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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
Arugula Salad with roasted hazelnuts, quinoa, dried apricots, ricotta salata and a red wine vinaigrette
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.
Oven Roasted Lentils with red wine, thyme and winter vegetables
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.
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.
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:
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
Whether you are entertaining at home or just pre-gaming before a big night out on the town, perhaps at the Local & Legendary Tony Starlight’s Soft Seventies Rockin’ Dinner Show (it’s amazing BTW) it’s always fun to get New Year’s Eve started off on the right foot with a delicious cocktail. And since there is bound to be a few bottles of Bubbles around the house, we thought the classic French 75 would be a great suggestion.
A relatively simple drink to make, the French 75 got its start around WW1, when it was said that the drink had the kick of being shelled by a powerful French 75mm Field Gun. Here at Union, we believe in drinking responsibly, even on New Year’s Eve, but just one won’t hurt.
And we figure you won’t be drinking alone, so we decided to set you up with a batch cocktail—one who’s base can be made ahead of time and kept in the fridge. That way, when your guests arrive, just stir with ice, strain, and top off with Union’s Underwood Bubbles. Easy Peasy Lemon Squeezy.
You can use your favorite Gin, but we recommend Portland’s own women-owned-and-run craft distillery, Freeland Spirits Gin. We have been loving this locally made brand lately and highly recommend checking them out.
(This recipe is designed to make 4 drinks.)
6 oz Freeland Spirits Gin
3 oz fresh squeezed lemon juice*
2 1/2 oz simple syrup
2 C ice cubes
1 bottle Underwood Bubbles
*Since Meyer lemons are in season right now, we recommend them, but regular lemons are fine too.
Measure out the first three ingredients into a glass mixer and place in the fridge until your guests arrive. When ready to make up the cocktails add the ice and stir well.
Strain the chilled base into 4 coup or other stemmed glasses. No need to be super fancy or even have all matching glasses—sometimes its fun to mix and match your vintage-ware.
Top off all the glasses with some ice cold bubbles and you are ready set go! It’s that simple.
So, from everyone here at Union, we would like to wish you and yours a safe and happy new year! Whether staying in by a roaring fire, or heading out for a night on the town, have a blast but please stay safe, keep those pinkies down, and for gosh sakes, take a LYFT!
HAPPY NEW YEAR!