2017 Books And Bitters Recap!

Octavia guy and a closeup of the Octavia Books nameplate

For the first time, the annual partnership between Tales and Octavia Books was hosted in the Royal Sonesta Hotel.

2017 marks another successful year at the Books and Bitters Market, the annual event sponsored by Octavia Books. For eight years now, Tales of the Cocktail® has partnered with the local bookstore to showcase an impressive global selection of both cocktail books and bitters for Tales attendees to peruse through during the week of the cocktail festival.

This year, bitters were incredibly well-represented at the Bitters Market, which featured over 24 brands and sold over 600 bottles of bitters. The top five selling bitters at this year’s market were Peychaud’s, Mr. Bitters’ Variety Pack, Peychaud’s Barrel Aged, The Bittered Sling Gift Box, and Wild Hibiscus’s B’Lure Butterfly Pea Flower Extract.

The bookstore portion of the market offered close to 200 titles, representing some of the industry’s most well-respected authors and covering a wide variety of interests. The bookstore sold copies of nearly every title on offer this year, a sign of the continuing success of the partnership between Tales and Octavia Books. Not only were guests able to browse through the selection of books on offer, they also had the opportunity to meet the authors and get their book copies signed at the week-long “Shots of Inspiration” popup. Bitter makers were also present to discuss and offer tastings of their products.

“We were happy to to present nearly 200 cocktail titles – many fabulous new ones alongside some old favorites. And, they nearly all sold. The strong and continuing interest in the books – so many authors attending and the readers who purchased them in numbers – demonstrates a true commitment by mixologists and other Tales participants to understanding the art they practice.” – Tom Lowenburg of Octavia Books

The Top 10 Best-Sellers at the Books Market:

  1. Mezcal: The History, Craft, and Cocktails of the World’s Ultimate Artisanal Spirit – Emma Janzen
  2. Distilled Knowledge: The Science Behind Drinking’s Greatest Myths, Legends, and Unanswered Questions – Brian Hoefling
  3. Regarding Cocktails – Sasha Petraske
  4. Mr. Boston 75th Anniversary Official Bartenders Guide
  5. Imbibe!: From Absinthe Cocktail to Whiskey Smash, a Salute in Stories and Drinks to “Professor” Jerry Thomas, Pioneer of the American Bar Featuring the Original Formulae – David Wondrich
  6. Bitterman’s Field Guide to Bitters – Mark Bitterman
  7. Baijiu: The Essential Guide to Chinese Spirits – Derek Sandhaus
  8. Zen & Tonic – Jules Aron
  9. The Craft Cocktail Compendium: Contemporary Interpretations and Inspired Twists on Time-Honored Classics – Warren Bobrow
  10. Smuggler’s Cove: Exotic Cocktails, Rum, and the Cult of Tiki – Martin & Rebecca Cate

Best Bitters

Healers and Tipplers-
Bitters from the past and the present.

During the 1800’s immigrants came to the New World from far off lands. Some of these early settlers brought their primitive methods of healing with them in the form of root teas, bitters, tonics and elixirs. Root teas were already well established for healing from the Native Americans who lived in the New World and they taught the immigrants methods of healing, some of which still exist today.

Bitters are powerfully concentrated forms of herbal healing that date back to the dawn of man. They are still used for ailments that range from stomach disorders to the healing of circulatory systems in the body. Bitters also have a secondary purpose. Not only do they have medicinal purposes but their bitter flavor and concentrated aromatics that just happen to be delicious in cocktails.

Antique Peychaud Postcard
It’s pretty well established that bitters have been used in the cocktail arts since Antoine Amédée Peychaud created his namesake bitters in the earliest concoctions that evolved into our modern day cocktails.

Peychaud’s Bitters were originally created to stave off dysentery and other debilitating afflictions of the digestive tract. Please remember that during the mid 1800’s, refrigeration and good sanitary practices were all but unknown so the use of bitters in healing was not just a trend, they were absolutely necessary!

Some of the oldest brands are still used today like Peychaud’s Aromatic Bitters. Indispensible in cocktails like the Sazerac, Peychaud’s distinctively red color seems to signify strength and power over illnesses of the belly. Angostura Bitters an equally venerable brand was also originally formulated to be effective for afflictions of the digestive tract. Angostura was invented by Dr. Johann Gottlieb Benjamin Siegert, a German doctor in the mid 1800’s, for use in curing stomach disorders. Tropical temperatures were not conducive for the preservation of food thus stomach ailments were prevalent during this pre-electricity period. Bitters such as Angostura and Peychaud’s, although still in use today in the concoction of cocktails, are rarely used for their original purpose. But if you have a hangover or a stomach ache there are scarcely any non-medicinal products available on the market today that work as effectively without synthetically produced, chemical ingredients.

