Mocktails and Cocktails with Seedlip

We get it, there comes a time when enough is enough and you just need to take a break from the nightly glass, or can, of wine. While we all enjoy the culture around drinking, it’s nice to give your body a little bit of a reset. For those of us who are participating in “Dry January,” you might still be craving a fun cocktail or the taste of Pinot or Gin. That’s why we are excited about Seedlip, a brand we discovered based out of England. They make distilled non-alcoholic spirits. We used 2 of their offerings: Garden with fresh herbal notes and Spice being aromatic with notes of citrus and cardamom.

Seedlip

Their tagline is “What to drink when you’re not drinking.” But we think the question can also sometimes be “what to do when you’re not drinking.” Drinking is such a large part of our culture, especially when it comes to spending time with people. Enjoying a glass of wine at a dinner party, checking out the newest happy hour with your BFF, geeking out over the beers at a new brewery and all holidays! When you’re not drinking for a period of time, what do you do with your friends—go out for coffee instead? With Seedlip you can still have evening hangs with your pals. Bring out the games and feel fancy with a garnished cocktail—just use Seedlip as a substitute for the hard stuff.

While we love the simple mocktails that can be made with Seedlip, we also love our wine cocktails. If you are taking a drinking break, you may have a friend who isn’t, so we made mocktails and cocktails with each Seedlip offering. Enjoy and don’t worry, there are only 2 weeks until February.

Union Wine Co Seedlip Mocktail

Spice Panoma Mocktail (Recipe from Seedlip’s website) 

2oz Seedlip Spice
1oz Fresh Grapefruit Juice
½ oz Fresh Lime Juice
½ oz Simple Syrup
1 bottle Fever-Tree Soda Water 

Juice half a grapefruit and half of a lime. Mix citrus, simple syrup and Seedlip Spice together in a highball glass. Add ice and top with soda water. Stir until combined.  

Underwood Pinot Noir Seedlip Cocktail

Spice, Soda and Pinot Cocktail 

2oz Seedlip Spice
1 bottle Fever-Tree Soda Water
2-3oz Underwood Pinot Noir  

Add ice, Seedlip Spice and soda water to a highball glass. Stir and top with Pinot Noir. Either stir again or let the wine slowly drip to the bottom of the glass.  

Underwood Pinot Noir Seedlip Cocktail


Seedlip Garden Mocktail

Garden and Tonic Mocktail 

2oz Seedlip Garden 
1 bottle Fever-Tree Tonic Water 

Pour 2oz of Seedlip Garden into a highball glass, top with Fever tree tonic water and stir.  

Seedlip Garden Underwood Bubbles Cocktail

Garden and Bubbles Cocktail 

2oz Seedlip Garden 
1 can Underwood Bubbles  

Pour 2oz of Seedlip Garden into a highball glass, top with Underwood Bubbles, stir and enjoy! 

Here’s to a Healthier New Year: Two ways to cook with wine

January is definitely a time of reflection and revision, a chance to clear out all the excesses that seem to pile up during the holiday months. Gym memberships are on the rise and most people are looking for ways to cut calories and just generally start this year healthier than they ended the last one.
 
Lots of people even (gasp) take a hiatus from drinking. Now, you might think that being winemakers we would hold this practice anathema, but on the contrary, here at Union we support that 100%. A little break is always a good thing to realign mind, spirit and body. And if this includes a short sojourn into teetotaling, then have at it. But we would be remiss if we didn’t mention there are many other, specifically culinary uses for our wines that will help you stick to your resolutions by making your healthy choices that much more delicious.
 
This week we present two recipes that each employ the use of our Underwood Pinot Noir. The first is an arugula salad with red wine vinaigrette; the second is oven-roasted lentils with red wine and winter vegetables. Both recipes are well rounded, healthy options to bolster your January resolutions.

