Warren Bobrow’s Fresh Toast Fizzy

Behold the magic of raspberry shrub and cannabis simple syrup.

Real shrubs are for your cocktail glass. And no, they are not the kind that take up room in your front yard. Shrubs are an almost unheard-of combination of both vinegar and preserved fruit and cane sugar syrup. During the late summer months, they are especially delicious because they are cost next to nothing to make and quite thirst slaking. They also mix really nicely with Cannabis in a cocktail made with rum.

The history of shrubs dates back hundreds of years. They were most frequently used into the mid-1800s. The people who enjoyed them were amongst the working class and mostly because of the utter lack of refrigeration. No electricity, meaning no refrigeration for food preservation means all bad things to the gut.

But everything isn’t gloom and doom. Enter this home-made, vinegar based- fruit syrup. Shrubs were an inexpensive, sweet refreshment that could be added to a multitude of alcoholic liquids. People found that drinking certain kinds of acidulated liquids like these preserved fruit shrubs helped ease their aching bellies from the consumption of ‘certainly compromised foods and drink’.

Drinking these easy to make and easier to enjoy- sweet and tangy beverages were found to give the imbiber quick energy, too. Were they the first energy drinks? Possibly…

Fast forward to today, mixologists have rediscovered the magic of utilizing fresh fruit and vegetable shrubs in their craft cocktails. And now aficionados are starting to toy with them at home because of their ease in production.

Shrubs can be simply made with only three easy-to-purchase ingredients: raw sugar, some kind of vinegar and just over-ripe fruit, plus a bit of fresh water. They have a salty, sea-like undertone after they ferment for a few weeks, but are also sweet and tart. The fruit gives a deeply welcome hit of sweet perfume, the cane sugar (essential) sweetens naturally, and the unmistakable tang of your favorite vinegar makes your lips pucker, and few things are more salutary for the gut than naturally fermented beverages. Shrubs really were the original energy and health drink. And now it looks like this tangy combination of flavors have received their second wind!

Note: These shrubs will remain fresh for 1 to 2 months in the refrigerator, unless until they start to dance the jig and sing in Gaelic, then make a new batch immediately!

Summer Raspberry Shrub
(Makes about 1.5 cups)

This very basic shrub makes all kinds of refreshing combinations. Although the raspberry shrub starts out vividly red, in the end result, after a couple of weeks fermenting; the shrub will have a

pale coral hue. It’s delicious mixed with gin, vodka, rum, whiskey, Madeira, a smoky Scotch, Sherry, white wine, sparkling wine- and of course just plain water like they used to drink in the Colonial period!

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup very ripe organic raspberries (they can be bruised and soft, but please, no mold)
  • 1 cup raw cane sugar (Sugar in the Raw or like product)
  • 1 cup raw cider vinegar (I use Bragg’s with the Mother Yeast intact)

Directions:

  • In a nonreactive bowl made of either ceramic or glass (or possibly stainless), add raspberries and pour sugar over the top.
  • Cover and let sit refrigerated for a few days, stirring and muddling often with a wooden spoon to combine. This mixture should expel lots of liquid, and this is good!
  • After a few days of gentle fermentation, add the apple cider vinegar. Let the vinegar combine with the sugar and raspberries for another week refrigerated. (Cellar temperature if you want to be absolutely authentic)
  • Arrange a fine-mesh strainer over a nonreactive bowl (one with a spout is handy). Pour the shrub mixture into the strainer and mash with a wooden spoon to extract as much liquid as possible.
  • Funnel the shrub into sterilized jars, this means submerged in boiling water for at least a minute and removed with sterilized rubber tipped tongs.
  • Cover and refrigerate (or cellar temp) for at least a week more, shaking well before using.

The assertive vinegar flavor will fade over time, leaving you a lightly thick- simple syrup that is tangy, sweet and very noteworthy!

Tip: A simple way to enjoy this raspberry shrub is with a glass of seltzer water and the addition of a few slivers of lemon zest. I also like to add it to gin!

Cannabis Infused Simple Syrup
(Use strain of your choice)

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups raw cane sugar – like sugar in the raw
  • 3 cups filtered water
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable glycerin (this helps supercharge the cannabis)
  • 3 or more grams finely chopped, ultra-high-grade cannabis

Directions:

  • The first thing you have to do is measure out equal parts of sugar and water then bring the water to a boil.
  • Drop the heat down, just a bit- you’ll know when you see the sugar turning to caramel that it’s too hot!
  • Add in your finely chopped cannabis and stir in until the sugar has been completely dissolved.
  • Cover the pot and bring it to a quick simmer (do not boil!) for about 30 minutes.
  • Cool for ½ hour, bring back up to a simmer. Stir in the vegetable glycerin. Strain.
  • Let cool again, and refrigerate for up to two weeks.
  • h-1-warren-bobrows-cannabis-infused-fresh-toast-fizzy
  • Fresh Toast Fizzy
    (Serves 2)

    Ingredients:

    • large handmade ice cubes
    • 4 ounces independent producer rum- think no chill filtering or any added caramel for color (the real thing)
    • 1 ounce Raspberry Shrub
    • 1 ounce cannabis tincture infused simple syrup (using the strain and amount of your choice)
    • 4 dashes Angostura Bitters
    • splash of fizzy water

    Directions:

    • Fill a cocktail shaker three-quarters full with ice.
    • Pour in your rum, your handmade Shrub and the simple syrup (either cannabis infused or not) over the ice.
    • Cover, cap and shake hard for 15 seconds or until the shaker is really frosty.
    • Add a large ice cube to each of 2 coupe glasses. Strain cocktail into each of the glasses, dash the Angostura over the top of each glass (2 dashes each) and serve while icy with a splash of fizzy water of course!
    • Use the Thai spice principle. You can always add more spice- but you can never take it away!

