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Robin McBride
 
September 22, 2021 | Robin McBride

Must Mix Fall Wine Cocktails

Hello Fall! We’re passing up the Pumpkin Spice this year and diving right into our go-to wine cocktails. Hand crafted by our Head Winemaker, Amy Butler, we’re giving you our McBride Sisters twist on your favorite classics with recipes, an easy way to order the wines & storing tips if you don’t finish the whole bottle. 

The Oakland 75

Oakland is where it’s at! That’s why we're giving you our take on the classic French 75, with our very own twist. You can enjoy a French 75 to replace your go-to mimosa or enjoy it after your meal, as a dessert of sorts. That’s how we like it. According to Liquor.com, “The French 75 is named for the fast-firing 75 millimeter field gun that was utilized by the French during World War One.” 

Grab our McBride Sisters Collection Sparkling Brut Rosé to add some fruity, creaminess to the cocktail — conveniently available with our McBride Sisters Black Girl Magic Zinfandel for your Red Wine Margarita below. One stop shop for the wines to mix up these special drinks! Get the wines here. 

Red Wine Margarita 

Margarita’s may be our drink of choice all year around, but pour over some full-bodied Zinfandel to give your classic Marg a bit of spice and ripe fruit. You may not ever go back to your classic. Salt on the rim is optional, we used our favorite coup glasses to make it fancy but any glass will do! Developed by Amy, we are just now realizing how well this woman can make a wine cocktail. Recipes that use red wine are our Fall favorites.

Grab our McBride Sisters Black Girl Magic Zinfandel to spice up your Red Wine Margarita here — available in the perfect four bottle bundle with our McBride Sisters Collection Sparkling Brut Rosé for all of your fall cocktail needs! Shop now.

Opened Wine: How To Store It?

For some people (not always us!), you can end up with a pretty full opened bottle of wine after mixing up cocktails. Below are our top 5 storing tips for your open bottles so they don’t go to waste and are fresh to drink the next day. 

  • Make sure to keep the cork of screw off cap just in case you don’t have a wine storage cork. We’d recommend having these affordable, Repour rubber wine stoppers on hand for your still wines. 
  • For your bubbles, you’ll have a very hard time getting the original cork back in. Make sure to stock up on these sparkling wine stoppers from Cuisinart, before the holiday season.
  • Put all re-corked or wines with a stopper into the fridge after opening. For red wine, you can pull it out of the fridge about 15 minutes before drinking to let it warm back up. 

How long to wait before you drink your opened wine?

  • Red Wine can be stored in the fridge for up 5 days or so. We’d highly recommend drinking within 1-3 because the longer the wine is in the fridge you’ll lose some of the delicious fruit notes and rich flavors. 
  • We’d recommend storing White Wine in the fridge for up to 3 days but drinking within 1-2 as it will lose the aromas fairly quickly. 
  • For Sparkling Wine, it can really only last in the fridge for 1-2 days max before losing all of the delicious carbonation. We’d recommend always drinking the next day to keep the quality high. 

Getting into the holiday season already? Find our favorite festive cocktails for the holiday season here. For all of you who love to host a holiday party, find our Holiday Table Presentations Do's And Don'ts here. 

Xoxo,

 

Time Posted: Sep 22, 2021 at 8:11 AM Permalink to Must Mix Fall Wine Cocktails Permalink
Robin McBride
 
September 13, 2021 | Robin McBride

The Story Behind Black Girl Magic Wines

Black Girl Magic: Bold on purpose, sweet by design, refreshingly complex.

It was at ESSENCE Fest 2018 where we first launched our McBride Sisters Black Girl Magic label. The incredible event is a “Party with a Purpose,” put on by ESSENCE Magazine, which has grown over 27 years to be one of the premiere gatherings for Black music, entertainment and culture — drawing averages of 500,000 attendees annually. It was a festival where thousands of Black women came together in one place to empower, educate and elevate during the day and party(with a purpose)at the music festival at night. Headlining with TRUE icons - we’re talkin’ Beyoncé, Barack & Michelle Obama, Missy Elliott, Diana Ross, and many more.

McBride Sisters at Essence Fest 2018

“ESSENCE is where Black Women Come First for news, entertainment, and motivation.”

ESSENCE

When we launched the label in 2018, it also happened to be the first time New Orleans had a Black woman mayor, LaToya Cantrell. Since ESSENCE Fest is such a huge contributor to the city, the mayor hosted the opening party and we knew that’s where we wanted to introduce McBride Sisters Black Girl Magic to the world.

We only launched one wine in 2018. Riesling, a noble grape that originated from the Alsace region of France, was one of our favorites. It’s beautifully floral, with jasmine, honey and punch-you-in-your nose aromatics. Our style of Riesling remixed the traditions; you know the way that we do it! We wanted gorgeous acidity balanced with residual sugar. It was at the Essence Fest opening party where we announced our McBride Sisters Black Girl Magic Riesling. And let me say we have NEVER in our lives had people respond to a label and to a bottle of wine the way that they did that weekend. We ran out of this inaugural Riesling so quickly, that we knew right away we needed to give this label the attention it deserved. Robin & I tapped into something really special, something rare.

McBride Sisters at Essence Fest 2018

Since the incredible launch of our McBride Sisters Black Girl Magic Riesling, we’ve added a Red Blend, Rosé, Sparkling Burt, Merlot and Zinfandel to our the Black Girl Magic collection. These wines and this label have received so much love from you all! We see your amazing Instagram posts showcasing your Black Girl Magic and that’s the reason we made this brand. 

McBride Sisters Black Girl Magic was cultivated at a time when we were seeing Black women breaking barriers as judges, scientists and in sports and entertainment. Black women were a huge part of the wine industry consumer demographic but were being underserved. If we were to honor the direct women in our family and the women within our community with a wine to celebrate their beauty and their resilience, what would that label look like? 

Black women have been at the forefront of beauty, culture and style since the dawn of time -- yet are always last when it comes to products and services designed with them in mind. If our mission has always been to shake up the industry, how can you really drive innovation and serve people from diverse backgrounds in different countries and cultures if you have a small exclusive demographic of people making all of the decisions? It was time for Black women and everyone who supports Black culture to have a wine that was made with Her in mind. Black Girl Magic is more than a phrase. It’s a feeling. A look. A mood. A taste. Our wines are a celebration for us, by us, of all the things passed down from our ancestors to today. Our features, our skin, our beauty, our magic … and the wine inspired by it all. 

These wines were made to celebrate the groundbreaking accomplishments of Black women including the small victories. Whether you’re sipping on them after work or for your wedding, there’s an indescribable joy in turning lowkey moments into unforgettable celebrations. That’s the power of these wines, we can turn ANY vibe into a celebration. 

She is fun, fresh and fly. Sun-kissed and ripe. Full-bodied and luscious. She is one of a kind, she is McBride Sisters Black Girl Magic Wines. 

