Sparkling Pink Pimm’s Cup

Underwood Pimms Cup

One of my favorite simple spring cocktails is the Pimm’s Cup. I think I had my first one in New Orleans, but since then I have ordered them at cocktail bars all around the country. Unlike many classic cocktails, there isn’t a tried and true unwavering recipe for the drink. I have had them made as simply as combining Pimm’s with ginger ale or lemonade, but probably the best Pimm’s Cup I can remember was at Anvil Bar & Refuge in Houston, Texas. It was so good, I actually asked if they would share the recipe. To be honest, I wasn’t expecting much, but they were so gracious that they immediately printed out a full copy of their recipe which included gin, club soda and muddled cucumber.

So, when I was recently tasked with creating a new cocktail using the Underwood Rosé Bubbles, I wanted to create my own interesting take on the classic cocktail. I decided to steal a little bit from the Anvil recipe but expand it in other ways. Pimm’s is a great addition to any at-home liquor cabinet, and you can have a lot of fun with this version or with inventing your own variations. The Rosé Bubbles adds the much-needed bubbles in place of the club soda or ginger ale.

Underwood Rose Bubbles

This recipe makes 2 drinks…’cause who wants to drink alone?

Sparkling Pink Pimm’s Cup

6 oz Underwood Rosé Bubbles
2 oz gin (we’ve been loving the locally made Rose City Gin)
1.5 oz Pimms’s No.1
2 oz Grenadine syrup
1.5 oz fresh-squeezed lemon juice
2 inch chunk of cucumber roughly chopped
10-12 fresh mint leaves
2 straws, (preferably not made of plastic!)

*****

STEP ONE:

Put the cucumber and mint in a medium to a large shaker and muddle well.

STEP TWO:

Add the gin, Pimm’s, Grenadine syrup, and lemon juice to the shaker and gently muddle. Add 1-2 cups of ice and shake well.

STEP THREE:

Fill two tall glasses with ice and paper straws. Put 2 oz. Rosé Bubbles in each glass.

Underwood Rose Bubbles

STEP FOUR:

Using a cocktail strainer (or small fine mesh colander) divide the liquid in the shaker between the two glasses.

STEP FIVE:

Top off each drink with another ounce or so of the Rosé Bubbles. (This is where the straw comes in very handy. It, more or less, allows the drink to mix as it’s consumed.) You can garnish with extra mint or cucumber if that’s your jam, but I’ve never been one for unnecessary garnishes. I do strongly recommend serving the drinks with a side of cucumber slices with lemon and kosher salt for an extra little treat.

We hope this will brighten up your spring afternoons and impress your friends.

Cheers and keep those #pinkiesdown.

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

BBQ How To: Radler Brined Spareribs with Citrus Slaw

Underwood Riesling Radler Spareribs

Who doesn’t love ribs?  They’re the greatest picnic accouterment: they can be enjoyed warm, room temperature or cold and you can have one or five or ten and nobody is gonna look at you sideways. For the uninitiated, making homemade ribs is easier than you think, once you learn a few basic rules. Now that the weather is finally turning and grills are being pulled out and dusted off, we figured we would give you a solid tutorial so that you can add ribs to your growing “Social Distancing Lexicon” of recipes and techniques.

We decided to create a brine that uses a can of our Riesling Radler for sweetness instead of sugar to add even more flavor and complexity to the meat. We also figured we would provide a recipe for a Citrus Slaw that really compliments the tang of the BBQ sauce and the bubbly tartness of the Radler.

So let’s take this step by step.

STEP ONE:

The first thing you want to do is remove the membrane from the bottom of the rack of ribs. Many butchers (such as the fine gentlemen at Sheridan Fruit Co. will do this for you) but in case your rack still has the membrane, it is as simple as getting a thin knife under the membrane on the small side of the rack and then just gently pulling with your hand.

Union Wine Co Spareribs

STEP TWO:

At this point, you could simply season the meat with salt and pepper and bake it, but what fun would that be?  There are myriad ways to tenderize the meat and give the ribs a more complex flavor. Some people prefer a dry rub, but we have always found that if you are going to use BBQ sauce—which we are—that a dry rub can be very intense and often times fight with the flavors of the sauce.

That is why we prefer brine. A cursory google search will provide you with many different techniques, but here is ours.

SPARERIB BRINE

3-4 T large flake sea salt
1/4 C cider vinegar
1 can of Underwood Riesling Radler

 We first double up a clean non-scented garbage bag as we find this is the best way to evenly soak the meat.  (We double bag it just in case there are any rips or tears.)

