Images courtesy of Warren Bobrow: the Hoochie Coochie Man cocktail (left) and the non-alcoholic Rose, Saffron and Cardamom Lassi (right) from his latest book Cannabis Cocktails, Mocktails and Tonics: The Art of Spirited Drinks and Buzz-Worthy Libations.
Earlier this year, Warren treated our readers to a sneak peek of the book before it was available for purchase! If you missed that post, click here to get his recipe for the Mezzrole Cocktail, with a little dose of history regarding cannabis beverages.
What are those things in your walk-in? Yellow in color and oh, so many of them in a case! They are, of course- lemons. And going forward towards the sticky seasonwhen you just cannot get any cooler, yet everything that you do to get cool- well, let’s just say they get hotter! And the lemons? Well my friends, they are there to make lemonade. A simple enough concoction of tart, to bitter, to sweet, to sour and back again.
Behind the stick, there is nothing that beats lemonade for sheer refreshment. Here are four ways to enjoy lemonade as spring shifts into summer:
Nearly everyone has been to their local garden store and ogled over the varieties of fresh herbs that you can grow on your windowsill garden. Who knew there were so many different kinds of basil? And how about all that mint? Are there enough days of growing season left for every different kind of mint, pared with all those incredible bourbons on your groaning shelves?
My first experience with the romantic taste of Amaro came in Rome, when I was traveling in Italy with my parents. They would pull my sister and me out of school for a month or more at a time to see many of the European countries. My parents liked the best things that life had to offer — and rather than stick us on an impersonal tour bus, they would immerse us in local food, wine and museums.
In an interview with High Times Magazine, author and mixologist Warren Bobrow said his favorite infused beverage featured in his book, Cannabis Cocktails, Mocktails & Tonics: The Art of Spirited Drinks & Buzz-Worthy Libations, is the Nur’ó’c Mía:
“My favorite one is the Vietnamese specialty, Nur’ó’c Mía—Iced, Medicated Vietnamese Sugarcane Juice. The MagicalButter Machine comes in handy for the cannabis-infused condensed milk. Plus, the high fat of the condensed milk infuses like a dream. And, I use coconut water ice in the mix, so when the ice starts to melt, the complexity and flavor balance of the cocktail courses through your body with glee. It’s refreshing and lovely but never drink more than one per hour. They creep up on you quickly. Add an ounce or two of non-caramel colored rum when using a more sedative strain for a trip down the lazy river.”
“What’s in the bottle is not what’s on the label,” says Warren Bobrow, handing me a small apothecary jar of amber-colored fluid. Inside is a top-shelf rum, he says, infused with high-grade marijuana — specifically, a strong indica-dominant hybrid known as Granddaddy Purple.
As laws prohibiting the use of marijuana wane, new ways of enjoying the herb emerge.
Currently 23 states and Washington DC have enacted laws to legalize medical marijuana; in Alaska, Colorado, Oregon, and Washington, it is legal to purchase marijuana for recreational use. Many more states are introducing bills that will govern some form of legalized marijuana in the near future. And with that legalization, we are embarking upon a world of possibilities when it comes to marijuana… and cocktails.
In Oregon (where the prohibition officially ended in July of 2015) business is booming. “There’re more cannabis shops than coffee shops. It exploded. It’s everywhere,” remarks David Shenaut, Bar Director of Portland’s Raven & Rose. He paints a picture of an Oregon where the local papers are publishing guides on pairing beer with your various varietals of pot.
“Like flavor pairings, to enjoy side by side. We’re talking about a new classification of cicerone or sommelier. It’s like a sommelier of marijuana.”
With 4/20 just around the corner, it seems the perfect opportunity to discuss the merits of stirring cannabis cocktails. I’m usually hard pressed to find bartenders who really know the physical differences between stirring and shaking a cocktail—any cocktail. Now, add to that equation fragile ingredients that you may not want to pulverize and turn into overly green (read: botanical) flavors like cannabis, and those differences become even more important.
One of the most unpleasant of all overly-green flavors is mint. When it is excessively manipulated, the aromatics and essences resemble that of mud. And no one wants to drink mud. You may have witnessed this yourself in batched up Kentucky Derby cocktails, where the mint is added to the ice the day before, frozen, and then topped with bourbon just prior to serving. The end result is a muddy mess that screams for a fresh glass, new mint, and clean ice.
Why Stir Cannabis Cocktails?
I’ve made my living for the better part of seven years in the liquor space. With that said, I’ve noticed some real changes in that traditional world of intoxicants over the past year or so. After being tolerated for a few years, the large liquor companies are having serious misgivings about being too friendly with the cannabis family. Perhaps this is because the ongoing stigma that hovers just over the periphery in every illicit transaction outside of the “three tier system.” You see, the liquor industry has been permitted to print their own tickets since Prohibition, under the watchful gaze of the government. Taxation is a powerful determinate with broad reaching implications.