Xoxo,

 

Time Posted: Sep 13, 2021 at 4:04 PM Permalink to The Story Behind Black Girl Magic Wines Permalink
Andréa McBride
 
September 9, 2021 | Andréa McBride

How to: Build The Perfect Charcuterie Board

Hosting season is right around the corner. From our Family Tell-All Virtual Tasting (details on how to reserve your spot below!) to having our friends and family over as the holidays approach, we’re ready to entertain! It’s time to elevate your charcuterie board prep skills & have the wine pairings ready to go. 

We’re hosting a virtual event on National Family Day, coming up on Saturday, September 26th, and you’re invited! Get the wines we’ll be sipping on ahead of time with our Feelin’ Myself set of 6 McBride Sisters Collection wines and picture your perfect charcuterie board to enjoy and share during the event.

Family Tell-All Virtual Wine Tasting | September 26th at 4pm PST

RESERVE YOUR SPOT: Text FAMILY to 64827 to reserve your complimentary seat for the event

How To: Build Your Board

 


Our Go-To Wine Pairings:

Crisp, dry white wines

Crisp, lighter-bodied white wines such as Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Gris or a bubbly Sparkling Brut pair well with fresh, unripened cheeses such as mozzarella, feta and burrata. Fresh, young and soft cheeses are perfect with our crisp McBride Sisters Collection Sauvignon Blanc, our new McBride Sisters Collection Pinot Gris or the McBride Sisters Collection Sparkling Brut Rosé — turn any vibe into a celebration!

Fruit forward, medium bodied white wines

White wines that are more fruit forward and medium bodied with subtle oak pair well with creamy cheeses like Brie or Camembert or with your salty charcuterie, like salami or prosciutto.  We highly recommend our McBride Sisters Collection Chardonnay from Central Coast, California to pair with your soft, buttery cheeses + aged, cured meats. 

Medium-heavy bodied, fruit forward red wines

Aged cheeses pair perfectly with the medium to heavy bodied red wines with complex tannins. Wines with ripe fruit profiles such as a Cabernet Sauvignon or Merlot. These cheeses include Cheddar, Manchego or Parmigiano-Reggiano, with a bite of berry jam or chutney. Reach for our McBride Sisters Collection Red Blend, a balanced blend of Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot. Sip on this with one of these hard cheeses and jam, thank us later! 


Shop the wines we'll be tasting for National Family Day & we hope to see you at the virtual tasting on the 26th. Don't forget to show up with charcuterie!

Xoxo,

 

 

 

 

Time Posted: Sep 9, 2021 at 5:23 PM Permalink to How to: Build The Perfect Charcuterie Board Permalink
Robin McBride
 
September 1, 2021 | Robin McBride

My Birthday Wish? That All Women Are Empowered!

Thank you to everyone for your kind & thoughtful birthday wishes this year. This one is really special to me. For my birthday, I’ve wished for all women to feel empowered. Not a small feat, but we’re asking you to contribute to a cause that’s close to our hearts. A contribution can be a pledge to raise women up at your company, encourage your best friends to apply for that dream job or if possible, donate to our professional development scholarship program. But before that, I want to tell you a little more about where our drive to shake up the industry and empower women throughout business originates from. I’m hoping to give this amazing community a look into who I am and this company I’ve built with my sister, Andréa. I think the story of my life as a woman becoming an entrepreneur, in a male dominated industry, leads perfectly into the purpose and drive we have to empower other women with our McBride Sisters SHE CAN Fund. 

As you know, I’m Robin McBride — the other half of this sister run company. I am currently the head of winemaking operations, human resources, finance and our direct to consumer program. My role taps into the things that I care about the most, the science of grape growing and winemaking, my interest in people and my drive to run my own business. 

In a speed round of “get to know me”, here are some of my favorite things!
  • The cocktail I’m always reaching for is a French 75, that’s why we made our own twist on the classic. Mix up our Oakland 75 using our McBride Sisters Collection Sparkling Brut Rosé for your new favorite drink! 
  • I love farm life. Cultivating from the earth and living on land that has a purpose. I eventually hope to make my own cheese and raise my own goats
  • I love music, Bossanova is close to my heart as my grandma used to listen to when I was younger. My eclectic taste is rooted in memories and moments that a song can take me back to and Lizzo just makes me feel amazing. Here is my birthday spotify playlist, turn the music up!
  • My favorite wine ever is Chateau Y’quem, a Sauterne from France where I ended up working a harvest!  

Why Wine? Becoming An Entrepreneur

I get asked often who my role models in wine or business were and truthfully I really didn’t have any. When I was growing up I wanted to be so many things, from a flower farmer, a volcanologist, and a particle physicist. I always loved science and I knew my dream job needed to include science. Wine was always in my life growing up in Monterey, California. As one of the main industries in that area, I was surrounded by vineyards and wine professionals. 

The reason I started to thoughtfully pursue a career in wine was because I felt that wine, as a product and process, ties in with agriculture and a social experience. It’s not only an incredibly complex product that taps into my childhood dreams of wanting to do things in science and chemistry, but it also is something made for people to enjoy. They can laugh, cry, give a toast, share stories and connect with others over a simple, yet tasty, glass of wine. Wine is science, wine is agriculture and wine is an experience. 

As an adult, I was having dinner with friends for our weekly Sopranos night, we’d watch an episode and my friend would chef up an italian dish from the show. One night, we had finished a bottle of Merlot and brought out another bottle of Merlot from the same place, with the same terroir. The wine was completely different. It caught my attention and I couldn’t shake my interest. What are these winemakers doing to make these products so different? I felt all of my interests in the chemistry and biological processes ignited as I continued to think about how much went into a bottle of wine and the power you had to alter the experience. Wine, for me, was never the same. I was hooked. 

When I first met Andréa, the bond and relationship truly solidified so many things for me. First off, Andréa’s uncle in New Zealand was a grapegrower and she had also grown up in wine country. Further reinforcing that I needed to explore this industry and now I had her by my side. At the time, I was living in Atlanta. I had moved there after one visit because I was so amazed to see Black Excellence and professionals and universities in the 90s. I saw so much success in the Black community and such incredible culture. It was a really cool melting pot and I saw so much opportunity. 

We get asked a lot why we eventually chose to build our business out of Oakland. And we like to tell em’ loud and proud that Oakland is where it's at! When we started making our own wines, I was commuting from the Central Coast, where I chose to raise my twins. Being close to San Francisco was key as it is a business hub and brought us closer to Northern wine country. But in the end, we chose Oakland because we wanted to find a place that had heart. Culturally, Oakland was a better fit and at the time a resurgence in the culinary and  wine scene had begun.  The city felt diverse and creative. 

Empowering Women Along The Way

We wanted to break the rules of the wine industry but more importantly break the unwritten rules of women being pushed to the side. I grew up around only strong, independent women and am still under the impression that you don’t need men to make something successful. It was appalling to see the inequity in the business. Not only what Andréa and I experienced, but also witnessed across industries. Luckily,  we're tough and were not going to be pushed off our path. But some women are not so lucky. It was painful to see the talent of the women in the industry being held back by the archaic nature of the business. The second we had a penny or a minute, we wanted to make sure we did something to help change that. That’s why we started our McBride Sisters SHE CAN FUND.

