VALENTINE’S DAY, UNION STYLE

Valentine Cocktail 1

Let’s face it. We all want to treat our special someone to a fabulous Valentine’s Day…but have you looked out the window this week? Portland is in full winter mode, which makes it the perfect time of year to get into some comfy, cozy clothes, cancel all plans and stay in where it’s warm and dry.

But staying home doesn’t mean you have to forgo celebrating everyone’s favorite February holiday. (No offense, George Washington.)
We came up with a sexy cocktail to share with someone special, whether you are reclining in front of a roaring fire or binging on Netflix. It’s a local take on a classic Italian cocktail, combining Campari and white wine. Our Underwood Pinot Gris works great for this, and we decided to add a little sweetness and sparkle to make it a bit more complex.

And, since we all know that no ones Valentine’s Day is complete without a little chocolate, we paired the cocktail with our favorite local chocolate maker, Tony’s Chocolonely. Add some fresh mandarins for extra sweetness and you have a perfect combination, and an impressive little holiday spread.

Valentine Cocktail 1

The Fixed Gear
A Portland take on the classic Italian cocktail La Bicyclette

(makes 2 cocktails)

4 oz Underwood Pinot Gris

3 oz Campari

2 oz Cointreau

Club Soda & Lots of Ice

Combine the first three ingredients in a large glass jar. Add plenty of ice and stir until cold.
Strain into two coupe glasses, top off with a splash of club soda and garnish with a slice of blood orange.

Enjoy with a hearty chunk of Tony’s 32% milk chocolate bar and some fresh Lee mandarins.

 

Photography and Text by David L. Reamer

Van Life: Tips and Tricks

Gypsea life uncovered

Guest written by Laysea Danielle (@gypsealaysea)

Sunsets out our bedroom window, bathing in fresh rivers, and picture perfect destinations. Gypsea life seems like both perfection and intangible. How do I move all of my things into a van? What do I even need? Where do I park, sleep, shower, and dear God where will I poop!? Have no fear, Laysea is here! I have been around the world and back again, and have condensed all of the how to’s and cheat codes to living on the road. Everything you need, and nothing you don’t; because, after all, it’s simplicity we’re after.

Gypsea life uncovered
Gypsea life uncovered
Moving out of a house and into a tiny home might be intimidating at first. Weather you are moving into full-time gypsea mode, or weekend warrior status, selecting the right home is important. I live in a 1983 Volkswagen Westfalia, and my partner lives in his remodeled 4×4 Toyota Chinook, so we each deal with a very different storage situation. The rule of storage all about versatility. I try to only keep items that are multifunctional. Bowls that can be plates, cups that can be for any beverage, one single sauté pan that can double as a soup pot. I like products that are pro van life, requiring no tools, or cups, and are recyclable. (My favorite example is Union wine, canned and perfect for camping). The same goes for clothing, and trust me, it’s not easy. And I’ll be honest, I have WAY too much clothing than anyone who lives in a van should, but hey, I make it work! Organization is how I make it possible. The way you fold and store your clothing should be space oriented, folded down as small as possible, and compact. Allow this shift to be a time to purge and let go of belongings you don’t need. You will quickly find that your comforts are frequent, and the rest will settle and collect dust. I have pulled all of my belongings out of my van and simplified time and time again. Knowing what you will need is something that is learned. Allow yourself time to adjust, and let go, and redefine what you need. Simplifying your space around you will lighten the energy you reside in and clear up space for time to create and explore.
Gypsea life uncoveredGypsea life uncovered

If you are moving into a tiny home full time than this will mean a huge shift for work. Working remotely as I do makes it fun to go to new coffee shops every day, exploring new towns and getting to know the communities. It is also very easy to find jobs on the road, whether it be selling craft items, picking up side jobs from Craig’s list ads, or putting down temporary roots and picking up a part time job can really be a fun way to immerse yourself. With that being said, money will quickly become a much smaller problem than typical life in a city! Say goodbye to rent and other miscellaneous bills that come with residing in a traditional home. Water bills will cease to exist when you fill up your reusable large water storage in fresh rivers and water fill centers. I try to always camp for free by using BLM land and freecampsites.net. Making friends on the road will open up possible driveways to sleep, or if you use Facebook forums for van camping can create opportunities to learn more from fellow travelers or tiny home owners alike. Which brings me to showers!

Gypsea life uncovered

We all lust after the perfect natural shower, romantically bathing in a hot spring or in a fresh water river, but that is not always available. My secret is having a membership to 24 Hour fitness. They have locations all across the country and come included with towel service (nobody likes wet towels taking up van space) and a sauna / steam room so you never have to actually work out if you don’t want to. Most gyms own the parking lot and as it’s a 24 hour business you can camp in the parking lot any time. Waking up and using the bathroom in the gym is not uncommon for me as well. Which brings me to my next and most commonly asked question: where do you use the bathroom!? Waking up and heading directly to a coffee shop is both gastrointestinally beneficial and also helps me start my work day! Campsites have outhouses, and BLM land have wide open spaces (follow Leave No Trace procedures). The biggest problem is when nature calls too quickly or when a bathroom of any kind isn’t available in a city. Now, brace yourself, this is going to get graphic. I have friends who have a bucket they use and clean. I have heard of tools that help women pee into a bottle, and I have man friends who will recommend keeping a large gallon jug for emergencies to urinate. Women: I am an advocate for thick plastic bags that work perfect for an emergency as they can tie up and be thrown away. (24 Hour Fitness has them complimentary for wet clothing at the gym) I’m not into the portable bathroom that you keep in the van, but to each his own!