    NEVER more than one per hour…

  • http://thefreshtoast.com/drink/warren-bobrows-cannabis-infused-fresh-toast-fizzy/

A Conversation with Author Warren Bobrow Plus Cannabis Cocktail Recipes!

We hear a lot about cannabis edibles, but what about pot potables? Warren Bobrow’s new book, Cannabis Cocktails, Mocktails, and Tonics: The Art of Spirited Drinks and Buzzworthy Libations (2016, Fairwinds) is now the definitive work on the topic. Beautifully produced and filled with lots of gorgeous full color photography, the hard cover book would make an excellent gift for all your toking and imbibing friends.

The publishers knew what they were doing when choosing Bobrow, master mixologist and creator of the popular Cocktail Whisperer blog, to tackle this topic. What follows is a collection of elegant artisanal marijuana infused drinks. Even better, Warren gives you the building blocks you will need to create your own liquid cannabis concoctions too. Not only will you learn to infuse all your favorite liquors, but also popular drink mixers like simple syrup, milk, cream, coconut cream, and maple syrup. He even teaches you how to make marijuana infused cocktail cherries!

“I tried so hard to make a difference by writing the first book on the topic,” says Bobrow. “I learned a lot while doing. I experimented on myself. It wasn’t always pretty. But I learned. I hope to change the way we do things. My drinks are delicious.”

Bobrow is a stickler for details, which in turn makes his cannabis cocktails drinkable pieces of culinary art. Quality ingredients and artisan techniques are emphasized throughout the book, right down to pairing the proper strain for each drink in order to maximize the cocktail’s full flavor potential. Bobrow is not trying to disguise the flavor of marijuana in his drinks, rather he uses it to actually enhance the flavor of his cannabis cocktails.

I recently had the chance to ask Warren Bobrow some questions about his new book and the controversial topic of Cannabis Cocktails. Here’s what he said.

Interview with Warren Bobrow, author of Cannabis Cocktails, Mocktails & Tonics
Cheri Sicard: What inspired you to combine cannabis and alcohol?
Warren Bobrow: I work in the liquor space, but I prefer cannabis for the feeling I get. I’m not a fan of being drunk, so I hardly drink any longer. I’ve always been fascinated by healing, in its many forms. I grew up on a biodynamic farm in NJ that belonged to my family, so folk healing was always nurtured. I always enjoyed science and found the experimentation enlightening!

Cheri Sicard:. Why does alcohol make such a good carrier for marijuana?
Warren Bobrow: Alcohol works! And it tastes good. And my cocktails absolutely rock the house!! And you do get stoned!! No bullshit cbd oil made from hemp in my drinks thank you!

 

Cannabis Cocktail: The Future is Uncertain and The End is Always Near

Cannabis Cocktail: The Future is Uncertain and The End is Always Near

 

Cheri Sicard: What advice do you have for people who are new to imbibing with the combination of both alcohol and cannabis?
Warren Bobrow: Don’t drive. Go slow.

Cheri Sicard: Do you have any special insider tips for those infusing alcohol for the first time?
Warren Bobrow: No open flame! Don’t be that person that blows up your home. I’m serious!!!!! Also, go low and slow. My recipes are geared for holistic healing. Not recreational. I don’t want to send the wrong message, nor make a play for the stoner set. That’s not my game. So healing should be the mantra. Take the Thai food principal. Start with a little spice and add more as you need it. Same thing with cannabis and alcohol.

Cannabis Cocktail: The Future is Uncertain and The End is Always Near

http://www.cannabischeri.com/recipes/cannabis-cocktail-recipe-future-uncertain-end-always-near/

Cheri Sicard: Do you have any words for the critics who think one “intoxicant” is bad enough, now we are encouraging two”?
Warren Bobrow: Drugs are bad. Alcohol is bad. Breathing underwater is bad. Eating fast food is bad. Yelling fire in a crowded theater is bad. My late father, when he learned I wrote a book about cannabis cocktails disowned me. That’s bad too. More? I get angry about the liquor people vilifying cannabis and the cannabis people vilifying liquor. I not so secretly think that they should be together. And guess what? They are delicious together!

Honey Duke Relaxer – Marijuana Boba Tea

Honey Duke Relaxer – Marijuana Boba Tea

 

Cheri Sicard: What is your personal favorite marijuana cocktail and why?
Warren Bobrow: My favorite cocktail invokes New Orleans and it’s the Vieux Carre. I take absinthe from Lucid and infuse it with about 1/2 oz of Tangerine (a sativa strain) and mix it with Barrell Bourbon whiskey and finish it with some Peychaud’s Bitters for good gastric health. It’s served icy cold, always stirred, never shaken, with a nice slice of orange zest always cut with a paring knife, never a peeler.