Our Impact To Date

The McBride Sisters SHE CAN Fund stems from the mission Andréa and I focused on from the beginning — We want to transform the industry, lead by example, and cultivate community, one delicious glass of wine, at a time. As our company grew, so did our goals to help empower, educate and support women in their careers. We need more women in leadership positions, that’s why the SHE CAN Fund is investing in women. We’re helping build the next generation of women leaders by supporting the continued education, coaching and professional certifications for women working in traditionally male-dominated fields through our non-profit. You can now donate directly to the fund and learn more about the 42 women that have been awarded professional grants & scholarships so far on our website here. 

Are you able to Donate? Find direct access to donate to our McBride Sisters SHE CAN Fund here. 

This year for my birthday, I want women to be empowered. I want to do my part in raising up the next generation of women leaders and create pathways for them to work their way to the top, where they belong. The moment Andréa and I  had a penny or a minute to spare, we wanted to make sure we did something to help change these gender inequalities in business — and we have no plans on stopping anytime soon. Celebrate with me and wherever you can, raise up the women in your life. SHE CAN do anything. 

Xoxo, 

 

Time Posted: Sep 1, 2021 at 8:37 AM Permalink to My Birthday Wish? That All Women Are Empowered! Permalink
Andréa McBride
 
August 10, 2021 | Andréa McBride

Break The Rules, Chill Your Red Wines

White and rosé wines are popular during the summer months because they're usually served chilled, making them so crisp & refreshing. They are placed in ice buckets at your table while dining out and pulled out of the fridge on warm Saturday afternoons to drink on a sun-drenched patio. We've been told that white and rosé wine varietals belong in the fridge and red wine belongs on the wine rack, served only at room temperature. We don't know who wrote these rules on wine drinking, but we’re here to break them once and for all! This summer, let your red wines have the limelight and serve them chilled. We promise, you’ll never want to go back.

The beauty of a chilled red wine is that as you sip, it will slowly warm up in the glass, making every sip a little bit different from the last — giving you the full expression of the wine. When red wine is chilled, the warm fruit and hot alcohol will be slightly muted, resulting in a crisp and refreshing mouthfeel while maintaining the tannic structure and boldness of the wine. As it warms in your glass back to room temperature, you are slowly introduced to the flavor characteristics and the influence of the alcohol and tannin.

Since you’re still reading, we know you’re interested! Read on to find out:

  • The best red wine varietals to serve chilled
  • How to successfully chill your wine to the perfect temperature 
  • Our favorite chilled red wine cocktail recipe and food pairing 

Make chilled reds your new summer crush! 

 Which Wines To Chill?

Truth be told, sometimes we chill all of our red wines! Why? Because we love the flavor expression and evolution of the wine in the glass. Also, in the warm summer months our red wines get too warm and it can ruin the complexity and depth of the wine when they’ve warmed above room temperature. 

But as a rule of thumb, the best reds to enjoy chilled are usually light to medium bodied with a lower alcohol volume. It’s best to avoid heavy reds with heavy tannin and oak influence. We’d recommend focusing on lighter, fruitier red wines. Young bright Pinot Noirs, Beaujolais from the juicy Gamay grape, or Cabernet Francs from cooler climate regions are ideal for chilling. 

  • Try chilling our vibrant and opulent Reserve Pinot Noir, which has succulent aromas of crushed raspberry, rhubarb and candied cherry. We’re always reaching for a Pinot Noir when we want a nicely chilled red wine. Pair with a warm summer evening, grilled salmon and vegetable kabobs.
  • For a wine that’s more full-bodied, chill our McBride Sisters Collection Black Girl Magic 2019 California Red Blend about 20 minutes before you’re ready to sip. Enticing black cherry and warm cocoa aromas are mixed with fresh raspberry and plum on the nose. As the wine warms up, the nose evolves into toasty oak, vanilla and black tea leaves. Chocolate and cherry follow you into the palate with luscious and silky tannins. It’s a great wine to pair with seared tuna or a filet mignon. Get the wine in our Bold & Boujie red wine six pack here. 
  • A wine you always want to chill, no matter what, is our smooth, bold and bright McBride Sisters Collection Black Girl Magic Bubbly Red. Every sip is full of juicy pomegranate and strawberry with ripe blackberry and just a hint of peppery spice. Whenever you’re serving a sparkling wine, make sure it’s been in the fridge for a few hours. Make it a moment and sip this wine in a can with BBQ Ribs or your favorite bag of chips. 

Even though some reds may be more suitable for chilling, we suggest you try chilling any red varieties you want and see what works best for your taste and palate!  

Chilling Tips

Be mindful of approaching chilling red wine with care, as overchilling can alter the flavor profile. The key is to make sure the wine is chilled but not cold. According to Vinepair, if a red wine is too cold, below 55 degrees, the flavors will almost be completely muted making the astringency a bit overwhelming. Here’s a few tips to maximize your cool red wine experience: 

  • Chill your wine in the fridge for approximately 30-40 minutes before drinking
  • Use a metal or plastic wine cooler (or ice bucket) to help keep the temperature low once the wine is out of the fridge
  • Avoid adding ice cubes to your glass as it will water down the wine
  • For those in a hurry, pop the bottle in a freezer for 8-10 minutes

 Food and Wine Pairings 

Pinot Noir + BLT Salad

Image and recipe via Urban Bliss Life

Pair our Reserve Pinot Noir with light, creamy salads, such as this BLT salad, which is a perfect summer cookout dish. A delicious, crunchy combination that features bacon, tomatoes, soft pasta and more, this is an ideal comfort food for any time. For those who are not a fan of dairy, there’s also a vegan option to make this dish!

New York Sour + Cheese Board

Image and recipe via A Couple Cooks

Ingredients

Instructions

  1. Add the bourbon, lemon juice, and syrup to a cocktail shaker and fill it with a handful of ice. Shake until very cold.
  2. Strain the drink into an ice-filled lowball or Old Fashioned glass.
  3. Carefully pour the red wine over the back of a spoon just above the surface of the drink, creating a layer on top. Serve with a lemon twist if desired.

Pair this delicious cocktail with a cheese board featuring cheeses such as Roquefort, brie, and cheddar. Chilling red wines is no myth. Try experimenting with a few different chilled varieties this summer and find what works best for you. Break the rules. Chill your red wines.

Xoxo,

 

 

 

Time Posted: Aug 10, 2021 at 2:00 PM Permalink to Break The Rules, Chill Your Red Wines Permalink
Robin McBride
 
August 9, 2021 | Robin McBride

It's A SHE CAN Summer

The Story of SHE CAN

Did you know we have wine in a can? For those of you who do, thank you for all the SHE CAN Wines love. For those who are just finding out about our SHE CAN Wines collection, welcome! Enjoy our McBride Sisters Collection wine quality in the convenience of a can for those on the go. It’s a SHE CAN Summer and we have a fresh NEW flavor! We have also launched our Cans Club - a new kind of wine club created for the woman who's going everywhere. Read on below!

