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…
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
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.
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.
But of course, let’s not forget the star of the show, Mei Wine.
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.
Cut the top and bottom off of the pineapple and discard.
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.
Once you have gone all the way around the fruit, you can slice rings or cut chunks from each side, discarding the woody center.
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!
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)