We then rub the meat down generously with the large flake sea salt, such as that made locally by Jacobsen Salt Company. Standard Kosher salt can be used as well. We then place the rack into the bags and add the cider vinegar and a full can of Riesling Radler. Securely tie off the bags and let sit in the fridge for 2-4 hours. We don’t recommend letting the rack sit overnight in the brine, as we have found long exposure to the salt and vinegar can often make the meat mushy, but we suggest trying different amounts of time to see what suits your taste best. Often sugar or honey is used in brine to balance the salt, but we felt the Radler did a perfect job.

Underwood Riesling Radler

STEP THREE:

Remove the rack from the brine, pat dry with a paper towel and then bake the rack for 3 hours at 275 degrees. This is a crucial step, as you cannot just throw the rack onto the grill, so make sure to factor in the appropriate time for this. When the meat is knife tender, let the rack cool. It can then be tightly wrapped and stored in the fridge for a day or two until ready to grill.

Union Wine Co Spareribs

There are many great recipes for making your own BBQ sauce, ranging from the quite simple to the very involved, and we encourage you to try any and all of these. But for our money, we absolutely love the locally made Podnahs’s Sauce. This can be found in just about any local market- and what better time to help support a local restaurant? All of the Podnah’s sauces are delicious, but we felt the thick tang of their standard sauce would work best with the Radler and the Coleslaw.

Union Wine Co Spareribs

Now it’s time to fire up the grill. But before you get too excited about slathering your rack with sauce, we recommend you lightly grill each side pre-sauce. This helps give the meat a little extra texture before the sauce starts to dry and caramelize.

Union Wine Co Spareribs

Now you can take a pastry brush or firm spatula, and coat the rack with sauce. We recommend getting the grill quite hot and using some spray oil so your ribs don’t stick. Go light with the sauce at first, you can always add more as you go.

Keep turning the ribs frequently so they get a nice color without burning.

Union Wine Co Spareribs

Once the ribs are fully cooked, set them aside to make your coleslaw.

Union Wine Co Spareribs

CITRUS SLAW

1 1/2 C mayonnaise
2 T cider vinegar
1/2 t salt
1 T simple syrup
Zest of half a lime, half a lemon, & half a blood orange
Juice of half a lime, half a lemon, & one full blood orange
3 Qts of shredded green and purple cabbage and carrot
1/2 red onion, thinly sliced

Union Wine Co Spareribs
Union Wine Co Spareribs

STEP ONE:

Combine the top 6 ingredients in a bowl. Whisk until combined and set aside. This may make extra dressing, but that’s never a bad thing.

STEP TWO:

With a mandolin or sharp knife, shred the green cabbage, purple cabbage, and the carrot. Slice the red onion and mix together. Adding a 1/4 C at a time, pour the sauce over the cabbage mixture and mix well, making sure not to overdress so it doesn’t get too wet and mushy. Adjust for seasoning with extra salt and pepper if necessary.

Underwood Riesling Radler Spareribs

Finally, when ready to serve, warm the ribs in the oven and add a fresh layer of sauce. Crack a few ice-cold cans of the Riesling Radler and you and your family are ready to roll. We will often serve this with baked beans and/or cornbread on the side as well. Just an option.

Bon Appétit and keep those #pinkiesdown.

Union Wine Co Spareribs

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

The Mei Wine Colada: A great cocktail for a great cause

Mei Wine Cocktail

A few years ago, Union Wine Company Owner and Paterfamilias Ryan Harms sat down with one of his favorite chefs, Mei Lin, and together they set out to collaborate on a wine cooler that employed the approachability of Union’s wine (#pinkiesdown) while evoking all of the flavors that Mei Lin grew up with and currently uses in her recipes.

A little background… Mei Lin was awarded Bravo TV’s Top Chef in Season 12 and honored as one of Eater’s Young Guns in 2014. Since then, she has gone on to open her own restaurant, Nightshade, in Los Angeles. Like most of the restaurants around the country, Nightshade was forced to temporarily close during the pandemic. Currently, the only places to buy Mei Lin’s wine are at her restaurant or through the Union Wine Co. website. In a show of support, not just for Mei, but for all of her employees, Union has decided that through the end of June they will donate 100% of the profits from the sale of her wine to the staff of the restaurant.

So what are you waiting for? How about a delicious cocktail using Mei Wine—as if drinking it alone wasn’t amazing enough! To support this cause and encourage you to order some cans of her wine here, we created a Piña Colada style cocktail that highlights the tropical cooler vibe of Mei Lin’s wine.