Arugula Salad with roasted hazelnuts, quinoa, dried apricots, ricotta salata and a red wine vinaigrette 

For the salad, you will need:
1 large bunch of Arugula
1 C roasted hazelnuts
1 C cooked quinoa
1/2 C quality dried apricots
1/2 C ricotta salata cheese (or other crumbly salty cheese)
For the vinaigrette, you will need:
6 oz olive oil
2 oz red wine vinegar
2 oz Underwood Pinot Noir
juice of half a lemon
1/4 of a shallot, peeled and diced
1/2 t white sugar
salt and pepper

Kitchen Tip: How to skin hazelnuts

In most supermarket bulk sections, you can buy raw hazelnuts. These come with the skin on them. It’s okay to eat the skin, but much more delicious if most is removed. There is a very simple way to do this. First, roast the hazelnuts in a pan at 350 degrees until they just begin to darken. Let them cool slightly and then, in batches, place the nuts in a rough kitchen towel, vigorously rubbing to remove the skins. Pick out the skinned ones and repeat with all nuts until they are mostly skin free. (Some skin will always remain no matter how diligently you do this.)

Making the vinaigrette

Simply combine all the ingredients in a measuring cup and then transfer to a glass jar for storage. Since there are no eggs or dairy in the vinaigrette, it will stay good for a long time. You can store this in the refrigerator or the pantry. Shake well before using.

To finish the dish, dress the arugula in a bowl with the vinaigrette and then add all the other ingredients. And Voila!

Next up….

Oven Roasted Lentils with red wine, thyme and winter vegetables

For the uninitiated, lentils are in the legume family and come in three main color types, black, green and red. I recommend the green for this dish because I find them to be the most hearty. You can boil lentils,  but roasting them in the oven gives them a much richer flavor. (I was personally not a fan of lentils until I discovered this method.)

For this recipe, you will need:
1 C dried green lentils
4 C water
1 C Underwood Pinot Noir
4 sprigs fresh thyme
3 medium carrots—cut into chunks
1 large shallot—thinly sliced
2 medium parsnips
1/2 bunch of hearty kale
olive oil
salt & pepper

STEP ONE:

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. In a metal or ceramic roasting dish, place the lentils, sliced shallot, carrot chunks, and fresh thyme. Drizzle liberally with olive oil, salt and pepper. Place in the oven and roast uncovered for about 25 minutes, stirring every 5-10 minutes.

STEP TWO:
 
While you are roasting the lentils, sauté the parsnips and kale on high heat. You want some color on the parsnips, but do not cook them all the way thru.

STEP THREE:
Remove the pan from the oven. Add roughly 1 cup of the wine and return to the oven, still uncovered. Cook for about 15 minutes or until the wine begins to reduce. Then add the water and cover with tin foil. Cook for about 40 minutes.

STEP FOUR:
Remove the tin foil, add the parsnips and kale and return the dish to the oven, cooking uncovered for another 20 minutes or until lentils are tender but not mushy. Add more water if necessary. Remove the thyme, season to taste with salt and pepper and serve.

Bon Appétit!

Photography, Text and Recipes by David L. Reamer. (@dlreamer)

A Healthy Start to the New Year: Making your own Kombucha

Homemade kombucha

In many ways, 2019 was a challenging year. (I think you know what I mean…) Well, we can’t control everything, but what we can do is look inward and start the new year with some healthy routines to keep the mind and body feeling great. The time for New Year’s resolutions is here again.

I can honestly say that just a few years ago I had never even heard of kombucha, but now it is a huge part of my diet and life. For the uninitiated, kombucha is simply a deliciously funky beverage made by fermenting sugar and tea with a SCOBY (Symbiotic Culture of Bacteria and Yeast). This process creates living probiotic bacteria that are wonderful for digestion and all around general health.

When I looked into making kombucha at home, I couldn’t believe how easy and inexpensive it was. I did several test runs and came up with a recipe that is delicious and consistent, but I encourage you to adjust the ingredients as you see fit for a sweeter, more sour or less carbonated finished product.
The first step in making kombucha is to make a healthy SCOBY. This will become the soul and backbone of your kombucha. (I named mine Scoby-Wan Kanobi.) This process is similar to the actual making of kombucha but must be done first. Here’s what you will need:

MAKING A STRONG SCOBY

A One Gallon Glass Jar
Cheesecloth or Paper Coffee Filters
4 C store bought unflavored kombucha*
2 T tea*
1/2 C regular granulated white sugar
1 Quart tap water

*For this, I recommend two local shops right across the street from each other on SE Belmont Street. First head over to the Soma Kombucha Taproom to pick up your unflavored kombucha. Feel free to bring your own Mason Jars. Then head across the street to The Tao of Tea to pick up the loose tea you need. I experimented with many teas but found the Malty Assan always seemed to work the best.

