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)

Welcome to “the 115”: Union’s Bottling and Canning Facility

Here at Union Wine Company, we believe that good wine should be accessible. A while back we came up with an idea to put our wine in cans. Now, six years later, the canned wine industry is taking wine to places it has never been (literally). 

We want to give you a behind the scenes peek into our packaging facility so you can see the process that goes into bringing our cans—and bottles—into your hands.

Underwood PG

Our packaging facility which opened in 2018 is the largest canning and bottling facility in Oregon. When running at full speed, it can go head-to-head with a Coca-Cola bottling plant. The 115, which is what we call it because its’ address is on 115th Ave. in Tualatin, is capable of holding up to 40,000 gallons of wine at one time, and we can produce 4,300 cases of canned wine in a day. 

Simply put, that’s a lot of wine.

This has been a huge upgrade from our early days as a company when we had to rent a mobile bottling truck for each round of production. As the demand for our wines increased, opening a packaging facility was a necessity. We have a total of nine full-time employees who are experts in the field and run our packaging plant year-round. 

The packaging process.

Packaging begins when bulk pallets of empty wine bottles and recycled cans arrive at our facility. 

The 115

Union Wine Company

Fun Fact: One of the greatest pros of using cans over bottles is that each can is made out of 70% recycled materials. 

Cans and bottles are then moved by our staff onto a feeder where they will be rinsed, cleaned from the inside out, and marked with a tracking code.

Bottles are then sparged—or flushed out—with inert gas (Nitrogen) and cans are purged with compressed air after passing an ionizer, allowing any particulate to be blown out.

Union Wine Company

After being thoroughly cleaned, the can or bottle makes its way to the filler where it gets filled with the proper vintage of wine. The ends of cans are then sealed shut and screw caps are applied to the bottles. Before the cans of still wine (non-bubbles) are sealed, a drop of nitrogen is added at the top to prevent the wine from oxidizing. 

Our can filler is capable of filling 200 cans per minute, and the bottle filler is able to fill 100 bottles per minute.

The 115

Underwood Canned Wine

 Fun Fact: The Vintage of each wine is printed on the bottom of every can. 

After being filled and sealed, the product goes through another rinsing tunnel to get cleaned off. The cans are then put into 12-pack cases, and the bottles go to a drop-packer for cases of 12 as well.

The same wine goes into the cans as we put into bottles. 

Still with me? While this entire process may sound complicated, it takes only half an hour from start to finish.  

The 115

Cans have a lower environmental impact than bottles.

As a company, we have always been committed to the health of our planet and making sustainable choices for our future. Whether it is through our winemaking practices, or through promoting recyclable products, we always think about how we are impacting the environment.

Why are cans more eco-friendly than bottles? 

While both cans and bottles are recyclable, bottles leave the larger carbon footprint of the two.

The transportation of bottled wine creates 20% more greenhouse gases than transporting the same amount of canned wine. This is because bottles require more cardboard to package and take up more space in trucks. Aluminum cans are simply easier to package and ship and the environment benefits from this choice. 

Underwood Wine in a can

From production to hands, and back again

Another benefit of aluminum cans is that they are 100% recyclable and the process of getting them back into production is faster than you might expect. From the time you toss a can into a recycling bin, it takes only 60 days for it to be fully reused and back on supermarket shelves. 

We love our wine, but we love the global community we live in too, and we hope with our new packaging facility we can continue to move towards a greener future. 

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)

Classic Kitchen Lessons: French Onion Soup

Union Wine Company French Onion Soup

Being stuck inside all the time isn’t ideal, but it does have a few benefits, one of which is that many people are becoming much more daring with their culinary projects. There are tons of simple yet impressive recipes that are easier than you ever imagined. And right now is a great time to try them so that when we can all hang out together again you will have confidence in your techniques.