As an added bonus, we are going to give you a step-by-step on how to quickly and painlessly skin a whole pineapple for use as a garnish. So without further ado, we present…

Mei Wine Cocktail

The Mei Wine Colada with Charred Pineapple

Here’s what you will need to make 2 drinks:

6 oz or 1/2 can Mei Wine
3 oz Coco Lopez Coconut Cream (the Best!)
2 oz fresh-squeezed lime juice
2 oz white rum (we recommend Cruzan Aged White Rum)
1 C crushed ice
1 pineapple

Mei Wine Cocktail

Measure all the ingredients into a large shaker. Since you will be using crushed ice, we recommend chilling the shaker, the glasses, and the liquid beforehand so that as little of the ice melts as possible.

Mei Wine Cocktail

There are many great rums on the market these days. We really like Cruzan for this recipe because it is not only affordable but has a very balanced flavor that will not overpower the Mei Wine.

Mei Wine Cocktail

But of course, let’s not forget the star of the show, Mei Wine.

Mei Wine Cocktail

For a garnish that is not only delicious but will impress your drinking companions, we recommend charred fresh pineapple. We realize that many people are not familiar with how easy it is to prepare a fresh pineapple, so we decided to present a quick tutorial.

STEP ONE:

Cut the top and bottom off of the pineapple and discard.

Mei Wine Cocktail

STEP TWO:

Now that the pineapple has a flat edge to sit on, use a large kitchen knife to cut around the sides of the pineapple, following the natural curve and trying to remove as little of the flesh as possible.

Mei Wine Cocktail

STEP THREE:

Once you have gone all the way around the fruit, you can slice rings or cut chunks from each side, discarding the woody center.

Mei Wine Cocktail

You can char your pineapple on the grill or over the flame of a gas stove. Cut the charred pineapple into pieces and skewer them for garnish on the drink. This can be done ahead of time and kept in the refrigerator until ready to serve.

Finally, put all liquid ingredients and the crushed ice into the chilled shaker. Shake vigorously and then divide equally between two glasses. Garnish with the charred pineapple and Enjoy!

Mei Wine Cocktail

Please consider ordering some Mei Wine before the end of June and help us help Mei’s restaurant staff. You’ll have the chance to create an amazing cocktail in the process!

Cheers and #pinkiesdown.

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

Shelter in Place Projects: Amazing Homemade Dog Treats

Dog Treats
Meet Oliver, my bestest buddy and definitely my savior during these safe, but oh-so-boring, times. Let’s face it, most of us have already binged Tiger King and McMillions (spoiler alert—neither one lives up to the hype.) We’ve been reading, doing puzzles, cooking and finding a myriad of ways to stay safe but also stay busy.
Dog
One of my escapes from the house (while still maintaining social distancing) is to take Oliver to the dog park. We both get some fresh air and also get to stretch our legs. These dog park trips have really been keeping me sane, so I felt it was only fair to do something nice in return for his companionship. (Not to mention, a lot of the local pet stores are running low on essentials and getting dog treats is becoming more difficult.)
So I figured, why not do a little research and come up with a simple but healthy homemade dog treat that we can both feel good about. The recipe has only 5 ingredients, is incredibly easy to make, and I swear your dog will go absolutely bonkers for them.
Dog Treats
How cool do those look??!
Here’s all you will need:
Dog Treats
Delicious Dog Treats
 
2 eggs
1/2 C canned pumpkin puree
1/4 C healthy peanut butter
1 cube of beef bouillon 
1/2 C water
2-3 C whole wheat flour (as usual, we recommend Bob’s Red Mill)
 
A few notes before we begin:
Let’s just be honest here…everyone has a can of pumpkin puree in their pantry leftover from thanksgiving. This is a great way to use it up.
Beef bouillon cubes are usually dissolved in 1 C of water. I only use half a cup to concentrate the flavor. You can leave this ingredient out entirely, but I promise your dog will love you if you keep it in the recipe.
As I will further explain, the flour will vary as per how wet the other ingredients are.
Most people will have whole wheat flour that they had to buy for some random recipe and never used again—so check the back of your baking shelf before going to buy more.
Dog Treats

 
STEP ONE
 
Crack a can of Underwood Pinot Noir. (This is solely for consumption, not the recipe.) Then, preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Dissolve one bouillon cube in 1/2 C of water and set aside to cool.
STEP TWO
 
Once bouillon liquid is cool, put eggs, pumpkin puree, peanut butter, and bullion liquid into a mixing bowl with the paddle attachment and blend well.
STEP THREE
 
While running mixer, slowly add flour, 1/2 C at a time until the dough comes together and is no longer sticky.  When I did it, it took about 2 1/4 C of flour but this may vary. Remove the dough, place on a large work surface dusted with flour and kneed for 2-3 minutes.