If you’ve been following the blog for a while, you know that SHE CAN Wines is not only a statement, it is a way for us to honor our mothers. The strong and empowered lionesses on the sides of the SHE CAN pay tribute to the women who encouraged and inspired us throughout our lives, our mum & mom. Andréa & I wanted to include a striking design that could remind us everyday of the first women who taught us that we CAN do anything we set our minds to. It was only fitting that they were a focal point on these fun and fab cans. 

We consider ourselves to be a pride, the same pride lions live in. A fearless pride and sisterhood that is constantly challenging the norm, inspiring other women to do the same and breaking barriers as we go. We took the lionesses from our McBride Sisters Collection logo and placed an enlarged version on each SHE CAN. Our newest flavor to the SHE CAN sisterhood is Fresh White and is dedicated to Andréa's mums (birth mother and foster mother) so their initials are by the lioness (P.J. & D.H.H.). The SHE CAN Rosé is dedicated to Robin's mom, and her nickname is by the lioness (KOKO). The SHE CAN Spritzers are a tribute to our daughters; you’ll find their initials within the designs on the Island Citrus and Coastal BerryCan you spot them?

Design is a wonderful way to express a message through illustration, and we’re glad we had the creative opportunity to pay tribute to the special women in our lives. 


The SHE CAN Fund

For this SHE CAN Summer, it’s time to celebrate yourself and the other incredible women who have paved the way for us. SHE CAN is rooted in the ethos of a boundless sisterhood, challenging the status quo of male-dominated industries and focusing on uplifting and supporting female entrepreneurs, creatives and leaders. 

Andrea’s and my journey involved looking up to a range of strong women throughout history—our own mothers included—who motivated us to follow our own paths and cultivate a community for women to support and celebrate each other, one great glass of wine at a time.

What started as a wine in a can collection has turned into much more. In 2019, we created the McBride Sisters SHE CAN Fund. At its inception, The McBride Sisters SHE CAN Fund was first developed to promote the professional advancement of women in the wine industry in a concerted effort to help close the gender and race gap. For this year's scholarships, we invited women who have a bold vision for their careers in hospitality, wine and finance, to apply for grants and scholarships for continuing education, leadership coaching and industry conferences. Our impact to date:

Applications for 2021 are now closed. Please check back in Spring 2022 for the next set of scholarship applications.

It’s more than just delicious wine in a can, it’s a loud message. A message to the world that SHE CAN and She Does, every single day. Join the #SHECANSummer movement by following SHE CAN Wines on Instagram and Facebook, share this blog with your friends and spread the word! Embrace the can and empower her path. With wines that go anywhere for the woman who’s going everywhere, "Where will she take you?"

Summer of SHE CAN - She’s New & She’s Fresh

For this #SHECANSummer we wanted to give you something different, something refreshing, a wine you would want to always have in the fridge. Think fruity, crisp and flower-garden fresh - this wine has flavors of pear, melon, white flowers and orange blossom. A wine that tastes like a summer day.

Be the first to taste the new Fresh White — we have three different 12 pack bundles featuring our newest flavor. The 12-pack of Fresh White is perfect for wine drinkers who know what they like and that’s aromatic white wine! Want to rosé all day and white wine all night? Then the Fresh White and SHE CAN Rose 12-pack is the one for you. Can’t decide? We’ve got you sorted with the 12-pack sampler of SHE CANs: Fresh White, SHE CAN Rose, SHE CAN Island Citrus Spritzer and SHE CAN Coastal Berry Spritzer.

Sip tip: Did you know that 1 premium can of SHE CAN Wine = ½ bottle of wine!

For The Cans Lovers

Another SHE CAN Summer launch: a brand new Cans Club! A new kind of wine club to get our fun, fab and award-winning canned wines delivered right to your door. 

The best thing about this club, apart from receiving your own customizable can shipment four times a year, is supporting women in business and career development. A portion of the proceeds from our SHE CAN Wines goes to our SHE CAN Fund to help empower and educate emerging women leaders.

Oh, and did we mention you’ll also receive 10% off all your future wine orders? The first 100 members to sign up will receive a FREE SHE CAN Wines Bucket Hat! Run, don't walk to the site to join now. Black Girl Magic Bubbly Cans are also included in the Cans Club. 

Women Who Embody SHE CAN

Who is the SHE CAN woman? She is creative, bold, unafraid and inspired. She is supportive and encouraging. She is also respectful of her own self-care and the need for downtime. 

We look at women such as Simone Biles, a revolutionary athlete, a supportive teammate and an advocate for her own mental health, and see the SHE CAN woman. We look at Katie Ledecky, who made history this year at the Tokyo Olympics by winning six Olympic gold medals, the most won by any woman U.S. olympian ever. Katie also vocally announced how proud she is of Simone Biles. In both her achievements and support, we see the SHE CAN woman. 

We look at our mothers, our grandmothers, our sisters, our daughters and friends, and see the SHE CAN woman in all of them. 

Where Will She Take You?

The sun is out, flowers are blooming and the opportunity for adventures are endless. The #SHECANSummer is about discovery, excitement and new experiences. There is no limit to where you may find yourself if you follow your imagination. Here are a few ideas of where to drink SHE CAN to get your creative juices flowing:

While Supporting Women On Screen

Whether it’s the Summer Olympics or other sports you love to watch, call together all your girls for a night of celebrating female talent on screen. Let’s go Naomi Osaka, Ramla Ali and Rikako Ikee! 

At a Picnic with the Girls 

Summer is the best time to get your crew outside with a few packs of SHE CANs and a delicious spread for a picnic on the beach or by a lake. Got a grill nearby? Try some of these delicious recipes, which will pair perfectly with any SHE CAN pack.

Host a Wine Tasting Games Night 

Combining two of our favorite things–wine and fun—this games’ night takes wine tasting to the next level. Check out our guide on how to host a summer wine tasting party, and combine that with Charades, Cards Against Humanity or Twister for a night to remember. 


SHE CAN embodies all of us, the adventurous, life-lusting goddesses that we celebrate daily from the moment we wake up. From women leaders to athletes to mothers and lifelong friends, we value and appreciate you and are thrilled to see where SHE CAN Wines will take you this summer. 

Xoxo,

 

Time Posted: Aug 9, 2021 at 3:00 PM Permalink to It's A SHE CAN Summer Permalink
Andréa McBride
 
July 22, 2021 | Andréa McBride

Host A Summer Wine Tasting Party

We absolutely love wine tasting. You get to try wines from across the globe  and learn about your palate, which is how you individually identify characteristics of a wine through sight, smell and taste — while also spending time with your partner, friends, family or all of the above. We consider wine tasting elevated day drinking and it’s fun to do at home. You can dress up all fancy, try different wine varietals, set up a delicious spread and enjoy the day. With incredible weather, sunny beach days, and ideal outdoor temperatures, summer is the perfect time to throw a wine tasting party!

You don’t have to be a wine expert to host a wine tasting party. To simplify the process, we have provided you with a guide to everything you need to have an exciting self-hosted wine tasting event. Pro tip: Invite those you enjoy drinking with the most!

Party Tips & Tricks

One of the key ingredients for a successful wine tasting party is preparation. 