One such recipe is French Onion Soup. Introduced to America in the 1960s by Julia Child, this amazingly unique soup has fallen out of fashion lately, which is a real shame because it is as simple as it is delicious. When I first began my cooking career, I was introduced to a set of three books that Saveur Magazine published: one a collection of classic American food, one of classic Italian food, and one of classic French food. All three are great, but I recently repurchased the French one. This will not only provide simple and accessible classic French recipes, but being from Saveur, there are lots of great anecdotes about the people, regions, and histories associated with the dishes.

Union Wine Company French Onion Soup

I took my inspiration for this recipe from that book but made a few changes and additions which I have picked up over the years. It also helps if you have a set of incredibly cool small ceramic handled crockpots to cook your soup in, but this is by no means necessary. The handles do come in awfully, well, handy, when serving the dish. I’m quite proud of my set…

Union Wine Company French Onion Soup

There are two parts to French Onion Soup: making the soup itself and then assembling it for serving. Let’s start with the basics and then move into the technique.

Union Wine Company French Onion Soup

For French Onion Soup:

About 3 lbs of yellow onions
64 oz. beef stock (preferably unsalted)
A small bunch of fresh thyme
2 Tbs Worcestershire Sauce
1/2 C King’s Ridge Pinot Gris (plus more for drinking!)
3 oz Unsalted Butter
Salt & Pepper

To Finish and Serve:

Baguette or other firm French Bread
1 Tbs Butter
1 lb Shredded Gruyere Cheese (for 4 soup bowls)

*****

Making the Soup:

STEP ONE:

Peel and slice your onions. You will want to slice them “North to South” as illustrated in the picture. This will ensure that while cooking, the onions will caramelize well.

(Editors note: Cutting onions is brutal. You will cry. Everyone cries. In 15 years of professional cooking, I have heard every wives tale as to how to avoid this, and I can say none has ever worked for me. But maybe you know something I don’t.)

Union Wine Company French Onion Soup

STEP TWO:

Take 4-6 good sized sprigs of fresh thyme and tie them together with butchers twine. This will allow you to impart a fresh thyme flavor into the broth without worrying about any sprigs being left behind in the soup.

Union Wine Company French Onion Soup

STEP THREE:

Melt the 3 oz of butter in a heavy-bottomed pot. Just as it starts to bubble, add all your sliced onions and season lightly with salt and pepper. Cook over medium heat, stirring frequently and making sure they don’t burn until onions begin to caramelize and turn light brown, about 20 minutes.

Union Wine Company French Onion Soup

STEP FOUR:

Deglaze with the wine and cook until all the wine has evaporated. Continue to cook onions until they are a deep rich brown. Many people will tell you to add sugar at this point, but I feel the natural sugars in the wine do the trick just as well.

Union Wine Company Kings Ridge Pinot Gris

STEP FIVE:

Add the beef broth, Worcestershire Sauce and thyme, and simmer for 20 minutes. Let cool in the pot. Once cooled, remove the thyme and adjust seasoning if necessary with more salt and pepper.

Putting it all Together:

STEP ONE:

Preheat your oven to 375 degrees. I recommend putting your ceramic crocks on a sheet pan and placing them in the cold oven, allowing them to heat up gradually as the oven heats. Return your soup to the stove and bring to a light simmer. Grate your gruyere cheese and set aside.

Union Wine Company French Onion Soup

STEP TWO:

Into each hot crockpot, ladle in the hot soup. You will want to make sure you have a little extra broth as the bread will soak up a good amount.

Union Wine Company French Onion Soup

STEP THREE:

Slice your bread into 1/4 inch thick slices and lightly toast in a pan with the butter. Gently place on top of the soup.

Union Wine Company French Onion Soup

STEP FOUR:

Cover each top with the shredded gruyere cheese. Return to the oven and melt cheese for 5-10 minutes. Then switch the oven to broil and keep a close eye on the soup so that the cheese colors but doesn’t burn. Carefully remove and let sit for 5 minutes before serving.

Union Wine Company French Onion Soup

Pull the King’s Ridge Pinot Gris out of the fridge, pour a few glasses and you are good to go. I like to serve this soup with a simple arugula salad, dressed with lemon juice, salt, and a little extra virgin olive oil.

Bon Appétit!

Union Wine Company French Onion Soup

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