Homemade kombucha

Place the water, tea, and sugar in a large pot. Bring the water to a boil. Stir to dissolve all the sugar. Turn off the heat and let the tea steep for 15 minutes. Strain the liquid into the gallon jar. When cooled to room temperature, add the unflavored kombucha and cover with the cheesecloth or coffee filter- secured with a rubber band. Wait about 3-4 weeks and you should have a fully formed Scoby. I’m not gonna lie. Scobies are pretty gross, but they are firm and resilient to handling.

It is said they have a tendency to mold- at which point you would need to throw it away and start over- but I have been making kombucha for a year and have yet to encounter any mold. If you are worried, there are many visual examples you can find online.

Believe it or not, this is what a fully formed healthy Scoby looks like:

Homemade kombucha

Now that you have your Scoby, it’s time to make the Kombucha. It’s a very similar process using all the same ingredients, just with different proportions. In general, this first batch is too acidic to drink, but keep 2 C of the liquid for making your kombucha. (You will do this every time you set up a new batch.)

HOMEMADE KOMBUCHA RECIPE

12 C water
1 and 1/4 C granulated white sugar
1/4 C loose tea leaves
2 C of the liquid from your Scoby process

Just like before, place the water, tea, and sugar in a large pot. Bring the water to a boil. Stir to dissolve all the sugar. Turn off the heat and let the tea steep for 15 minutes. Strain the liquid into the gallon jar. When cooled to room temperature, add the unflavored kombucha and the Scoby and cover with the cheesecloth or coffee filter- secured with a rubber band.

Homemade kombucha

You can keep your kombucha at any temperature but remember that the colder it is, the longer the process takes. You can let the kombucha ferment anywhere from 1 week to a month. Since I keep mine at a colder temperature, I usually wait the full month before doing the second fermentation. This is done to add a specific flavor to the kombucha. There are myriad flavor choices for this step and I encourage you to try a few. For this project, I chose ginger and mint as my flavors.

*VERY IMPORTANT SIDE NOTE

When your kombucha is ready, you must put it into sealable bottles for the second flavoring fermentation. I STRONGLY recommend getting 6-8 Grolsch Beers. Drink the beers (duh!) and then use those bottles. I have had several bottles explode from the pressure built up during the second fermentation, but I have NEVER had a Grolsch bottle fail me.

Homemade kombucha

Whatever flavor you choose, pour your kombucha evenly among the bottles, leaving some room for the extra ingredients. Add the juice, ginger, herbs, etc. and then allow these to sit for about a week before drinking. It is perfectly acceptable to open the bottles every 2-3 days to let a little pressure off. This will not detract from the final effervescence.

One gallon usually makes about 6 Grolsch bottles worth.

Homemade kombucha

Homemade kombucha

I know that this was a practice in healthy starts, but let’s face it, we are a wine company, so we couldn’t end the post without coming up with a simple cocktail to show off your new creation. So here for your drinking pleasure, I present:

AFTERPARTY AT THE CO-OP

2 oz ginger mint kombucha
1.5 oz Underwood Pinot Gris
.5 oz Giffard Caribbean Pineapple Liqueur

Measure all ingredients into a shaker, fill with ice, shake heavily and strain into a glass. Enjoy!

Homemade kombucha cocktail

I hope this post will inspire you to try your own kombucha. It’s cheap, easy and fun for the whole family.

Happy New Year and keep those #pinkiesdown.

Photography, Text and Recipes by David L. Reamer.  (@dlreamer)

Make it a Mimosa Morning: Variations on a Classic Cocktail

Union Wine Co Underwood Mimosas

The holiday season is upon us once again. There is shopping to be done, parties to attend, relatives to host. And best of all, if all goes well, there will be a few mornings to sleep in and then start the day right… with some friends, a lazy brunch and a light cocktail.

