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.
The market for botanically enriched, “health” drinks have exploded over the past few decades or so. There are hundreds of products on the market that promise wellness and health, but nothing could prepare the consumer for the coming wave of micro-dosed; CBD and THC liquids made specifically for wellness. It’s true! All that is required is a healthy thirst and the desire for something different. Case in point with the Monk line of drinking botanicals. This ultra-luxury line of tiny 4 oz bottles are scientifically calibrated to micro-dose just the right amount of CBD/THC to the careful imbiber. Careful because the dosage of CBD/THC is in the micro amounts- nearly undetected after enjoying the scant few sips of this ‘magical’ elixir. What each bottle represents are flavors and health-giving qualities similar to the days of the early apothecary, when fragile herbs and spicesmade their way into preparations that the pharmacist concocted to order. Not unlike the early preparations that made their way to the cocktail bar with drinks meant to heal the gut, like the famous Sazerac, or perhaps you’d be interested in knowing why Angostura is so helpful when you have a stomach ache, or are seasick? It all comes around again with the deep desire to write the first book about creative mixology that uses cannabis. There is a large distinction between non-Cannabis augmented health drinks and quality products like Monk’s Drinking Botanicals. What we have here is a modern framework, one that is more flavor-driven as opposed to effect-driven, with varieties like the brightly aromatic and refreshing grapefruit/cayenne. This delicately spicy, yet not overly sweet concoction is precise and carefully combined to offer amusement, candor and excitement into every careful sip. Careful because the cayenne element is not overwhelming, but it is right there in front of the brightly delineated richness of the pink grapefruit juice. The combination resembles a fine craft cocktail- especially with the balance and the depth of the ingredients. They almost taste as if the grapefruit was freshly squeezed and infused with the cayenne peppers.
Combining cannabis and cocktails is a hot new trend, and Cannabis Cocktails, Mocktails & Tonics shows you how. Featuring a collection of 75 recipes of cannabis influenced cocktails and drinks; The Cocktail Whisperer Warren Bobrow will show you the essential instructions for de-carbing cannabis to release its full psychoactive effect. Learn the history of cannabis as a social drug and its growing acceptance to becoming a medicinal. Look beyond cocktails and create successful tonics, syrups, shrubs, bitters, compound butter and exotic infused oil to use in any drink. Start your day with coffee, tea, and milk-based cannabis beverages for healing and relaxation. Get your afternoon pick-me-up with gut healing shrubs and mood enhancing syrups. Make cooling lemonades and sparking herbal infusions to soothe the fevered brow. Then, have an after dinner herbal-based cannabis drink for relaxation at the end of a good meal. The options are endless with Cannabis Cocktails, Mocktails & Tonics!
A quiet pursuit of excellence is taking place by the careful and studied guidance of Eric Tschudi, the affable and youthful beverage director of Shuko. His hand-chosen selection of esoteric, Japanese Whiskies will certainly intellectualize even the most altruistic guest in your dinner party. And then there is a private dining room that intrigues the carefully interested. This space is the most private room, set deeply down in the subterranean part of the former bakery- a quite hidden, inner sanctum, located in the depths of 47 East 12th Street in New York City. This is certainly not a tourist restaurant, nor does it have any signs announcing the constantly changing approach to an educated curiosity that takes place within the walls daily. There are no lines of paparazzi craning their necks towards the stars, nor very much in the way of foot traffic on this part of the street, set just off the teeming hustle and bustle of soon to be, lower Broadway. Find some parking just across the street, just up the way a bit and stretch your legs, but only so much. The scent you detect in the air may well tinge of sea salt water on this tiny spit of land only a few short blocks from the churning East River. The Japanese inspired liquids are driven by the culinary treats that emulate from within the tabla rasa walls. And all of these surprises are completely undetected from the street. A hidden gem surrounded by so much darkness.
Warren Bobrow , CONTRIBUTOROpinions expressed by Forbes Contributors are their own.