 

Mixing cocktails with bitters

 

The craft cocktail explosion in recent years has given creative mixologists and ardent cocktail enthusiasts the opportunity to introduce concentrated herbal and fruit driven flavors to their cocktails. But many modern day bartenders and mixologists may not be aware of the rich history of bitters. For both Classic Cocktails and the newer versions of the classics, bitters are a thing of the past in a very modern context. The original bitters developers in Sweden, France and Germany would scarcely have imagined the direction that the cocktail industry has taken towards flavor driven augmentations. What we have now in the cocktail world are creative mixologists unleashing flavor combinations that evoke the past, and through this past we have the present.

Today’s Cocktail and Speakeasy bars will have dozens of bitters on hand. Their purpose is to add an element of surprise– to unlock a secret only known to flavor. That is what high end drinking is all about. And the quality of your bitters are as important as the syrups, juices, tonics and liquors.

If you are thinking of opening a bottle of tonic water you should try Q-Tonic or perhaps some Fever Tree Tonic. I’m inclined to mix some Tomr’s Tonic or maybe some Jack Rudy with either Perrier Sparkling Natural Mineral Water or Polar Sparkling Water.

The thoughts of bitter and sweet in a mixed drink acts like a metaphor for life itself. Bitters are not just for stomach aches any longer!

Here is a list of the best bitters that are available today:

 

Angostura- 
The venerable Angostura Bitters is not only for healing the stomach, but it’s also gorgeous in a drink known simply as the Pink Gin. Just a few drops of Angostura Bitters in a cupful of gin will administer great healing!
Peychaud’s Bitters-
The modern uses of Peychaud’s Bitters are not so far from the original uses, in the cocktail still known today as the Sazerac.
The Bitter Truth-
From Germany, made with concentrated flavors that evoke fruits, herbs and spices. The name says it all!
Bittermens-
Produced by hand, these bitters are created to add new dimensions to mixed drinks.
Bitter End-
Decidedly antagonistic bitters for the most fevered dreams you can imagine. With bitters like Thai, Moroccan, Mexican Mole, Jamaican Jerk, Curry, Chesapeake Bay and Memphis Barbecue, these flavors are not for the meek. They shout, no, they scream in ancient languages not yet discovered. Their flavors exploit the fearful and reward the fearless. A mere drop of the Curry Bitters in a gin and tonic will take the drinker down the steamy path to a crocodile infested swamp. Someplace where the mosquitoes grow larger than your fist and your sunburned flesh is on the menu as the chef’s special of the day. Curry is a favored ingredient to cool the body. The turmeric element is a powerful curative against all forms of malaise. And the brooding alcohol level of Bitter End Bitters teaches us that all is not what it seems. Watch out for the Curry. They will pitch you over the edge if you’re not careful.
Bittered Sling-
is an uncommon name for a most profoundly concentrated and friendly spirit augmentation from one of my favorite places on the globe, Vancouver, BC. And the owners are really cool too.
Bittercube Bitters-
are aromatic and potent. Their Vanilla Bark is marvelous in a rum punch and the Bolivar Bitters unlock long gone spirits and bring flavor right into the present tense.
Bitters, Old Men-
There are over a dozen concentrated bitters from this Brooklyn based bitters alchemist. With flavors like Smoke Gets in your Bitters and Krangostura, an aromatic bitters befitting Krang, the villainous anthropomorphic brain from Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, these are not your grandmom’s bitters for healing a cold.
Fee Brothers-
The venerable brand from New York State is just about the most historic brand on the market aside from Angostura and Peychaud’s. Recently the brand has branched out from the simply ravishing Whiskey Barrel Bitters to the aromatic and beguiling Cranberry Bitters along with their perennial favorites like Mint, West Indian Orange, Grapefruit and Celery.
Dale DeGroff’s Pimento-
is a lush, aromatic and deeply sensual bitter from cocktail master, Dale DeGroff and Jade Alchemist Ted Breaux. This is not the typical “sock in the mouth” version of the spicy pimento, but a deeply layered experience that includes Caribbean spices, anise and aromatic healing herbs.
Dram Bitters-
from Colorado are an apothecary lesson in each sip. They use aromatics like the other bitters on the market, yet take a devilish turn towards traditional ingredients such as chamomile, long known for restorative and healing elements.
Dr. Adam Elmegirab-
The bluntly talented bitters manufacturer produces historically correct versions of bitters such as the Teapot Bitters and the luscious Boker’s Bitters.
Scrappy’s Bitters-
makes a Chocolate Bitters that approaches otherworldly amongst other pure and concentrated flavors.
AZ Bitters Lab-
Lush and pure with concentrated flavors gathered from ingredients including exotic Mexican chocolate and sumptuous orange peels. My favorite in iced tea (with bourbon) is the Mexican Mole bitters!
Regan’s Orange Bitters No. 6-
Citrus flavors mesh beautifully with brown liquors and white (clear) liquors. They add spark and an edge to a mixed drink. Woven with Asian spices, this hearty reminder of pre-prohibition cocktailian pleasures gives depth and a crisp sense of purity to many different types of mixed drinks. What is not said about bitters on the label may well be the most important of all. They are good for you! Originally bitters were used as powerful healing for all sorts of ailments from the digestive tract to general malaise. These are the hidden pleasures of bitters. If you have a bellyache, try adding about five splashes of Regan’s Orange Bitters to a glass of seltzer water, drink it down and then repeat after an hour or so. I think you will find your breath refreshed and your stomach calmed.
Basement Bitters-
From the Tuthilltown Distillery in Gardiner, upstate New York, these bitters offer a slightly different approach to the creation of the typical cocktail bitters. The reworked recipe includes, rye whiskey, herbs, spices and maple syrup. These bitters are not your typical cocktail augmentation, but ones that offer a deeper and more concise trip into the darker side of a cocktail. They allow the drinker to find hidden meaning in every sip. The maple syrup is a favored ingredient in Minetta Tavern’s Maple Syrup Sazerac. This new classic cocktail based on the traditional Sazerac has the addition of a richly textured maple syrup in the mix of rye whiskey and absinthe. Basement Bitters have harnessed the maple syrup component in their sharply delineated bitters. A hit of sarsaparilla adds a perfect counterpoint to the sweetness of the maple. These are thirst-slaking bitters that are absolutely at home in a mixture of brown liquor and sweet vermouth. Or they may be enjoyed simply in a glass of seltzer water with a peel of citrus.
Hella Bitter-
from Brooklyn, NY is a crisp reminder that all in bitters are not the same. First of all the name is different than others on the market. They call the bitters Hella Bitter, offering “complexity and depth” to a drink. I see it very much the same way being a former cook. The world of Hella Bitter is a very familiar place in my life of harnessing flavor. The name is also different. Bitter not Bitters. I love the way the Hella Aromatic Bitter perks up a rum punch, or perhaps the citrus bitter in a very twisted drink with botanical gin as the primary intoxicant. Hella is about to shake up your palate, so make sure you bring an open mind to the bar.
Fernet-Branca-
Known as “bitter liquor”, is especially helpful when trying to vanquish a hangover or after a filling meal. It is also the ingredient in cocktails that adds depth and balance. The herbs and spices give great potency and balance to a number of cocktail experimentations. Personally speaking, I enjoy Fernet-Branca in a Rum and Coke. Other times Fernet-Branca is delicious with seltzer water and a pinwheel of lime as a powerful curative for what ails you. A couple drops in a Bloody Mary, for example, acts with as much intensity as a few drops of Angostura Bitters.

