Bubbles, Par Avion

One of our favorite (and more obscure) vintage cocktails is a slight variation on the classic daiquiri, called an Airmail. It’s a simple cocktail that packs a surprisingly impressive punch. Originating in Cuba in the 1930s, this simple mix of rum, lime and honey creates an elegant base to accentuate with ice cold bubbles. Whether pouring single cocktails or making up a batch for friends, this easy and light cocktail is always guaranteed to impress.

To help with this cocktail, we enlisted the skills of perfume maker extraordinaire and amateur mixologist Josh Meyer, founder of Imaginary Authors.

We had him make up a few cocktails and pick his favorite scent to accompany the light, fruity springtime vibe.

The Airmail

2 oz rum (we prefer the Flor de Cana 4 year)
1.5 oz honey syrup (1:1 ratio)
1 oz fresh lime juice
2 oz Underwood Bubbles

Combine the rum, honey syrup and lime juice in a shaker with plenty of ice. Shake vigorously. Strain into your favorite coup glass and top off with the Underwood Bubbles.

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To make the syrup, put 4 oz of honey in a heavy bottomed pot with 4 oz of water. Gently warm, constantly stirring until al the honey is dissolved.

We are big fans of Bee Local honey, brought to you by the fine folks at Jacobsen Salt Co.

Juice them limes like a boss…

Can’t forget the rum…

Follow Josh’s example and shake vigorously.

Strain, top with bubbles and Enjoy!

According to Josh, the best Imaginary Authors scent to accompany an afternoon of drinking the Airmail cocktail is Saint Julep. With notes of Tangerine, Southern Magnolia, Grisalva and Crushed Ice, this sweet and inviting scent will take you right back to the the cafes of 1930s Havana, laughing and drinking while trading war stories with a tipsy Ernest Hemingway.

Text and Photos by David L. Reamer (@dlreamer)

Union Wine Co. Life Skills: How to Shuck an Oyster

Let’s be honest. There is almost nothing that accompanies a crisp glass of Underwood Bubbles better that some ice cold, freshly shucked oysters. And being situated in the Pacific Northwest, we have year round access to some of the best oysters in the world! It’s always a treat to order oysters at a restaurant, but they make an elegant and unexpected appetizer when entertaining at home. Many people don’t consider this an option because they have never been taught the proper (and amazingly simple) technique to shuck at home.

Well, have no fear. Union Wine Co. is here to teach you the step by step of how to expertly open and clean our favorite bivalve like a seasoned pro.

All you will need is a shucker and a thick kitchen towel. For beginners we recommend the more blunt point versions with hilt guards (pictured in the center.) Once you have mastered these, you can move up to the thinner, sharper pointed shuckers. Also, we recommend starting with Netarts Oysters. They are local, delicious, very user friendly and always available at the Woodstock Fish Market where, incidentally, you can also find your favorite bottles of Union Wine.

Union Co. Life Skills: How to Shuck an Oyster

STEP ONE:

Procure a thick kitchen towel, fold longways 3 times and then roll up one side as pictured below. This will keep the oyster secure and prevent any slippage.

Union Co. Life Skills: How to Shuck an Oyster

STEP TWO:

Turn the oyster belly up. Secure the flat, rounded part of the oyster under the edge of the towel, hold firmly and gently find the small hole or “hinge” at the back of the oyster. The key word here is Gently…. (and we can’t stress this enough- opening oysters is not an act of strength or force but of gentle control…) So, very gently insert the tip of your shucker into the hinge. You may need to feel around until you get the hang of it, but trust us, it’s there.

Union Co. Life Skills: How to Shuck an Oyster
Union Co. Life Skills: How to Shuck an Oyster

STEP THREE:

Once you have the point securely in the hinge, just twist the shucker slightly back and forth until the top shell releases. As you peel back the top shell, use the shucker to separate the oyster from the muscle attaching it to the shell. Remove the top shell and set aside.

Union Co. Life Skills: How to Shuck an Oyster
Union Co. Life Skills: How to Shuck an Oyster

STEP FOUR:

Without spilling the “liquor” (the delicious briny liquid inside the oyster) gently slide the shucker underneath the oyster to separate it from the muscle attaching it to the bottom of the shell. Wipe away any grit that may be on the edge of the shell. At this point, place the oyster on a bed of rock salt or crushed ice, and repeat the steps until all oysters are shucked and ready to be enjoyed.

Union Co. Life Skills: How to Shuck an Oyster
Union Co. Life Skills: How to Shuck an Oyster

Grab a can or bottle of Underwood Bubbles and Bon Appétit!

Union Co. Life Skills: How to Shuck an Oyster

Special thanks to shucker extraordinaire Quincy Sanders, whom you can find most days shucking dozens of Oysters at Canard and his lovely girlfriend Avery Stark, who is one of the many talented front of the house folks at the brand new Portland hot spot, Bullard.

Photography and Text by David L. Reamer

Spring Break Spritz

After a record-breaking snowy winter in the Pacific Northwest, we couldn’t be more ready for spring weather. We’re sure the rest of the country feels the same. With spring break just around the corner, it is finally time to hang up your winter coat and break out the bubbles.

We took the classic Italian Aperol Spritz and put our spin on it using Oregon grown Underwood Bubbles. The Aperol Spritz has been popular in Italy since the 1950s. Usually being drunk as an Apéritif, or a before dinner drink, and paired with delicious cheeses and cured meats.

The flavor is balanced with sweetness, bitterness and citrus. The perfect amount of fizz lightens it up and emulates warm days. The Spring Break Spritz is low-alcohol, which makes it the perfect grown-up spring break drink.

Pair with some warm weather at the beach, in your backyard or plan a front porch happy hour with friends. Don’t forget the snacks.

Try it out and let us know what you think on Instagram. @unionwinecompany #unionwine #pinkiesdown

Spring Break Spritz

Underwood Bubbles

Aperol

Club Soda

Orange Slices

Ice

To make this drink, fill two tumblers with ice. Combine Aperol and Underwood Bubbles in equal parts. Top it off with a splash of soda and garnish with a slice of an orange.

Enjoy with a good friend.

Photography by Adam Wells (@ajwells)

 

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.