Cheri Sicard:. Who is the target audience for you new book?
Warren Bobrow: People who are interested in craft cocktails and alternative ingredients like bitters and shrubs. Those who appreciate craft cocktail ingredients and handmade, delicious concoctions that offer a high level of flavor in each sip. Ages 21 and up, endgame.

Cannabis Cocktail: Honey Duke Relaxer

http://www.cannabischeri.com/recipes/cannabis-cocktail-marijuana-boba-tea/

Cannabis Cocktail – Potato Head Blues

Cannabis Cocktail – Potato Head Blues

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cannabis Cocktail – Potato Head Blues

http://www.cannabischeri.com/recipes/cannabis-cocktail-potato-head-blues/

– See more at: http://drinkwire.liquor.com/post/a-conversatioSample Cannabis Cocktail Recipes from Warren Bobrow’s New Book Cannabis Cocktails
– See more at: http://drinkwire.liquor.com/post/a-conversation-with-author-warren-bobrow-plus-cannabis-cocktail-recipes#gs.eCVjtok – Read more at: http://scl.io/LOiZN6wi#gs.eCVjtok

Andrew Scrivani

Schiller's Restaurant: Photograph by Warren Bobrow

Schiller’s Restaurant: Photograph by Warren Bobrow

I met Andrew Scrivani through our mutual friends Gail Schoenberg and her husband/partner Rich Eldert.  Gail has a marvelous way connecting interesting people to people.  Part of the art of Public Relations is that genuine talent in recognizing this art.

Also at the table was Pichet Ong who is a world- renowned pastry chef.

We dined at the restaurant named the Orange Squirrel in New Jersey.

Andrew and I hit it off immediately and we discussed photography, light and food throughout our meal.  We kept in touch after our repast- something that is often difficult with highly divergent schedules and work demands.  It was almost a year until I saw Andrew again after trading some emails back and forth.

Andrew is also a freelance photographer for the New York Times.

My writing has progressed through the kindness of Joy E. Stocke, my editor at Wild River Review.  Then, a fortuitous meeting took place a couple weeks ago.  Andrew and I bumped into each other at a retail store out here in NJ.  I asked him if he would entertain a conversation about the Times, my writing and the project that will follow (just below) named the Five Questions.

Schiller's Restaurant: Photograph by Warren Bobrow

Schiller’s Restaurant: Photograph by Warren Bobrow

Andrew is a kind and generous, gentleman.  He took me out to lunch in NYC to hash out some ideas, get to know each other- and share a meal at Schiller’s on the Lower East Side.

It was here that I asked him to participate in my project for Wild River Review/Wild Table.  Without further delay, may I present Andrew Scrivani!

Andrew Scrivani: Photo Credit: Soo-Jeong Kang

Andrew Scrivani: Photo Credit: Soo-Jeong Kang

WRR: Where are you from?

I am a life long New Yorker. I grew up on the North Shore of Staten Island and have lived most of my adult life in Brooklyn and Manhattan.  Some of my family goes back 3 generations on Staten Island, proudly before the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge was built and the population increased five fold.  The not-so-politically- correct moniker the bridge wore as I was growing up was “The Guinea Gang Plank”.  The only place where there are more people of Italian descent per capita in the world is Italy.

Erselia "Sadie" Milo my great-grandmother courtesy of Andrew Scrivani

Erselia “Sadie” Milo my great-grandmother courtesy of Andrew Scrivani

WRR: Who taught you to cook? Mother? Father? Grandparents?

My main influence in the kitchen was my maternal great-grandmother. She was from Cefalu, Sicily and is the person I dedicated my blog to. In smaller roles were my maternal grandmother who taught me how to bake and my mother who I learned all of the basics from. A bit later on, when I ate vegetarian, my father’s younger brother taught me a bit about eating and cooking that way.

WRR: What are your earliest memories of food?

My first kitchen memory was a traumatic one. My grandmother was baking cookies for me because I was upset that my parents had left me and went on vacation when I was about 3. I climbed up to the counter and put my entire hand on a searing hot cookie sheet. I learned a few valuable lessons there, one, that hot cookie sheets are very, very dangerous…and two, that sympathy cookies had a very powerful effect on my recovery. It was then that I started to realize how food could affect mood and memory.

Pistachio Linzer Cookies: NYT CREDIT: Andrew Scrivani for The New York Times

APPETITE, Pistachio Linzer Cookies, with Orange Marmalade and Orange Blossom Water, baked and styled by Andrew Scrivani NYTCREDIT: Andrew Scrivani for The New York Times

WRR: What do you have in your freezer right now?

Most notably, I have a large roll of pigskin that I plan to make a bresaola with and put in a big pot of my grandmother’s Sunday Sauce. I also have 3 bottles of 8 year-old Haitian Rhum Barbancourt Reserve Speciale that my friend David brings home for me whenever he visits his in-laws there.