Get Ready:

  • Store white and rosé wines in an ice bucket or fridge to ensure each wine is served at its optimal recommended temperature. But don’t serve them too cold or the aromas and flavors will be muted.
  • A classic clear wine glass is the best glass to use as a default, if every guest is given one glass each. Master Sommelier Andrea Robinson’s The One is designed to suit red, white, rosé, and bubbly - a must for our next wine tasting party!

The Food:

  • It’s important to always have snacks at a wine tasting table for the hungry guests, but also to help cleanse your palate between wines. While the guests are snacking, ask them to take note of which snacks pair well with which wines and compare after the tasting!
  • For snacks, a cheese board is always a good idea. Have each guest bring their favorite cheese, charcuterie and fruit and build the ultimate cheese board.
  • Other fun snacks to try: Caprese skewers, hummus plates, sliders, chicken wings, popcorn or other snacks are a great go-to — more recipes and ideas below!

The Decorations:

  • Embrace the seasonal colors and decorate the space with summer flowers and unscented candles to highlight the accents and set the mood. 
  • Welcome tip: When guests arrive, set the party mood by handing them a surprise glass of white wine when they walk into the party. Once all the guests have arrived, ask everyone to guess which wine they are drinking. A small gift goes to the winner!

The Wine List:

 

You'll want at least one white and one red for your event but ideally, it’s great to try to have two whites, two reds, a rosé and a sparkling wine in order to taste them all side by side. 

  • Our most highly recommended wine tasting set of wines is our McBride Sisters Collection Reserve Wines. This California Reserve Wine Set includes our Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. The Reserves are single vineyard wines from the Santa Lucia Highlands in Monterey County. This gift set is perfect for your smaller and more intimate wine tasting party. These wines are complex and express their terroir beautifully. 
  • For the larger wine tasting parties, look no further than our McBride Certified Tasting Pack. This 9 bottle pack of wines includes an array from our collections to give you the full line up. We recommend starting with the Sparkling Brut and ending on the Zinfandel. 

If you’re interested in learning more about wine, join our free McBride Certified Wine 101 Facebook course to learn about all things wine tasting, food pairing & more.
 

Don’t forget:

  • Plates and utensils to dig into the canapes!
  • A discard bucket to use if someone chooses to not finish their wine.
  • Water to rinse out the glass and keep everyone hydrated between glasses.
  • Pen and paper for each guest to take notes on the wines being served. 
To learn more about wine tasting, winemaking and key terms for a wine expert — join our free McBride Certified Wine 101 Facebook course to learn about all things wine tasting, food pairing & more.
 

Themed Party Ideas

It’s always fun to add a unique element to a wine tasting by creating a theme for the night! Try some of these different theme ideas to make your wine tasting one to remember:

  • Cool California Classics: When all the leaves are green and the sky is golden, California dreamin’ becomes a beautiful reality. Make a playlist of Californian bands and arrange the tasting around Californian wines. Try our sophisticated California Reserve Wine Set (Chardonnay & Pinot Noir) and pair with Californian canapes, such as this California-style shrimp cocktail, which will complement our Chardonnay perfectly.
  • A Summer’s Night in Tuscany: Transport your guests to the romantic hills of Tuscany, where beautiful architecture meets fresh produce and breathtaking scenery. Create an Italian playlist, an all Italian cheese plate complete with olives, and decorate the area with vines to really set the mood. 
  • Show & Storytelling: Ask each guest to share a story that corresponds with their favorite glass of the night, this could be a story the wine reminds them of, a drinking experience that they just can’t forget or maybe their dream destination to be enjoying the glass of wine. Alternatively, for a more educational experience, ask each guest to prepare 1-2 facts about the wines of the night and have each share their facts while sipping the corresponding wine, this would require telling them the wines in advance!
  • Guess the Price: A variation of blind tasting, this game focuses around guests guessing the price of wines being served. Have everyone taste each wine and rank them in order of low to high, along with their reasons for choosing so. This fun game will work well with our California Reserve Wine Set, which is on the higher end, in comparison to our McBride Sisters Collection Black Girl Magic Trio, our most popular, but lower in price point than the Reserve Wines.

Wine & Food Pairings

Light whites with fruity or vanilla hints and floral rosés make the ideal summer drink, but we can’t forget about a vibrant and opulent Pinot Noir, or a cherry plum Red Blend. The perfect summer wine can be based on cooling you down in the hot climate, or it can come down to pairing with your favorite dishes - the choice is yours!

For this wine tasting party we’re exploring untraditional and elevated food pairings to match our prestigious California Reserve Wine Set and McBride Certified Tasting Pack. Open the tasting with some truffle popcorn, and save the rest of the food until after the tasting activities to ensure a clear palate. If guests get hungry in between tastings, you could also have a cheese board to snack on. Check out our cheese board guide here.

Pear, Pancetta and Pecan Puffs

Image and recipe via Taste of Home.

The perfect combination of savoury and sweet, these pear, pancetta and pecan puffs will be delightful with aromatic and refreshing McBride Sisters Collection Black Girl Magic Sparkling Brut with the perfect balance of lush fruit and delicate tart bubbles​ — available in the McBride Certified Tasting Pack here. Is your mouth watering yet? 

Salmon Mousse Canapes

Image and recipe via Taste of Home

The contrasting textures and refreshing flavors of these salmon mousse canapes are only topped by the stunning presentation. Smoked fishes such as salmon are a match made in heaven with Pinot Noir. Get fancy with your snacks for your summer wine tasting and pair this dish with our McBride Sisters Collection Reserve Pinot Noir available in our California Reserve Wine Set, it's the pairing you may not expect but then you've eaten the whole plate and your glass of wine is gone! Thank us later. 

Oysters Rockefeller

Image and recipe via The Wicked Noodle

So simple, yet so impressive, Oysters Rockefeller will step up your wine-tasting party to the next level. This delicious dish pairs perfectly with our McBride Sisters Collection 2020 Marlborough New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc available in our McBride Certified Tasting Pack here.


Wine Tasting Key Vocabulary

Impress your guests with some of our wine tasting key vocabulary words below, it’s a great way to teach your wine loving guests more about the wine tasting process and give them the chance to become an expert as well! 

  1. Palate: The sensory experience that you have individually while the wine is in your mouth. Understanding your palate is more than just the flavor of the wine in your mouth, it's the physical sensations (acid, sweetness, astringency, etc) of the wine after you take a sip.
  2. Aroma: The sensory experience of smelling and sniffing the wine, aroma also contributes to the flavors you taste when the wine is in your mouth. Aromas of a wine can also change the longer it is exposed to the air, oxygen so be sure to go back and smell the wine multiple times throughout the tasting.
  3. Terroir: The natural environment where a wine is produced and the grapes are grown. This includes the soil where the vines are planted, topography, climate and other factors that influence the composition and characteristics of the wine.
  4. 5 S’s of Wine Tasting: See, Swirl, Sniff, Sip, Savor — the 5 S's are the 5 steps to tasting wine in order to activate your senses and identify the different characteristics of the wine. The 5 S's are steps to understand the wine's characteristics.
  5. Single vineyard: A wine where all of the grapes that go into the winemaking process for a wine come from a single vineyard. This can be from different vineyard blocks or even all from the same vineyard block. Single vineyard wines are not blends from multiple vineyards and are considered representative of the terroir of where they are grown.
  6. Vintage: The year that's present on the wine label, this is the year the grapes were harvested from the vines to begin the winemaking process.
To learn more about wine tasting, winemaking and key terms for a wine expert — join our free McBride Certified Wine 101 Facebook course.
 

