Posts Categorized: Wine Cocktails

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)

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)

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! 

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!

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

Tips For The Season: Pinot Pomegranate Punch

Union Wine Co Underwood Pinot PunchOnce again the season to entertain is upon us. From Halloween straight through the New Year, it’s just a part of life that you will have more guests, throw more parties and have more responsibilities to entertain. But, there is no need to get stressed! One thing we all know about entertaining is that the more you can do ahead of time, the easier—and more fun—it all becomes.

One way to do that is to prep as much food as possible, but another way is to make sure you have plenty of delicious drinks on hand for your guests. And, one of the best ways to check this box is to create a punch or batch cocktail that can be done a few days in advance and stored in the fridge. So, we decided to help out and suggest an Autumnal Sangria style Pinot Noir Punch that has a little bit of a kick but still stays on the fruity side. It can be made up days in advance, and in fact, doing so will only improve the flavors.

Union Wine Co Underwood Pinot Punch

Pinot Pomegranate Punch

2 bottles Underwood Pinot Noir
2 C Pomegranate Juice
1/2 C Unsweetened Cranberry Juice
1/2 C Cointreau
1 C Spiced Rum (such as Flor de Cana)
22oz bottle (2 3/4 C) of Hard Cider

Garnish:
Pomegranate seeds
Cranberries
Orange slices
Cinnamon Sticks

Union Wine Co Underwood Pinot Punch

Combine all ingredients. It’s that simple!

Feel free to add or subtract any amounts to best suit your palate. Refrigerate ahead of time and serve cold, over ice or room temperature. Since the orange and cranberries float, place those in the punch as a garnish. The pomegranate seeds, however, will sink, so we recommend putting them in a small bowl and having your guests help themselves.

(Looking for a funky punchbowl and cup set on the cheap? I highly recommend checking your local Goodwill or Salvation Army!)

Never dealt with a fresh pomegranate? Well here is a nifty technique to help get the most from your fruit.

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Kitchen tip:
How to deal with a Pomegranate.

Step one:

Gently run a serrated knife around the equator of the pomegranate. The skin is very tough but not very thick, so its best to just barely break the skin to preserve the most amount of seeds.

Underwood Pinot Punch

Step 2:

Gently tear the fruit into two halves. You can then go on to tear the halves into smaller segments.

Underwood Pinot Punch

Step 3:

In a shallow bowl of room temperature water, gently break apart each section. All of the seeds will sink to the bottom and all the white pith will float to the surface, assuring easy separation without mashing any of the seeds. Simply dispose of the rind and all pith and strain the seeds through a mesh colander.  Keep covered in the fridge until party time.

Underwood Pinot Punch

Cheers!

Underwood Pinot Punch

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