Maraschino Cherries Photo: Andrew Scrivani

Maraschino Cherries Photo: Andrew Scrivani

WRR: Any cocktail ingredients in your fridge?  Do you cure your own cherries?

I have do have some simple syrup and a jar of maraschino cherries that I cured for a photo shoot a little while ago.

When I was a kid my great-grandmother would grow fresh basil on the side of my grandfather’s house. In the spring, I would play in the yard with my brother and the air was warm and filled with the vibrant scent of the basil. It reminds me of my grandfather, who I was named after and was extremely close to. He died when I was 13 and I think about him a lot. That smell brings me right back to that house every time.

WRR: If you could be anywhere in the world at this very moment, where would that be and why?

In the South of France. I go there in my mind so often. I have such beautiful memories of Nice and Aix en Provence with my family. The light, the smells and the sea all got into my soul. I’ve been to so many enchanting places but it’s there that I wish I could snap my fingers and be there anytime I wanted.

Family shot of Soo-Jeong Kang, Niece Daniela Sabel, Daughter Julia Scrivani in Nice, France by Andrew Scrivani

Family shot of Soo-Jeong Kang, Niece Daniela Sabel, Daughter Julia Scrivani in Nice, France by Andrew Scrivani

WRR: Social media brought us together… (thank you!!!!) Do you use a Smart Phone?  Twitter? (will need link) Facebook? (will need link) LinkedIN?  Anything you want to say about the Real Time Internet and how it’s helped your career?

I am a tech junkie. I use a smartphone, a tablet, my laptop and anything else wired or unwired to communicate with people. I blog (makingsundaysauce.com), I am on Twitter (@andrewscrivani), on Facebook (Facebook.com/andrewscrivani), Instagram and to a smaller degree Linked In. I would have to say that social media has been a definitive game changer for photographers. Gone are the days where the only way you could get an editor’s attention was to send a post card or request a meeting. Now, through all of these outlets you can not only showcase your work but also make personal connections with the people who may want to hire you. They can see more than the work, they can see a bit more of your personality. I think it has helped me greatly because I am essentially a social person and like to get to know people. Social media has provided a gateway for more actual personal interaction. It has been a great icebreaker for me.

Thank you Andrew for your enlightening comments and powerful imagery.  Cheers!  wb

Meet the man who wrote the book on Cannabis cocktails

The age of cannabis cocktails has arrived—and if you ask writer and spirit brand ambassador Warren Bobrow, author of Cannabis Cocktails, Mocktails, & Tonics, it’s been a long time coming. The “Cocktail Whisperer,” as he has come to be known, has been experimenting with cannabis tinctures and infusions for decades, and is one of the first to publish a book detailing his recipes. And while many still view marijuana as an incorrigible vice, Bobrow’s is a much more academic and, at times, spiritual fascination.warren-bobrow-crop-web-690x460

Who is the Cocktail Whisperer?

Like most people in the cocktail industry, Warren Bobrow’s story is a bit of a meandering one. Originally trained as a saucier, his career began with a dish washing job at a restaurant in the seaside town of York Harbor, Maine. He eventually worked his way up to an executive chef position before turning south, starting his own fresh pasta business in Charleston, South Carolina in the late 1980s.

“Then we had Hurricane Hugo, and I lost everything,” he explained, rather matter-of-factly. “I moved back to New Jersey, where I was born and raised, and got a job that paid the bills and allowed me to save and have all the nice perks that go with that.”

They told me that America wasn’t ready for it yet, and I think in many ways they still aren’t.

What followed was a 20-year stint as an executive assistant in the banking industry, a job he mostly couldn’t stand. “I didn’t belong in the corporate world—everyone told me so, but I wasn’t listening,” he said. “I made good money and it was tough to leave. But eventually, I lost my job, and I had to figure out what the heck I was going to do.”

Bobrow had always been interested in writing, but by his own admission he didn’t know the first thing about it. Thanks to a connection through his previous employer, though, he got his first chance to prove himself in 2009.

“So I started writing about food and wine, which were the things I was comfortable with. I came across a magazine out in San Francisco called Served Raw, and they gave me a chance to write for them—but they couldn’t afford to pay me anything. They were founders of Amazon or something and they still convinced me they couldn’t afford it,” he laughed. “But it didn’t matter because I started creating things, making drinks.”

He ingratiated himself with the magazine’s editors, and eventually earned himself the moniker of Cocktail Whisperer. “When the magazine went out of business—you know how publications come and go—they gifted me the domain cocktailwhisperer.com, and I still use it today. I think it’s a fitting name, because I try to speak to ingredients from a melodic and nostalgic point of view.”

A Modern Apothecary

The craft cocktail movement was well underway by the time the Cocktail Whisperer came to be, but Bobrow found himself drawn to a relatively unexplored corner of the industry’s history: the apothecary shop. Not always the most reputable businesspeople (hence the archetypal “snake oil salesman”), these early pharmacists nevertheless played an important role in the development of many ingredients and recipes we take for granted today.

The Mezzrole Cannabis Cocktail

The Mezzrole Cocktail, via Cannabis Cocktails, Mocktails, and Tonics. Used with permission, c/o Fair Winds Press.