That makes it a perfect time for mimosas. Generally made with orange juice and sparkling wine, we thought we would give you a few other options to spice up your brunch, impress your guests and make some deliciously unexpected mimosa combinations. Best to stock up on a few extra bottles of Underwood Bubbles. Once these mimosas start flowing, you don’t want to run out of sparkles to keep the party going.

First up, a simple but classic combination, Bubbles with Chambord, a raspberry liqueur from the Loire valley in France. Garnish this classic combination with some fresh raspberries for a little extra jazz in your glass.

Chambord Mimosa

5 oz Underwood Bubbles
1 oz Chambord
Fresh Raspberries for garnish

Union Wine Co Underwood Mimosas

Next up, we recently discovered an amazing locally made ginger syrup from Portland Syrups. They brew their syrup with “mountains of fresh ginger root… and add Japanese chilies for an authentic, slightly hot finish.”

You can add this to plain soda water to make a refreshing ginger ale, but we found it also went great in a mimosa with some fresh rosemary as a fragrant garnish.

Ginger Mimosa

5 oz Underwood Bubbles
.5 oz Portland Syrups Ginger Syrup
Fresh Rosemary for garnish

Union Wine Co Underwood Mimosas

Their season is very short, but right now most markets are selling fresh blood oranges. If you’ve never indulged, we can’t recommend these enough. True to their name, this sweetly sanguine citrus is as colorful as it is delicious. It makes for a simple but beautiful addition to your mimosa arsenal.

Blood Orange Mimosa

5 oz Underwood Bubbles
Juice from one blood orange

Underwood Mimosas

For our final concoction, we decided to try some yuzu syrup. Made from the Japanese yuzu fruit, it is like a blend of lemon and grapefruit with just a touch of salt. When we were making this drink, we decided it needed a little more sweetness to balance out the cocktail, so we juiced a clementine as well. We recommend going easy on the yuzu syrup… it can be pretty intense!

Yuzu and Clementine Mimosa

5 oz Underwood Bubbles
1/4 oz Yuzu Syrup
Juice of 1 Clementine

Underwood Mimosas

Hopefully, this gives you a few new and interesting options for entertaining this holiday season. Whatever flavor strikes your fancy, we hope you have the opportunity to share a late morning brunch and cocktails with your friends and family.

Underwood Mimosas

Bon Appétit and #pinkiesdown!

**********

Photography, Text and Recipe by David L. Reamer.  (@dlreamer)

New Traditions: Christmas Tree Hunting in Mt. Hood National Forest

Mt. Hood is an icon of Portland and the Willamette Valley. The mountain that sits at 11,250 feet in elevation can be seen from numerous parts of the valley. Whether you are stuck on I-5 traffic, on a leisurely drive in the gorge or hiking up in forest park, Mt. Hood peaks through on clear days.

Union Wine Co Christmas Tree Hunt

The Mt. Hood National Forest, which stretches around 1,067,000 acres around the base of the mountain, is a treasured playground that we Oregonians try to take advantage of all year round. Summer activities include camping, swimming at the many lakes and rivers and going on long warm hikes. In the winter there is snowshoeing and skiing, and for those looking for the perfectly unperfect tree, Christmas tree hunting.  

Union Wine Co Christmas Tree Hunt

For some of us who have grown up in the Pacific Northwest, a holiday tradition has been to go out into the woods to find your tree rather than heading to the local tree farm or tree lot.   

Union Wine Co Christmas Tree Hunt

Union Wine Co Christmas Tree Hunt

Union Wine Co Christmas Tree Hunt

We believe the holidays are about spending time with friends and family. So, this year we are sharing new traditions with friends and their young families.  

If you haven’t gotten a tree already, we suggest switching things up this year and start a new tradition. When the weather is just right, it’s a perfect day to get some fresh air and create new memories for your family that will hopefully be passed down for generations. Don’t forget the sled, a few cans of Underwood Bubbles for mom and dad and your $5 permit for the tree. Cheers!

Union Wine Co Christmas Tree Hunt