Warren Bobrow: iPhone X
Problem-Lack of humidity Solution: The Cannador
It’s hard to live in an apartment without modern heating systems that provide humidity along with the warm air. Such is the case again this year, and with the recent cold snap, the air inside this apartment is tinder dry- sparks fly from the fingertips without much hesitation. The same holds true for the fragile medicine, better known as cannabis that should be treated as kindly as fine (read: expensive) wine. Humidity and temperature seem to aid in the aging of this very expensive healing material and not everyone has the ability to run out to the store and buy what is fresh. Those of us on the East Coast have to jump through hoops with regards to our medical cannabis- it’s really pricey so it’s probably best not to wait until it turns to dust before re-hydrating it. Mold can form and all bad things can happen from there on. Remember in High School when you hid that bag of weed from your mom? She was still making your bed back then and you were worried she’d find your stash and rat you out to your dad.. So you stored that pathetic mass of brown leafy material in a plastic bag until you smoked it all, but it went all moldy first. What was that nasty “basement” smell and taste? Storing your cannabis in a plastic bag is just bad for it. There is no reason for you to store this costly material in a plastic sandwich bag, so stop this practice- RIGHT NOW. You should be using a glass jar. Not just any glass jar, but one from the Cannador. But first, what is a Cannador? This is a craft product that will preserve and protect your herbs. Whatever you’ve been doing before is fine, and this method has worked for you pretty well, or at least well enough until now. The Cannador is the very best humidor for cannabis that money can buy. A Cannador is what you should be using now. You don’t have to spend all your kid’s soccer money on the high end, six jar and storage version (but-it wouldn’t hurt..) You can buy a simple two jar version. When you are ready to spend your money, go all out and purchase that wonderful object of your desire. The six jar, humidor with its nifty internal storage humidor (pictured above)
Of all the books that I’ve reviewed this year, my favorite so far is the new book written by my friend Cheri Sicard, named: “The Easy Cannabis Cookbook” and easy it is! Reading this well laid-out book is not difficult, even for those of us with ‘older-eyes’…remarkable how a detail like this can bring so much pleasure- or the constant search for reading glasses! This book is not a hodge-podge of information, it is carefully constructed to bring simplicity into your life, should you choose to medicate yourself using edibles. I’m not a great expert on cooking with cannabis and this book makes it sensible to experiment with the luscious sounding recipes that would be right at home- even in a non-cannabis kitchen. Recipes like the Chicken Matzo Ball Soup resonate with my Jewish heritage and the Slow Cooker- Beef and Bean Chili begs for an icy day and snow down your back. The section on staples is easy to read and simple to reproduce, the breakfast section makes me pine for tomorrow morning and the snacks section throws a party that is less of a chore and definitely never a bore. You’ll be laughing your way into the couch- depending on the strain you choose, and these are never aimed at the collegian out for a loud buzz. The recipes are carefully and thoughtfully dosed. Less bang and more introspection, if you take my drift. It’s never good to be that person who overdoses on every edible because they took too much.
A touch of the cap to the Nova folks who have built a decarb device that makes for stress-free decarbs… Cheri does demystify the decarb process for those who are unable to spend money on technology over simplicity in the toaster oven…
A unique and ‘highly’ helpful section on measurements brings the modern mathematic age into the age of the hard to pin down, possibly absent-minded cook, especially when the cook is under the subtle haze of some fine Kush? Keep your wits about you because this is a very delicious combination of enchanting recipes and pertinent intelligence. It’s up to you really, the recipes are really that good- even if you aren’t a chef- there is something for you here. And for those who think that cookbooks should never be cooked from, this book tests! The recipes don’t just read well, they act well too! Photography is inviting and even the electronic copy that I received has that ‘new book smell’… Well, not really but it is a delicious way to end one year and begin another with this quality package of user-friendly recipes.