“My grandfather was in the patent pharmaceutical business. He made drugs that were sold in pharmacies all over the world. The colognes and aftershaves made him a wealthy man, but the over-the-counter pharmaceuticals made him a real fortune.”

Perhaps his most famous product was Geritol, an iron supplement that was cited for false advertising that “amounted to gross negligence and bordered on recklessness,” according to the FTC. “He always referred to it as selling ice to eskimos,” Bobrow recounted wryly.

It was, at least in part, this family connection that first piqued his curiosity about history of apothecaries. Rather than attempting to validate what was a pretty clearly unethical business, though, Bobrow has always viewed patent medicines as a manifestation of a much more ancient practice: traditional folk medicine.

His first book, Apothecary Cocktails, explores a number of turn-of-the-century recipes and ingredients that have left a mark on popular drinking culture, as well as the contemporary bars that have sought to revive them. But even back then, cannabis as a cocktail ingredient was squarely on Bobrow’s radar.

The Good Old Days of Cannabis Cocktails

“When I wrote my first book, Apothecary Cocktails, I wanted to include cannabis in it, because it has such a long and storied history as a pharmaceutical. But my publisher wouldn’t let me. They told me that America wasn’t ready for it yet, and I think in many ways they still aren’t.

These substances were used for years, and it was only because of the ‘drugs are bad’ movement that they’ve been erased from history.

As public opinion and the political landscape shifted over the last half-decade, though, he began to feel that the time was ripe for an in-depth exploration of the intersection between cannabis and alcohol—long-time bedfellows in the form of tinctures and infusions in the medicine cabinets of yesteryear.

“I was doing a book signing for my third book, Bitters and Shrub Syrup Cocktails, at the New Orleans Pharmacy Museum a while back. At the same time, they were doing a presentation on cannabis in the early pharmacy. I had my entire book written for me, right there!” he said, laughing. “The trick, though, was getting my publisher to even consider it.”

Bobrow got in touch with his editor, who informed him that the publishing house was actually considering a cannabis project for future release. He scrambled to put together a book proposal in three days, and to his delight, they accepted it.

The Culinary Side of Cannabis

One of the things Bobrow wanted to develop was a guide to the flavor profiles of different strains of cannabis—after all, the research that goes into drink development these days is far from trivial.

“I wanted to make drinks that were approachable from a flavor standpoint. You have things like Fernet-Brancawhich is so popular these days, you have all these amari and herbal digestifs on the market, and even vermouth is hot again. Those are all great for introducing people to cannabis as a cocktail ingredient, because they’ve paved the way for strong, herbal flavors in drinks.”

But unlike alcoholic ingredients, he also had to consider the different psychoactive properties of each. “For example, I tried infusing Absinthe Edouard with a high-quality indica strain. It created this wonderfully lucid, translucent feeling. It also makes a great Absinthe Frappé,” he said, chuckling.

“In the book, I describe a series of strains and give tasting notes, like someone would taste whiskey. The idea was to make a guide that would be useful for a cocktail bar, and talk about the interplay between different flavors and psychoactive effects.”

Not Just for the Stoners

One of the biggest challenges when it came to writing Cannabis Cocktails, though, was figuring out how to make it accessible to a wider audience than the typical stoner crowd. “What I wanted to present was a different take on healing, like the early apothecary,” he explained. “These substances were used for years and years, and it was only because of the ‘drugs are bad’ movement that they’ve been erased from history.”

Dramatis Personae Cannabis Cocktail

The Dramatis Personae Cocktail, via Cannabis Cocktails, Mocktails, and Tonics. Used with permission, c/o Fair Winds Press.

While the book has faced some backlash from anti-drug activists (and even a few cannabis proponents), it seems that Bobrow is sincerely concerned with ensuring that people enjoy his recipes responsibly. It seems like every other page of his book includes a warning about not overdoing it, and it’s one of the first subjects he brought up in our interview.

“This book is not for beginners,” he stressed, “and I try to make that very clear throughout. They’re strong drinks, even though we did our best to minimize their strength. I don’t recommend them to people who are just looking to party—ideally, they’ll introduce medical and recreational users to the rich history of cannabis in the healing arts.

“What affects me might not affect you the same way, and it might just completely destroy that guy over there,” he continued, pointing to an oblivious patron in the corner. “That’s why I stress: never more than one drink per hour. I take the Thai food principle. You can always get Thai food mild, and add more spice later. Once the spice is there, it’s not coming out. Same thing with a cannabis cocktail.”

The Future of Cannabis Cocktails

Despite the fact that recreational marijuana remains illegal throughout most of the United States, Cannabis Cocktails has been a hit nationwide. And based on its reception at this year’s Tales of the Cocktail, the bartending industry is itching for more opportunities to put his recipes to the test.

We don’t know what the future will hold, but if current trends continue, we wouldn’t be surprised to see a handful of other states joining Colorado and Washington in cannabis legalization this November. But it’s clear that no matter what, Warren Bobrow will be at the forefront, an apothecary for the modern day.

 

A Conversation with Author Warren Bobrow Plus Cannabis Cocktail Recipes!