Living in a van can be extremely challenging at times, and can push you to do things you wouldn’t typically do. Van life has created space for me to grow S O much. I am stronger than I ever thought I could be. I know myself on such a deep level, and I am still deepening that relationship every single day. The amount of struggles I go through are overpowered ten-fold by the magic of gypsea life. My biggest suggestion to anyone making this transition: keep an open mind! Challenges will arise, and plans will fall through. Let go of all expectations, and just live! I could never have predicted or planned the wild twists and turns of gypsea life, and that is what makes it so special. This is no cookie cutter model for traveling, because each experience is so unique. I spell Gypsy ‘gypsea’ because I like to flow like the sea, ebbing and flowing like waves, lapping on the shore of this magical human ride. Make like the sea, and gypsea on.

Gypsea life uncovered Gypsea life uncovered

Photography by Laysea Danielle.

Employee recipe: Pinot Poached Pears

Here at Union Wine Co., we put great emphasis on the individuality of all our employees and try hard to encourage and support their personal interests and goals. Recently, one of the newest members of our sales team, Patrizio Zarate-Zambrano, admitted to being an avid and accomplished home cook.

Patrizio’s original passion was for acting (he even had a role in a Spanish Soap Opera!) but over the years found himself attracted to travel and other pursuits. He has lived all over Europe but was raised in Madrid in a home constantly bustling with friends and relatives. Every holiday, his mother would fill the kitchen with food to entertain their many guests, and one of her staple desserts was red wine poached pears. She would make them every year and it quickly became a highly requested tradition by everyone who visited.

Patrizio has evolved his mother’s recipe to include the Underwood Pinot Noir, because he says the combination of tannins and fruit forward flavor work perfectly to complement the aromatic spices as well as the sweetness the pears.

PINOT POACHED PEARS

Pinot Poached Pears

 

4 Bosc pears. Not overly ripe or too soft.

1 bottle of Underwood Pinot Noir

2 cloves

1 star anise

2 cinnamon stick

2 long strips of orange peel

½ cup of sugar

4 or 5 cardamom pods (optional)

 

Combine all ingredients (except the pears) in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and let simmer for ten minutes.  While simmering, peel the pears, cut in half and hollow out seeds with a melon baller or paring knife.

peel the pears cut in half and hollow out seeds

 

Place the pears into the poaching liquid, reduce heat to low, simmering for about 20 minutes. Try and turn the pears every 5 minutes so that they cook and color evenly.

Pears will be ready when cooked through but still firm.

, simmering for about 20 minutes

Let the pears cool at room temperature and then refrigerate for three hours. During refrigeration time, turn the pears often to ensure an even coating.

Place the pears on serving plates. Put the poaching liquid back on the stove, bring to a boil, and reduce it to a syrupy consistency. Let the liquid cool and strain while gently drizzling the pears. For an even better result, serve with vanilla ice cream, vanilla/whipped mascarpone cheese or cool whip.

PINOT POACHED PEARS

 

Patrizio Zarate-Zambrano brings with him a deep passion for wine and an extensive knowledge of the industry that spans the globe. With family from both Spain and Italy, he has lived all across Europe. Now residing in Cincinnati, although the scenery may have changed, his home is always filled with delicious food and great wine. When he’s not cooking or playing racquetball, he’s out walking with his two beloved rescue dogs.

PATRIZIO ZARATE-ZAMBRANO

Photography by David L. Reamer

Wine Cocktail: Fireside

wine cocktail

With chilly nights and winter sniffles hitting Portland, we ran straight to Brew Dr. Kombucha to create a wine cocktail that’ll cure what ails ya. With a splash of Underwood Pinot Noir and equal parts Bourbon and Booch, this homegrown remedy is best enjoyed in front of a crackling fire (if a fireplace isn’t readily available, the YouTube Yule Log will do). Recipe by Bartender Jon Davidson.

Fireside

1.5 oz Bull Run Straight Bourbon Whiskey

1.5 oz Brew Dr. Kombucha Superberry

.5 oz lemon juice

1 oz black pepper simple syrup

1 oz Underwood Pinot Noir

1 oz Vinn Strawberry Liquor

Build and serve on the rocks. Garnish with a dehydrated lemon wheel.

jon davidson lemon squeeze shake pour

Photography by David L. Reamer

Wine Cocktail: Northwestern Comfort

underwood wine

On a dreary, rainy day in Portland we met up with bartender Jon Davidson to craft a cocktail that is anything but grey. Incorporating some of the best of the Pacific Northwest, and a pop of protein, we like to call this drink, “healthy”.

Northwestern Comfort

1 egg white
.75 oz lemon juice
Dash allspice
Dash cinnamon

Combine all ingredients except for the Pinot Noir in a shaker. Shake and strain into a glass. Layer Pinot Noir on top. Garnish with a pear slice.

  

 

About The Bartender

Jon Davidson, Bite of Oregon Iron Mixologist Champion, hosts a biweekly mixology segment on Portland’s KATU, Channel 2, featuring cocktails he has created during the course of his fourteen-year bartending career. He currently tends bar at Stanford’s in Portland, and on the side he designs cocktail menus for a variety of regional establishments.  Jon favors bold and multifaceted flavors when designing cocktails, and loves to incorporate unexpected ingredients (cumin, anyone?).
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Photography by David L. Reamer