s to have a famous peach bellini. I know why I don’t drink these normally.  I was a sickly mix of syrup and booze. My daughter laughed hysterically as I tried to down this rather large drink.

   Once we got home, I proceeded to make a meal with a focus on peaches.  The first was to create a peach salsa for cod fish tacos. Here’s the recipe:

Peach Salsa

4 peaches, peeled and chopped

1/2 red pepper, chopped

1/2 cup of chopped onion (sweet or vidalia is best)

1/2-1 jalapeno pepper (depending on preferred level of heat)

2 tbsp of chopped mint (or cilantro if you prefer)

Juice of one lime

salt and pepper to taste

Mix all ingredients and let sit for at least an hour.

With the salsa made, I prepared a grilled cod taco. The fish was marinated in oil, some chili powder, cumin, salt and pepper.  It was grilled on the BBQ  and served with Avacado and the peach salsa.

Dessert was a twist on a peach melba which I aptly named “Peach Beth”. I added fresh mango and mango ice cream instead of vanilla.

Peach Beth

4 peaches, preferably free stone


1/2 cup of sugar

1.5 cups of raspberries, fresh or frozen

1 tbsp of mint (optional)

2 tbsp of sugar or maple syrup

1 fresh mango

Mango or Vanilla ice cream

mint sprigs and fresh rapberries for garnish

waffle bowls (optional)


1.  Place peaches in a saucepan and cover with water. Add 1/2 cup of sugar, bring to a boil and simmer for 8 min. Cool quickly, peel and cut into quarters. Peel and slice the fresh mango.

2.  In another saucepan, add raspberries and sugar or maple syrup and mint (optional).  Bring to a boil and simmer until mixture is uniform.

 3. In a waffle bowl or ice cream bowl, place a scoop of ice cream.  Surround with 3 or 4 peach quarters and 3 slides of mango.  Top with 2 tbsp of sauce and garnish with mint and fresh raspberries.

I wish Beth the best in the future.  I believe food is healing and can send an incredible message to the world.  I’m grateful that I  have a palate, beautiful ingredients available and the ability to prepare/enjoy food on a daily basis.