We hear a lot about cannabis edibles, but what about pot potables? Warren Bobrow’s new book, Cannabis Cocktails, Mocktails, and Tonics: The Art of Spirited Drinks and Buzzworthy Libations (2016, Fairwinds) is now the definitive work on the topic. Beautifully produced and filled with lots of gorgeous full color photography, the hard cover book would make an excellent gift for all your toking and imbibing friends.

The publishers knew what they were doing when choosing Bobrow, master mixologist and creator of the popular Cocktail Whisperer blog, to tackle this topic. What follows is a collection of elegant artisanal marijuana infused drinks.  Even better, Warren gives you the building blocks you will need to create your own liquid cannabis concoctions too. Not only will you learn to infuse all your favorite liquors, but also popular drink mixers like simple syrup, milk, cream, coconut cream, and maple syrup. He even teaches you how to make marijuana infused cocktail cherries!

“I tried so hard to make a difference by writing the first book on the topic,” says Bobrow. “I learned a lot while doing.  I experimented on myself.  It wasn’t always pretty.  But I learned.   I hope to change the way we do things.  My drinks are delicious.”

Bobrow is a stickler for details, which in turn makes his cannabis cocktails drinkable pieces of culinary art.  Quality ingredients and artisan techniques are emphasized throughout the book, right down to pairing the proper strain for each drink in order to maximize the cocktail’s full flavor potential.  Bobrow is not trying to disguise the flavor of marijuana in his drinks, rather he uses it to actually enhance the flavor of his cannabis cocktails.

I recently had the chance to ask Warren Bobrow some questions about his new book and the controversial topic of Cannabis Cocktails.  Here’s what he said.

Warren Bobrwo, Cannabis Cocktails, Mocktails and TonicsInterview with Warren Bobrow, author ofCannabis Cocktails, Mocktails & Tonics

Cheri Sicard: What inspired you to combine cannabis and alcohol?
Warren Bobrow: I work in the liquor space, but I prefer cannabis for the feeling I get.  I’m not a fan of being drunk, so I hardly drink any longer. I’ve always been fascinated by healing, in its many forms.  I grew up on a biodynamic farm in NJ that belonged to my family, so folk healing was always nurtured.  I always enjoyed science and found the experimentation enlightening!

Cheri Sicard:. Why does alcohol make such a good carrier for marijuana?
Warren Bobrow: Alcohol works!  And it tastes good.  And my cocktails absolutely rock the house!! And you do get stoned!!  No bullshit cbd oil made from hemp in my drinks thank you!

Cannabis Cocktail: The Future is Uncertain and The End is Always Near

Cannabis Cocktail: The Future is Uncertain and The End is Always Near

Cheri Sicard: What advice do you have for people who are new to imbibing with the combination of both alcohol and cannabis?
Warren Bobrow: Don’t drive.  Go slow.

Cheri Sicard: Do you have any special insider tips for those infusing alcohol for the first time?
Warren Bobrow: No open flame!  Don’t be that person that blows up your home.   I’m serious!!!!!  Also, go low and slow.  My recipes are geared for holistic healing.  Not recreational.  I don’t want to send the wrong message, nor make a play for the stoner set. That’s not my game. So healing should be the mantra. Take the Thai food principal. Start with a little spice and add more as you need it. Same thing with cannabis and alcohol.

Cheri Sicard: Do you have any words for the critics who think one “intoxicant” is bad enough, now we are encouraging two”?
Warren Bobrow: Drugs are bad.  Alcohol is bad.  Breathing underwater is bad.  Eating fast food is bad.  Yelling fire in a crowded theater is bad.  My late father, when he learned I wrote a book about cannabis cocktails disowned me. That’s bad too. More?  I get angry about the liquor people vilifying cannabis and the cannabis people vilifying liquor.   I not so secretly think that they should be together.  And guess what? They are delicious together!

Cannabis Cocktail: Honey Duke Relaxer

Cannabis Cocktail: Honey Duke Relaxer

Cheri Sicard: What is your personal favorite marijuana cocktail and why?
Warren Bobrow: My favorite cocktail invokes New Orleans and it’s the Vieux Carre.  I take absinthe from Lucid and infuse it with about 1/2 oz of Tangerine (a sativa strain) and mix it with Barrell Bourbon whiskey and finish it with some Peychaud’s Bitters for good gastric health.  It’s served icy cold, always stirred, never shaken, with a nice slice of orange zest always cut with a paring knife, never a peeler.

Cheri Sicard:. Who is the target audience for you new book?
Warren Bobrow: People who are interested in craft cocktails and alternative ingredients like bitters and shrubs. THose who appreciate craft cocktail ingredients and handmade, delicious concoctions that offer a high level of flavor in each sip.  Ages 21 and up, endgame.

Sample Cannabis Cocktail Recipes from Warren Bobrow’s New Book Cannabis Cocktails

 

Did Somebody Say Cannabis Cocktails? (See You At The Bar)

http://herb.co/2016/08/19/warren-bobrow/

A century ago, there were more than just drinks to get you drunk. Drink concoctions to revitalize the body and mind were all the rage. From digestives for the stomach to restoratives for vitality, there was a drink for every occasion. Another hark back to days of yore comes in the form of cannabis tinctures, tonics, and apothecary mixtures. Warren Bobrow, known the world over as The Cocktail Whisperer, has taken his long-held love of both drinks and cannabis and combined them into a book for the ages.