Final Tips

 

To optimize your wine-tasting experience and provide the most enjoyable event, consider these final tips.

  • Keep in mind the order of tasting. Not an absolute must, but aim to follow the order of wines to taste, starting with sparkling then working your way from lighter to heavier.
  • To take things to the professional level, share the 5 S’s of wine tasting with your guests prior to taking your first sip. See, swirl, sniff, sip, and savor. 

 

But most importantly, enjoy yourself! Wine tastings can often be intimidating, but we’re here to break the rules. It's time to drink the wine however, whenever and wherever you want. Cheers!

Xoxo,

 

Time Posted: Jul 22, 2021 at 10:30 AM Permalink to Host A Summer Wine Tasting Party Permalink
Robin McBride
 
July 15, 2021 | Robin McBride

A McBride Guide to Chardonnay

The Perfect Summer Wine

The wine of the summer! Chardonnay is made in some of the world's most iconic winegrowing regions and is one of the most popular and loved white wines. For us, this grape varietal gives us the opportunity to break the rules of fine winemaking. Chardonnay can be medium-full bodied, cool or warm climate, unoaked or rich in oak. The winemaker can cultivate and create the style that they love, for us, we love a cooler climate Chardonnay with light to minimal oak because we want the varietal characteristics to shine through.

Our McBride Sisters Collection Central Coast Chardonnay 2019 is a wine we cannot live without. It’s a crowd pleaser at all of our events and one of our favorite wines to sip with a summer cheeseboard. This is not your gramma's Chardonnay. Drinks well with salmon garnished with fresh dill, Alfredo pasta with spring peas, or grilled portobello mushrooms. It’s not only a seasonal wine, you’ll find our glasses filled with Chardonnay all year round. 

This white wine is the perfect match for fresh seafood, buttery chicken, and caramelized vegetable dishes. A wine we love, always have in our wine rack and part of the story of Robin’s journey into winemaking. Celebrate this wonderful wine with us as we delve into the history, pairing suggestions, and recipes for Chardonnay. 

We recently released our new McBride Sisters Collection Reserve Santa Lucia Highlands Chardonnay 2019. This wine, called The Great Escape is very special to us and comes from one of the most incredible winegrowing regions in California. The Santa Lucia Highlands are located in Monterey County, California and given the proximity to the Pacific Ocean, unique topography and California sunshine, you're left with what we think are some of the best vineyards in the world. The Great Escape embodies our love for the Chardonnay grape, the beauty of Monterey County and the childhood memories that have brought us to winemaking.

“When I was a baby, my mom drove our bright red Volkswagen bug up the Pacific Coast Highway from LA to a small town called Monterey. This is where I fell in love with vineyards and winemaking.” - Robin McBride

Learn more about the story behind the name and label on our website here. 

The Chardonnay Grape 

The world’s most popular white wine originated in the Burgundy region of France, with the earliest reference to the wine dating back to 1330. It wasn’t until the 18th century that Chardonnay was introduced to California by Spanish missionaries who planted the first vineyards in Alta California. The popularity of the light green grape grew rapidly over time, now being responsible for over 93,148 acres of vineyards, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s annual 2018 report. 

A rich, buttery flavor is what comes to the majority of people’s minds when they hear “California Chardonnay.” But that’s because that style of California Chardonnay become widely produced and popular until more recently. California has varying regions and microclimates that have a range of cool and warm climate conditions in the vineyards.

Other than California and France, Chardonnay is also cultivated in the majority of major wine regions around the world, from New Zealand to Chile, and Australia to South Africa. All producing great wines in unique and regional styles. Our Reserve Chardonnay is breaking away from the overly oaked style and using minimal oak to complement the grape and terroir characteristics instead of overpowering it. The maritime influence from the vineyard proximity to the ocean gives this wine it's special and delicious qualities. See the where the vineyard is located below.

Chardonnay is a chameleon of a wine, with its flavors varying depending on the terroir (where it is grown and the climate, soil and topography conditions of the region), and the winemaking decisions, including how much new oak that is used in the ageing process and how long it’s in contact. Cooler climate Chardonnays can have gorgeous notes of apricots and citrus, and warmer climates can showcase tropical fruit and honey flavors. 

The Ideal Pairing Dos and Don'ts

The perfect wine of the summer, Chardonnay is an easy wine for food pairings due to its versatile flavor profile. Whether you feel like whipping up a refreshing seafood salad, or a spring vegetable risotto, Chardonnay is the ideal drink to accompany you on a warm summer day. Below are our families pairing dos and don’ts to make sure you have the best experience possible. Cheers!

Dos

  • Serve Chardonnay with mild, creamy or buttery dishes.
  • Accompany with hearty fishes such as cod or halibut as well as shellfish, such as shrimp, crab, lobster, clams, scallops, oysters, and mussels.
  • Pair with pork and poultry dishes that have subtle flavors and plain seasonings.
  • Accompany oaky Chardonnay with foods that have a smoked or toasty flavor, such as roasted nuts or baked bread. 
  • Pair Chardonnay with sweet flavored and silky textured foods, such as caramelized roast vegetables, sweet corn, creamy soups, and risottos. 

Don’ts

  • Pair with aggressively, overseasoned foods and spicy dishes typically found in Indian and Southeast Asian meals. Also avoid pungent or over flavored cheeses. 
  • Pair with acidic or bitter foods that can make the Chardonnay taste sour or enhance the bitter aftertaste. 
  • Leave Chardonnay sitting on the table, or serve it too cold as this can reduce it’s pairing abilities. Aim to remove the bottle 15 to 20 minutes from the fridge and let it warm up to approximately 40 degrees.

Recipes 

Now that we have run through the dos and don’ts of food pairings, it's time to indulge in some delicious food recipes to try this season. Whip them up for your next happy hour on the patio, cheeseboard at the park or girls night at home.


Cheese Pairings & Snacks

Pair unoaked Chardonnay with soft and creamy cheeses such as Brie, Camembert, Mozzarella and Ricotta. Oaked Chardonnay pairs well with semi-soft aged cheeses with nutty flavors, such as Gruyère, Emmental and Comté.

Salmon Rillettes

 

The rich, buttery flavors of this French-inspired dish pair perfectly with our fruity, yet balanced McBride Sisters Collection Central Coast Chardonnay. These salmon rillettes make a delicious appetizer, or a snack to take for a picnic on the beach!

Image via Food and Wine & recipe here.


Main Dishes

The main course. You can sip on Chardonnay by itself, with appetizers, entrées and even dessert. These are our go-to summer recipes using fresh seafood and savory chicken. Do you have a favorite Chardonnay pairing?

Chef John's Bay Scallop Chowder

 

Scallops and Chardonnay are a match made in heaven, and this creamy chowder, complete with Yukon Gold potatoes, is no exception. This dish makes an excellent meal for a dinner party, or a chill night at home where you want to indulge in comfort foods. 