 

Dog Treats
Puppy Interlude….
Here is an unnecessary but ridiculously cute picture of Oliver (and his sister Pretty Penny) just to keep you entertained.
 
Dog Treats
 
Dog Treats
STEP FOUR
 
Roll out the dough to your desired thickness (I went with a 1/4” because they tend to puff up in cooking.) Use a cookie cutter or just cut small squares—I promise your dog won’t know the difference—and place on a baking sheet with either a silpat pan liner or parchment paper. Bake for 20-30 minutes, rotating the sheet pans every 7-8 minutes for even baking.
The extra dough can be reshaped and used for a second and third batch.
Dog Treats
Let the treats cool and keep in a dry place for up to a month.
Dog Treats
Believe me, you will have one happy puppy, not to mention an incredibly productive afternoon!
Enjoy and remember to keep those #pinkiesdown.
Dog Treats
Dog Treats
Photography, Recipe and Text by David L. Reamer. (@dlreamer)

Virtual Happy Hour: The Newest Way to Stay Connected

Salty Dog Cocktail

In these crazy times of social distancing and isolation, it’s as important as ever to stay connected any way you can. Thus, the advent of the virtual happy hour. This is the newest trend that has caught on not just between family and friends, but workmates as well. Now, happy hour used to be a firm 5 PM, but with co-workers and family often times being all around the country, that rule has had to loosen up a bit. If we choose to join in from the West Coast with our East Coast compatriots, we might find ourselves having a drink around 3 pm.

So we decided to create a light cocktail using our Underwood Pinot Gris for when you need to start the party a little earlier than expected. We also wanted to try and use ingredients that most people have around the house since as we all know, running out to the supermarket just isn’t as easy as it used to be. This is a perfect time to remind everyone that the Union Wine Co. shipping team is working tirelessly to get wine sent out to homes across the country. A four-pack of cans equals 2 full bottles in volume and is easily shipped without the hassle of all the extra packaging to protect the glass. You can order cans for yourself or surprise a friend or family member with an unexpected gift right HERE.

OK, back to the cocktail. We created a sort of amalgamation of two classic cocktails, the Moscow Mule and the Salty Dog, and replaced the liquor with our Pinot Gris. We call this one The Salty Underwood Mule. We figure most people are keeping their vitamin C levels up, so you might have grapefruits at your house, and many people have fresh mint growing in the yard already. So, all you need is fresh ginger and you are most of the way to the cocktail.

The Salty Underwood Mule

2 oz fresh grapefruit juice
1.5 oz Underwood Pinot Gris
.5 oz Ginger Mint Syrup (recipe to follow)
Club Soda
1 lime
Salt for the rim of the glass

Mint

The first thing you will need to do is make the ginger mint syrup. At best you have some mint growing in your yard (or maybe a neighbor does who wouldn’t mind sharing.)

STEP ONE:

In a sauté pan, put 3/4 C of water, 1 C of sugar and 2 good sized pieced of fresh ginger (its not necessary to peel the ginger) and bring to a boil. Allow this to cool completely.

Ginger

STEP TWO:

Remove the ginger, pour the liquid into a glass jar and add 3 or 4 sprigs of fresh mint. Allow this to sit overnight. By adding the mint after the liquid has cooled prevents it from turning black and also adds a great subtle fresh mint flavor to the syrup which strengthens over time.

Mint Simple Syrup

Once this is done, you are just about ready to make your cocktail. But first you have to salt the rim. This can be a bit more challenging than you would think. One trick I learned from my bartender friends is to run a lime wedge around the edge of the glass as opposed to dipping it in water (which is what I used to do). I’m not sure why, but using citrus ensures a much more even coating of salt to remain on the rim.

Salt Mule Cocktail

Next, pour some salt into a shallow bowl and press the glass firmly into the salt for an even coating.

Salty Mule Cocktail

And voilá…

Salty Mule Cocktail

Add a few ice cubes, the grapefruit juice, Pinot Gris and Ginger Mint syrup. Give a gentle stir, top off with a splash of club soda and garnish with a lime wedge.

Salty Mule Cocktail

And there you have a deliciously light afternoon cocktail to virtually toast with friends and family.

We hope you will enjoy this new cocktail creation while staying safe out there! Keep washing your hands and don’t forget to keep those #pinkiesdown.

Salty Mule Cocktail

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