Warren Bobrow

1 warren bobrow interview shaking Did Somebody Say Cannabis Cocktails? (See You At The Bar)
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HERB:

You’ve plotted an interesting course in your career to make it to where you are today. What sparked your interest in cocktails and cannabis.

Warren:

I’ve enjoyed cannabis for a long time, though that does tend to age me a bit. As a teen, I grew up with an uncle with hair down to his waist, lived at times on a farm, and went to my first Grateful Dead show in 1971. As for cocktails, I always loved the look of the complicated drinks my family had at dinner or I saw in the movies. James Bond was the posterchild for the martini, and they were just a part of the lifestyle. I was always around it. Cocktails were always a passion, but it wasn’t until I tried several other careers that I came back to them as a full time occupation.

HERB:

What was your first experience like? We have a lot of new cannabis lovers out there, and everyone has their own story. What about your first time with an infused cannabis treat?

Warren:

I don’t recall the first time smoking cannabis, it has been so long, but my first brownie I will never forget. My jaw went numb. I washed it down with a beer, and it turned into a bad experience. But it wasn’t a complete wash. Fast forward May of 2 years ago, I dreamed of that brownie, that beer and that flavor profile: chocolate, dark rum and cannabis. Most of my ideas come to me like that. In a vivid dream in the middle of the night, usually in vivid color. Not many people dream in color, so I have read. I looked into it and didn’t see anyone working in the field of canna-cocktails. I realized that my brownie experience could have been so much better as a drink, something I am far more familiar with, as are most people.

Apothecaries of old and cannabis

2 warren bobrow interview illustration Did Somebody Say Cannabis Cocktails? (See You At The Bar)
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HERB:

Tell us about your take on traditional apothecaries and where cannabis fits in.

Warren:

My book actually does a take on the original apothecary. They were who the common folk would have gone to for healing. Apothecaries were old country healers, and much closer than doctors. They used what they had on hand: herbs, salves, and other homemade remedies right up until the Pure Food and Drug Act. That put most of them underground, but they are still out there.

HERB:

Why were so many old remedies in the form of alcohol?

Warren:

Before electricity and refrigeration, there was no other way to keep things fresh. You would use salt, drying, smoke curing, and liquor. Water back then was hardly sanitary, unless it came directly from a well or spring. Old time garden punches were made to purify water, as well as give infusions of healthy herbs and spices. Restorative drinks were how many people took in vitamins if wholesome food weren’t around, and a lot of the time it wasn’t.

Cannabis Cocktails

HERB:

Tell us about your new book, and how it differs from your previous work? We know it deals with cannabis, but how was the process for researching and writing different?

Warren:

I had to do a lot of research. But in the end, I took the spirit of what I learned about old cannabis drinks and put a modern bartender’s twist on them. All the drinks in my book are original creations. Many cannabis tinctures back in the day also had things like opium, ladinum, and ether in them. That wouldn’t work today.

HERB:

So this book has really put you out on a limb, professionally?

Warren:

Quite. I am the unofficial spokesman for a prominent alcohol label, but dealing with cannabis has put a strain on a lot of those relationships. They don’t want to touch it. So I have really staked my reputation and career on publishing this book. It took a toll on my personal relationships with my family as well. But it has helped me to strike out on my own, truly my own man, for what seems like the first time.

The amazing compendium

Warren’s new book is Cannabis Cocktails, Mocktails, and Tonics: The Art of Spirited Drinks and Buzz-Worthy Libations. Some of his personal credentials include:

  • Author/Cook/Barman/Spirits Consultant
  • Moscow Bar Show- Master Class
  • Ministry of Rum Judge
  • Tales of the Cocktail- Spirited Award Nominee

 With 75 original creations from one of the world’s premier judges of fine liquors, this goes so much further than a simple recipe book. It takes the reader on a journey through history and cultures. Delves into traditions and puts new twists on old favorites. You can find his book here, and follow Warren Bobrow on his website, Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram.

The Cocktail Whisperer has even agreed to share a few of his favorite cannabis drink concoctions with us here at HERB, so stay tuned for a companion article with some amazing recipes you will fall head over heels for!

Total Food Service Interview; I’m honored!

Warren Bobrow, better known as The Cocktail Whisperer, is the published author of four books in addition to his contributions as a writer to liquor.com, our own totalfood.com and countless others. He has also taught at the New School in New York City and at Stonewall Kitchen in Maine. His latest book is Cannabis Cocktails, Mocktails and Tonics that was released this past June through Fair Winds Press. Much more than just a collection of cocktail recipes, Warren’s new book explores the history of cannabis use in drinks, the over-politicized arguments over its legality and other pertinent topics.

Could you expand on your background and how you got to this point?

I am mostly a self-trained chef, I went to Johnson and Wales for a short time as well as the ACF apprenticeship program. I was working in the television business but that was not working. I went to work as a pot scrubber in restaurant and that set me on the path to become a chef. I am now an ACF-certified Chef and I love to cook. It is catharsis for me.