Image via All Recipes & recipe here.

 

 


Dijon-Tarragon Cream Chicken

 

The chicken dish we make every week, a Dijon-Tarragon Cream Chicken recipe that is full of Chardonnay-lovin’ ingredients. Pair with a fresh side salad and a glass of our crispy and beautifully balanced McBride Sisters Collection Reserve Santa Lucia Highlands Chardonnay 2019 and you’re all set for a summer date night, solo or with company.

Image via All Recipes & recipe here.


Dessert

Butter Pecan Crunch

 

Ice-cream makes the ideal summer treat anytime, but when combined with vanilla and butter pecan flavors, the result is a mouthwatering dessert that pairs perfectly with the lemon curd and honey flavors of our McBride Sisters Collection Central Coast Chardonnay. 

Image via Spaceships and Laser Beams & recipe here.


For us, Chardonnay is so much more than just a wine, it is part of our heritage and heart, it is an origin story. Taste our Chardonnays and get ready for your next summer feast by ordering on our website here or finding the wines in store near you. Get out and enjoy your summer, one glass of Chardonnay at a time!

Xoxo,

 

Time Posted: Jul 15, 2021 at 10:00 AM Permalink to A McBride Guide to Chardonnay Permalink
Robin McBride
 
June 30, 2021 | Robin McBride

Grilling Season with the McBride Sisters

Now that we're well into summer, Andréa and I are in our favorite wine & food pairing season. Grilling season. As you might have heard in Wine 101 our free Facebook course teaching you about all things wine, the McBride family loves a great BBQ. Our favorite pairing, BBQ Bacon Cheeseburgers and our McBride Sisters Collection Black Girl Magic Merlot — now available in the perfect red wine bundle on our website. What's yours? For some folks, especially those located in warmer climates, grilling season is an all-year round activity, and for others, the start of the summer season signifies outdoor activities, picnics, and grilling. Bring on the warm weather!

According to the 2020 “State of the Barbecue Industry” report from the Hearth, Patio and Barbecue Association, roughly two-thirds of adults in the United States own a grill or smoker. This means that one out of every three people you know owns a grill. So if you’re not one of them, it’s likely that one of your friends or family does. We know that sharing is caring, so if you’re a grill-owner, invite your friends and family over for a summer cookout, and if you’re not, buy the necessary grilling supplies and take them to your bestie with a grill. How could they not love you for it?

Since the month of July is National Grilling Month, there’s no better time than the present to start prepping your grilling events. From planning your menu to conserving the food, we’ve got you covered. Stay safe, get outside, and let's get grilling!

McBride Guide to Grilled Food & Wine Pairings

We like to break the rules. That's why we don't let the rules about which wines to drink in a specific season ever stop us. We're drinking rosé in the winter and red wine in the summer! All year around we're sipping on our favorite wines. But there's a little secret about grilled food and wine pairings that we can't wait to share. It's time for red wines to shine. 

There is nothing better than meat or veggies right off the grill & a sip of a perfectly chilled red wine. That's right, chilled red wine is here and ready to play! We don't mean ice cold, but given the warmer temps, it's nice to keep your red wines on ice to bring them to the perfect temperature during your family BBQ. When we drink red wine in the summer we feel bold & boujie, that's why our new Bold & Boujie red wine bundle is your grilling season must have. Order yours on the website here.

Flavor Hacks to Step Up Your Grilling Game

Looking to add some punch to your grilling flavors, but not sure where to start? Try these simple, yet incredibly effective flavor hacks that will have you quickly crowned the Grilling King. 

  • Who else loves their meat juicy and succulent, with a slight tinge of apple? If you’re not salivating yet, you soon will be when you try spraying your meat with apple cider or apple juice. This trick works wonders on pork and chicken. 
  • Herbs really are the spice of life. To revitalize your traditional grilling brush, tie a bunch of fresh herbs onto a wooden spoon, dip your new brush into oil, and use it to paint your produce in a new and flavorsome way. 
  • Prevent fish from sticking to the grill by cooking it on lemon slices. This hack provides two benefits: delicious, lemony fish that also saves you the headache of scraping it off the grill.
  • Turn your grill into a DIY smoker with two simple tools: aluminium foil and wood chips (such as oak or hickory). Create a pouch out of the aluminium foil, throw in some wood chips, poke some holes in the top of the pouch, and add it to the grill. The pouch will slowly begin to release a smoky flavor and add a unique taste to what you are cooking. 

Must Try Grill Recipes + Wine Pairings 

What’s cooking? Whether you’re a dedicated carnivore, a chicken lover, or a herbivore, there is something that can be thrown on the grill for everyone!

A Delicious Starter: Grilled Chicken Shawarma 

Bursting with deliciously fresh Middle Eastern flavors, this grilled chicken shawarma is not only fast and simple, it is perfect for summer as it goes well with fresh salads such as tabouli, or dips like hummus or tzatziki. 

Image via feastingathome.com
Get the recipe here.
 

Wine Pairing: Grilling chicken adds smokiness to the flavor, which stronger, acidic wines match perfectly. Our bold, jammy Black Girl Magic 2018 Zinfandel will be your new favorite pairing. The gorgeous fresh plum, dried cherry and delicate crushed black pepper in the wine will bring out the seasoned chicken and hummus. Available in the Bold & Boujie red wine pack.

For the Herbivores: Portobello Mushroom Veggie Burger

A veggie burger so good it’s adored by both vegetarians and meat-eaters alike, we knew we had to include it. This portobello mushroom burger is incredibly succulent, with juicy mushrooms fresh off the grill it makes the perfect summer dinner.

Image via Love & Lemons
Get the recipe here.
 

Wine pairing: Due to the variety in flavors and richness that veggie burgers can have, they are often able to pair with a range of wines. A fruity red blend, such as our 2019 Central Coast California Red Blend which is a heavenly match for grilled portobello mushrooms with the wines cherry, plum and cedar notes. Available in our Bold & Boujie red wine pack. 

For the Meat Lovers: Churrasco with Chimichurri Sauce


Photo via Sweet Tea and Thyme
Get the recipe here.
 

Wine Pairing: As the saying goes, red meat gets red wine. Steak pairs well with a variety of red wines, and you will find that our Black Girl Magic 2018 Merlot or the Black Girl Magic 2019 California Red Blend will each pair perfectly with churrasco, and will complement the heavy garlic in the chimichurri with individual fruity notes. All available in our Bold & Boujie red wine pack. 

Grill + Play

We’ve got a jam-packed weekend ahead of us for this Fourth of July celebration, there are countless options for grilling cookout fun! Spending time with family and loved ones is important, and what better way to do it than over a hot, smoking grill?

If you’re planning a big get together, be sure to pick up some of Black Girl Magic Bubbly Red and Rosé mixed 12-pack of cans, which are perfect for larger groups and come in two refreshing flavors that are sure to cool you down on a summer’s day. Our new Bubbly Red can has juicy pomegranate, strawberry and ripe blackberry. Always serve chilled for a refreshing BBQ outdoor party.

