CBD cocktails are taking bars by storm. What gives? Turns out cannabis can transform that hangover maker into an elevating health tonic. We can’t promise adding CBD to a cocktail will heal your soul or erase intoxicated behavior… but we can promise it’ll make for an interesting sojourn while tipping drinks at the bar or sipping them at home.
Thanks to some rave celebrity endorsements of the virtues of CBD, bars and restaurants in cannabis-legal states have started adding this non-psychoactive cannabinoid into coffees, cocktails, and even main course dishes.
Here’s our roundup of some of the juiciest confessions we found from mixologists and restauranteurs who are making CBD cocktails a mainstay on their menu…
West Hollywood’s Maxwell Reis on mixing and pairing CBD cocktails
Courtesy of a feature on Goop.com:
“Maxwell Reis’ CBD cocktails at Gracias Madre, the vegan Mexican restaurant in West Hollywood, are justly famous: He was one of the first people we know to incorporate CBD into cocktails, and he’s definitely one of the most talented. Reis not only answered all of our mixing and pairing questions, but also developed four insanely delicious cocktails just for us.”
You use both CBD oil and CBD tinctures in your cocktails. What’s the difference?
The difference is that CBD oil is, unsurprisingly, oil-based, while CBD tinctures are alcohol-based. Outside of the flavor of the base CBD (which can be tailored depending on brand), the two forms do integrate differently into the cocktail itself. Oil floats on top of the drink, which can be great if you want those enjoying the cocktail to see the oil and smell it as they take a sip. It also integrates well into any cocktail with a healthy foam or head on it, trapping it in the upper layer.
Although there is a benefit to smelling the floating oil as you take each sip, it can often leave some oil at the bottom of your glass after the cocktail is finished. Tincture integrates into a cocktail seamlessly just like any other alcohol, so you get every last drop! I like the option of both at my disposal, but I find myself using tincture 90 percent of the time.
What’s the right dose?
It varies from person to person, but most CBD brands recommend starting with 25 mg and increasing or decreasing your dose from there. Because we’re mixing it with alcohol, we usually stick to 15 mg per drink. That being said, we keep our ears to the ground as product knowledge evolves, and we always recommend that anyone using CBD (medicinally or recreationally) do the same.
Featured CBD Cocktail
CBD Mezcal Margarita
“Get your daily dose of greens in more ways than one: The smoky mezcal, vegetal Aquavit, and CBD team up with your favorite green juice to create a flavor profile that Cheech and Chong could get behind.”
Brooklyn’s Zsolt Csonka on CBD’s focus-fortifying and hangover-defying benefits
Courtesy of a feature on The New York Times:
“Fewer hangovers is also the sales pitch at Adriaen Block, a bar in the Astoria neighborhood of Queens that whips up CBD-infused negronis and old-fashioned cocktails. “You can maintain a conversation and know what you are saying,” said Zsolt Csonka, who owns the bar and mixes drinks there. “After two or three drinks, you’ll be able to go to the gym the next day.”
What is the magic behind your coveted soothing cocktails that are chilling out New York City?
The key is balancing CBD with low alcohol-content liquors and bitters. I thought it would be a very interesting concept to do a different kind of, uh, happy infusions with low-alcohol liquors. For both the flavor profile and the relaxing state of mind.
Featured CBD Cocktail
The Bakin’ & Eggs
The Bakin’ & Eggs with Pineau des Charentes, Lillet Blanc, blood-orange bitters, egg white, and crispy bacon.
Photo: Nitzan Rubin
Misunderstood’s JP & Chris on the seductive coupling of a Whiskey CBD Cocktail
Courtesy of Misunderstood Whiskey Co:
“From knowing the right dosages to finding perfectly complimentary ingredients, perfect CBD cocktails are not unattainable. Although many critics argue well-balanced CBD cocktails begins with a vodka base, finely crafted whiskey is a strong contender for an exquisite CBD drink.”
Whiskey is a distinctive drink. It packs a punch and holds nothing back in the flavor department, which is why a cannabis compound oil or tincture is the perfect complement to a whiskey-based cocktail. Both whiskey and cannabis hold such power in their flavors that when combined together the infusion creates a drink that’s twice as nice.
On the flavor front, expert mixologists advise going big or going home. Mix strong flavor with complementary strong flavor in order to achieve the best drink results. And what this boils down to is knowing your alcohol and finding a CBD or THC strain that matches the notes of the alcohol instead of distracting from it. For instance, if you’re drinking a deep and earthy Scotch, find a deep and earthy cannabis tincture or oil for a perfectly balanced pairing.
Featured CBD Cocktail
Mixing Up a New Orleans Classic
* Recipe is originally seen in Warren Bobrow’s book Cannabis Cocktails, Mocktails, & Tonics
- Marijuana smoke, to flavor the mixing glass
- 1/2 ounce (15 ml) CBD Straight Bourbon
- 1/2 ounce (15 ml) sweet vermouth
- 1/4 ounce Calvados
- 3-4 shakes Creole-style bitters
- 2-3 shakes aromatic bitters
- Spritz of infused absinthe
Before you fill your mixing glass with ice, turn it upside down and burn some cannabis under it to fill it with smoke. Turn it right side up, and immediately fill it three-quarters full with ice. (Now you’ve made smoked ice!) Add all the other ingredients except the absinthe, and stir fifty times. Strain into a pre-chilled glass, and finish with a spritz of Infused Absinthe.
A final favorite from Jason Eisner, beverage director at Gracias Madre
Courtesy of Liquor.com:
Eisner has been mixing with CBD and THC personally for many years and recently started serving non-psychoactive CBD-laced cocktails at Gracias Madre. Eisner echoes Rowley’s opinion, saying, “The effects of THC tend to be far more powerful when consumed as a food or beverage. When ingesting marijuana in bulk, some people have even likened their experience to psychedelic drugs.” Even an experienced marijuana smoker will have a vastly different experience with edibles or, in this case, drinkables. In the case of cocktails, where people often drink more than one a night, the outcome is highly unpredictable.
Featured CBD Cocktail
A flashy and fun CBD hemp oil and tequila cocktail by Jason Eisner at Gracias Madre is oh-so-California.