Who’s ready for summer?! Memorial Day weekend marks the unofficial beginning of summer vacation with many a barbecue, party or weekend trip. But, lest we forget the true reason for this federal holiday, many Americans observe Memorial Day by visiting cemeteries and memorials to pay their respects to those who gave their lives while serving in the armed forces.
As the unofficial beginning of summer, Memorial Day weekend also kicks off grilling season. Meaning, its time to uncover the barbecue grill and get cooking outside. I have a delicious and easy recipe for tender, pull-off-the-bone Baby Back Ribs with a Hoisin barbecue sauce for an Asian flair that will draw raves in between bites and finger lickin’!
I’d also like to introduce you to these canned Half-Seas Sparkling Cocktails from the company that created Scrappy’s Bitters. Half-Seas Sparkling Cocktails has three “true” ready-to-drink canned cocktails: The Bramble, Daiquiri and Paloma. All are made with real spirits, rather than malt or other fermented alcohols, and a touch of effervescence that offers a unique craft cocktail experience to enjoy anytime, and especially on steamy summer days.
Back in Northwest Arkansas, Spring fast forwarded to Summer and I’ve been tooling around Table Rock Lake enjoying these portable, very convenient, ready-to-drink cocktails in a can.
Paying homage to Hemingway, my favorite Half-Seas Sparkling Cocktail is the tart, citrusy Daiquiri. Hemingway is legendary for his unbridled appreciation of a good drink, and writing about it. The Daiquiri is one of the most popular cocktails in the world, and an iteration known as the Papa Doble, or Hemingway Daiquiri, was created for him in Cuba where he whiled away many a day and night at the bar of the famous Havana haunt El Floridita. The Hemingway Daiquiri is more spirit forward with 2 ounces of white rum (scaled back from Hemingway’s preferred 2-1/2 jiggers), fresh grapefruit and lime juice, and several dashes of Maraschino liqueur instead of simple syrup. The Half-Seas Daiquiri is true to the original with ingredients of rum, water, lime and sugar. Half-Seas elevates this classic, known as the British sailor’s “grog” of the 1700’s, with an added twist of bubbles.
These portable cocktails are perfect for packing into your picnic basket (or cooler) and they appeal to those that prefer a lighter touch with their drinks. Even though the sparkling cocktails taste light and refreshing, they are still boozy. With 12% alcohol by volume, they are close to what you might get at a bar, however, the carbonation can make you feel as if you’re drinking a soda, so please drink responsibly wherever you might take these fun, portable drinks: outdoor concerts, festivals, boating, camping, etc. Half–Seas Sparkling Cocktails come in a pack of four 6.8 oz. cans with a suggested retail price of $16-$20.
The name “Half-Seas” is inspired by a 1700’s sailor term, “half–seas over,” which is said to originate from the notion of a heavy-laden ship, so low in the water that small waves, or half-seas, wash over the deck and became an analogy for the pleasure of imbibing. Half-Seas canned cocktails are balanced, refreshing, and simple; delivering a unique beverage experience through champagne level 30psi carbonation level. As three commonly recognizable drinks, the newly launched sparkling canned varieties are quality craft cocktails made from the finest ingredients including premium spirits, bitters, mixers, modifiers and pure cane syrup.
The Bramble pays tribute to that original recipe — a cocktail created in 1980’s London combining dry London gin, berries, and citrus — with the added touch of effervescence. Tequila lovers will favor the Paloma — the well known, tequila and grapefruit juice drink of Mexico is even more globally recognized than the margarita. Half-Seas takes this traditional cocktail a step further with Half-Seas own all-natural grapefruit soda for a personalized touch and delicious twist.
Again, at 12% alcohol/vol in 200ml cans, these sparkling cocktails are close in proportion and strength to a cocktail you would receive at a bar, so please drink responsibly.
Now for that recipe! While Southern Californians enjoy grilling all year-round, for the majority of people, Memorial Day weekend also kicks off grilling season. I have a super easy recipe for tender, pull-off-the-bone (you want a slight pull with your teeth, meat that falls off the bone cheats you of the full rib experience!) Baby Back Ribs with a Hoisin barbecue sauce that is sure to impress and garner rave reviews with every bite.
This is a recipe that I’m reviving from the She’s Cookin’ archives and the photos desperately need to be updated. I’ll get right on that, once I unpack my camera equipment — the past month has been packed (literally) with selling and buying houses, travel to two conferences in the midst of all this and, then, moving half way across the country!
But first, what exactly is Hoisin sauce and what is it made of?
Hoisin sauce, also known as Peking sauce, is a Chinese sauce that is salty and smoky, sweet and savory. At Chinese restaurants, it’s the sauce they put on Mu Shu pancakes.Traditional hoisin sauce is made of wheat flour, soybeans, water, sugar, and salt. Vinegar, garlic, chili, other spices, and food coloring are often added.
Everyone will rave about these tender baby back ribs with a Hoisin barbecue sauce for an Asian flair.
- 4 lbs baby back pork ribs
- 1 tsp Chinese Five-Spice powder
- 1 tsp onion powder
- 1 cup hoisin sauce
- 1/2 cup chili sauce
- 4 tsp chili-garlic sauce
- 1 Tbsp peeled fresh ginger, minced
- 1/4 cup Sherry
- 1 Tbsp sesame oil
Rinse the ribs with water and pat dry with a paper towel. Remove the skin-like membrane located on the bottom or “bone side” of the ribs by sliding a fillet knife underneath the membrane between the bones at about the second or third bone from the end, then grab the membrane with a cloth and peel it off of the ribs.
Marinate overnight. Place ribs in large roasting pan. Pierce meet with fork. Sprinkle with five-spice powder and onion powder.
Whisk remaining ingredients in small bowl to blend. Pour sauce over ribs, turning to coat. Turn ribs meat side down; cover with aluminum foil and refrigerate overnight.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Bake ribs, covered, about 30 minutes or until just tender.
Uncover and turn ribs meat side up; bake until ribs are cooked through, basting occasionally, about 35 minutes more. Cut meat between bones to separate ribs and serve with rice and crisp salad for an Asian flair.
Preheat grill to medium high.
Lower the grill temperature to between 300° and 350° (or medium heat). Place the ribs, bone-side down over indirect heat. For a gas grill, place the slabs side by side over the unlit side of grill. For a charcoal grill, move the briquets to one side and place the slabs on the other side - or use the snake method where the briquets are arranged in a circle along the sides of the grill. Baste with barbecue sauce, then grill ribs for 30 minutes, covered with grill lid.
Disclosure: I received samples of Half-Seas Sparkling Cocktails to try. All opinions are my own.