Other Grilling Essentials 

The secret to enjoying a perfect grill is careful preparation and mindful cooking. It would be a shame to have all your food go to waste over careless grilling that resulted in overcooking! Here’s a few other tips to make sure you make the most of your grilling day, so that you can sit back, relax, and enjoy a glass of wine:

  • Keep everything sanitary and clean. Make sure everyone that is handling food has washed their hands and doesn’t touch their face while handling any food.
  • Store the food in a cooler or somewhere cold until it is ready to cook. Leaving meats and fresh produce out for too long can allow bacteria to develop.
  • Be mindful not to mix raw and cooked foods, and keep them separate at all times to avoid any bacteria from raw foods contaminating the cooked meals. 
  • Keep salads and other cold items chilled on ice to stay fresh. 

Now that you’ve got your recipes, prep, and events planned, the next step is to get your grilling crew together! We hope you have a wonderful grilling season & National Grilling Month— let's get sizzling one delicious glass of wine at a time.

Xoxo,

 

Time Posted: Jun 30, 2021 at 9:08 AM Permalink to Grilling Season with the McBride Sisters Permalink
Andréa McBride
 
June 16, 2021 | Andréa McBride

#TracingOurRoots through Barbados

We’re celebrating Black History long after the month of February. Through Juneteenth, we are #TracingOurRoots through the African Diaspora by highlighting different cities, countries and regions. For each region we focus on, Robin & I are hoping to celebrate the traditions, culture and cuisine that have been influenced by the routes of migration of African peoples. For our next stop, we’re on the beautiful island of Barbados, located off the Southeastern coast of the United States in the Carribean. A one-of-a-kind region, Barbados is a country with a unique history that contains traces of a multitude of ethnic influences. It also happens to be where my husband is from, please enjoy our photos from the trips we’ve taken back to his home.

Since the 13th century, the island has been inhabited by the Kalinago indigenous people, and other Amerindians after. It was then invaded by Spanish settlers in the 15th century, followed by the Portuguese Empire who abandoned it in 1620. Less than ten years later in 1627, ships from England colonized the island to became the first permanent settlers and they brought the African slave trade along with them. 

Through its complex history, a strong and incredibly vibrant culture has emerged, resulting in unforgettable cuisine, arts and style that people from all over the world travel to experience. Pack your bags and join us as we hit the easy breezy Carribean island of Barbados, one delicious glass of wine at a time.

Image via wikiwand.com

An Island of Traditions 

Barbadian, or Bajan traditions are a fusion of West African and British practices that have resulted in a range of electrifying festivals, intricate arts and crafts, and extravagant performances. 

Landship

Landship is an inherent part of Bajan culture, with origins dating back to the 1800s. It is best described as a theatrical group that performs complex dances reflecting the passage of ships traveling through rugged seas and the adventures that occur onboard. 

The performers wear costumes similar to those worn in the navy and the dance is based around the structure of the British Navy but they are performed to an African rhythm that is typically accompanied by a Tuk band, another intrinsic part of Bajan culture.

Image via Nationnews.com

 

The Crop Over Festival

The Crop Over Festival is an exciting, vibrant 200 year old festival that marks the end of the sugar cane season. Rooted deep in the colonial history of Barbados, when sugar cane ruled the island, this festival is now all about celebrating creativity from indigenous art and crafts to flower and folk performances. Lasting for three months starting in August, the finale of the festival marks the most exciting day of the year when you will hear Bajans say: "Crop Over it sweet fuh days!" This gives us a reason to stay in Barbados for three months, you coming?

Dancers at the Crop Over Festival. Image via theglassmagazine.com
 

The Food

As a small island with an incredibly vast culinary heritage, get ready for a melting pot of incredible flavors from India, Africa and England that combine to create a range of unique, varied dishes that intrigue all the senses. 

With an abundance of fresh produce, local Bajans produce an array of tasty dishes including macaroni pie, fish cakes, bakes, cassava pone, salt bread, rice and peas, conkies, coconut turnovers, and of course, the national dish. 

Ask any Bajan what to eat in Barbados and they point you towards the national dish - flying fish and cou cou. Flying fish is a native fish and is so important that it’s featured on the country’s national currency. Barbados, at one point in history, was referred to as the “island of the flying fish” due to the abundance of flying fish that inhabited the waters. The fish tastes great on its own, steamed with acidic lime juice or fried, however, with cou cou, which is similar to grits or polenta in texture, it’s a dish you’ll never forget.

Fried flying fish image via trip101.com
 

The Recipes

Flying Fish & Cou Cou

You know we love the iconic flying fish, however, it’s time to share the wonders of cou cou. Made from a combination of cornmeal and okra, cou cou is a warming comfort dish that you will come across at many restaurants in Barbados. Tasting like a savory porridge, cou cou pairs perfectly with spicier Bajan dishes too. If you want to follow Bajan tradition, prepare this dish on a Friday or Saturday, or throw it together mid-week for a delicious work day indulge. Your tastebuds will love you for it. 

Get the recipe here. 

The Wine Pairing

 

Flying fish is a mild white fish, with a firm, tender texture, similar to cod or haddock. If you’re able to fry your fish at home we’d recommend pairing it with a chilled glass of our McBride Sisters Collection Black Girl Magic NV California Sparkling Brut as the bubbles will balance the delicious greasy fried fish and complement the diverse flavors in the dish.

If your fish is grilled or baked, this medium-textured fish would pair beautifully with an aromatic white wine with high acidity. Sound familiar? Pair this traditional dish with our McBride Sisters Collection Black Girl Magic Riesling, the aromatics will complement the fish and the high acidity will travel to the end of every bite of the fish and cou cou.

For the Cocktail Lovers

 

Being the birthplace of rum, it goes without saying that we absolutely must include a rum-based recipe. We’ve taken this Barbados Rum punch recipe and given it a twist with our McBride Sisters Collection Black Girl Magic NV California Sparkling Brut, since you already have the bottle open from the wine pairing above! Enjoy, and as the Bajans say, time flies when you’re having rum!

What we're making: Barbados Rum Punch

 

Ingredients 

 

2 ounces aged Barbados rum (such as Mount Gay)

1 ounce fresh lime juice

1 ounce rich simple syrup (2 parts sugar, 1 part water)

1 dash Angostura bitters

McBride Sisters Collection Black Girl Magic NV California Sparkling Brut

Nutmeg and lime wheel, to garnish

Image and original recipe via liquor.com

 

Method

Add all ingredients into a shaker with ice and shake.

Strain into a Collins glass over fresh ice.

Top up with McBride Sisters Collection Black Girl Magic NV California Sparkling Brut

Garnish with a pinch of freshly grated nutmeg and a lime wheel.


Robin and I have loved taking this trip to Barbados with you. From vibrant food to mesmerizing performances and strong traditions this is a country we believe should be on everyone’s bucket list. Now, for our next and final stop… we’re heading to NOLA! 

Xoxo,

 

 

 

 

 

Time Posted: Jun 16, 2021 at 8:30 AM Permalink to #TracingOurRoots through Barbados Permalink
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