Not the same old recipe book for brownies, either- with lip-smacking descriptions like: Red Velvet Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting (my favorite) or the individual Lemon Berry Trifles. I can’t resist a classic English Trifle. A lovely thing of rare beauty. A tangle of dreams and wishes that Cheri attains the kind of success that is rarely found in food-writing. This is not a stoner book, but an elevated book- a healthy adaptation of a 5000-year-old healing method. A wonderful book to page through and hopefully experiment with. To good taste!
Jane West is a real person! A real mom and a real celebrity of her own hard work and never-ending, entrepreneurial efforts. Jane is effortless and cool, in a high-mountain, Colorado-Mountain Cool- kind of way- and she has Ultra-LUXURY with a uniquely feminine twist on her mind. This is an exalted place to be, in the tall seat at the front of the room, crowded by mere onlookers. Jane is at the top of the class with her gleaming line of chic and well designed cannabis smoking accessories. And she wants you to know she is different and therefore unique. There is a distinctively feminine approach to the Classic- one of the multitude of well-designed, non-antagonistic cannabis smoking experiences. This device is a true classic dug-out pipe- exceptionally modernizedfor the successful woman about town- who doesn’t want to shout when she medicates. The design of the ‘cigarette’ portion of the classic dug-out is sleek and finished with a tiny Jane West logo and flat matte finish. It does not shout, and smoking through the tiny chamber is cool and care-free. Jane West sent a Classic for review and the results couldn’t have been more wonderful. First of all, her packaging is eye-catching and crisp.
That incessant growing in your stomach should be reason enough to go for a road trip. When one is motivated by the thought of that mystical ‘ring of fire’ that thing of rare beauty– the air that permeates the region around your head just over a platter of ribs or even chicken. All is sublime. That is what is called barbecue. Something more than just a meal. Barbecue is highly personal, and therefore perfect. Barbecue is regional, cultural and it has deep meaning to someone who understands the intellectualism in barbecue. There is a warm feeling surrounding the phrase- low and slow- and what this means in a broader context is part of the soul. Low means the temperature of the smoke and the time it takes to slowly melt the savory meat over warm smoke. Low also means the pulse of the smokehouse. Low means taking your time and low means sipping a fine beverage- like one of the eclectic selection of beers available at the congenial bar, from far and wide.
In life there are certain accomplishments that are sometimes quantified by the quality of the spirits that you sip. If you doubt the words of a rum expert, all you need to do is look at the groaning shelves at your favorite package store. Rum has just about exploded in popularity in recent decades after a hundred or so year slumber. Sure you could count on a booze-cruise rum punch while sailing with your friends in the islands- you probably want to forget what highly manipulated rum can do to your gut and your aching head. But this is not a piece about what happens when you drink manipulated, (read: lousy) rum on a stern of a pitching sailboat. This is about drinking some of the very best rum that money can buy. And while you’re learning about what is special about Foursquare Rum, the suggestion is first and foremost, that you are worth it. This is not booze-cruise rum, nor is it rum that deserves a place on the very top shelf of your bar, never to be opened. Why? Fear perhaps has much to do with it. You do deserve to drink Foursquare. Recognize this fear of the unknown and you’ll come to a magical place where quality and cost become a misnomer. Where success is not measured by expense, but by quality. Where experience matters, like that picnic boat you ogled over in your youth, or the first time you experienced a glass or two of really well aged wine, or slurped some really rare Scotch Whisky. It’s important to note that while Foursquare is not inexpensive, there are rums on the market that far exceed it in cost. Many of these pretty label and fancy bottle rums are manipulated in some manner. Why is that? Because they can, it’s because they are permitted, because no one really cares to know. From caramel coloring to sugar being re-added for a sweet mouth-feel, to globs of thick glycerin to even out the creaminess across the palate- to all sorts of things that would get a rum judge in trouble, just by mentioning that so-and so’s rum is being manipulated.