What were you doing before the Cocktail Whisperer blog and brand took off?

I was working as a chef in Charleston when I lost my business to Hurricane Hugo. Then I moved back to my home state in New Jersey and worked as a bank teller and in private bank for a long time. Then I started Cocktail Whisperer.

What inspired you to write this book?

Ever since I was a young man I have enjoyed the use of cannabis. I have seen cannabis cookbooks released and I wanted to raise the bar by taking cannabis and infusing it with the cocktail business that I am in. I love cocktails and I love cannabis. They are two things that I think “play well together in the sandbox”.

Is it difficult to get people past the stigma that cannabis is bad for you  or somehow wrong?

It is really tough, especially where I am. I grew up in Morristown, New Jersey which is a very conservative place. The mindset is not pro-cannabis. It is arrest, incarcerate and throw away the key. And it is unfortunate because there are valid health benefits to this much maligned plant. Drugs are not bad and people should keep an open mind. Especially those who drink or smoke cigarettes.

What was the process of researching for this book?

The research was done outside of the state of New Jersey, where cannabis is still illegal. I am used to experimenting with culinary ingredients and different flavors so I applied that same mentality to the book. Nothing had ever really been written about it before. I was in new territory. I was careful, my advice to anyone would be to experiment in a place where it is legal and just be careful and responsible.

Could you talk about the other elements of the book other than recipes?

I am constantly trying to destigmatize the use of cannabis. I give a robust history in the beginning with science and humor. This book is for anyone interested in cannabis or anyone who is unsure of how to use it. The introduction was written by Jerry Whiting. Him and I found each other quite organically. He is well extremely well-respected in the healing field which gives the text a lot of credibility from that end.

What advice would you offer people buying the book who will be making these cocktails?

Put it in the hands of your “budtender” to give you knowledge and fill your individual need. Remember that making cannabis cocktails is completely different from smoking cannabis. I give the cure to drinking a bit too much of a cannabis cocktail in the book.

Cannabis_Cocktails_Mezzrole
One of Warren’s creations. c/o Fair Winds Press, an imprint of Quarto Publishing Group

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My thoughts are follow the Thai food principle. You can always make something more spicy but you cannot make it less spicy. Start small and build up from there. Remember also that no one has ever died from a cannabis overdose but too much will make you feel awful.

How do you respond to critics who say you’re messing around and that this is your opinion, not fact?

It is fact. I researched this and studied the health and holistic healing benefits, both of which are immense. This book is not a recreational book and was not written as one. It is a way for people to discover new ways to enjoy themselves and to discover some new methods for holistic healing.

Was this an easy book to pitch to your publisher?

Of all the books I have pitched this was the easiest sell. I came up with the idea to write the book at a food show in New York City and when I told my publisher I wanted to write it they asked for a proposal to put in front of the board. The rest is history, they loved the idea since its was going to be the first book of its kind.

How has the response been to the book so far?

Writing this was not an easy thing to do. Many people have purchased the book and love it, however it has brought a certain amount of controversy into my life and anxiety that I did not necessarily want or need. But there is nothing I can do about it, I am just moving forward and surrounding myself with positive people who understand what I am trying to do. Most people love the book and the response has been terrific.

Did you consider that controversy when you were writing the text and did it give you any pause?

I didn’t have any other ideas! It was all I could think of so no, it never crossed my mind. I just saw it as an opportunity to do something unique and interesting.

Marijuanomics Interview with Moi!

http://marijuanomics.com/cannabis-cocktails-mocktails-tonics/

Cannabis Cocktails, Mocktails & Tonics by William Bobrow

Cannabis Cocktails, Mocktails & Tonics

Today we’re proud to bring you our first ever interview, featuring a great book by the incomparable and energetic Warren Bobrow, author of Cannabis Cocktails, Mocktails & Tonics: The Art of Spirited Drinks & Buzz-Worthy Libations.

Warren has a long history developing his cocktail expertise as the author of Apothecary Cocktails, Whiskey Cocktails, and Bitters & Shrub Syrup Cocktails. He has written hundreds of articles on cocktails and foods for numerous magazines and this book is a world-first deep dive into craft cannabis cocktail making.

Warren Bobrow, author of Cannabis Cocktails, Mocktails & Tonics: The Art of Spirited Drinks & Buzz-Worthy Libations
Warren Bobrow, author of Cannabis Cocktails, Mocktails & Tonics: The Art of Spirited Drinks & Buzz-Worthy Libations

As you’ll hear in the interview, Warren is passionate about illuminating the many medicinal uses for cannabis and fighting back against the political and social propaganda that has plagued cannabis for decades.

I wasn’t sure what to expect when Warren offered to send the book for review, but what I received was an incredibly well researched, beautiful, and useful guide for connoisseurs of cocktails and for those seeking to enjoy cannabis in a responsible way.  You can find Cannabis Cocktails, Mocktails & Tonics at your local bookstore, and available online! Listen until the end of the interview for special instructions to receive a signed copy of the book from the man himself.

We hope you enjoy the interview and raise a glass to Warren for his pioneering work.