 

http://www.thefiftybest.com/cocktails/best_bitters/

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The French Cheese Board

Are you mystified by cheese?  Do you see a cheese plate and instinctively think that it’s an expensive dessert?  Have you ever taken a cheese class?

If your answers are yes, no and no, then you’ll probably be hungry – and thirsty by the time you finished reading.  Why?  Because cheese is not pretentious, nor is it only for dessert!  In fact cheese is something that is made by hand in the same manner as it has for hundreds of years- by farmers!  There are certainly machine-made cheeses, but for the intent of this article, all the cheeses are made by hand in the fashion of the cheese maker.   So, you should not be mystified.  Far from mystified, what is needed to truly TASTE cheese is to cut off your ability of smelling the cheese first.  There are many taste receptors in our mouths that are incredibly sensitive, but unfortunately most cheese is tasted with our noses first.

Located in the trendy-eastern fringes of SoHo, where the old city collides with Nolita, the French Cheese Board in its handsome and sleek space.  It is filled with ample sunlight and is a very friendly place indeed.  This outpost of French culture in the Big City, seeks to demystify cheese by taking cheese out of its usually pretentious context completely.  Instead of merely snacking on cheese, they suggest carefully tasting cheese, but not overwhelming the plate with superfluous parts.  Instead of a grilled-cheese sandwich, serving a small cheese slice- served simply with dried fruit, plain crackers (so not to overpower the delicate flavors in the cheese) and perhaps some coins of slightly dry baguette will more than suffice.

Cheese in this manner is a compliment to food, not a means to an end after dinner when you are full.

Francois, the gregarious and ever-smiling “Professeur de Fromage” comes from a long line of cheese makers.  His studied and conversational flair of instruction is filled with humorous narratives and beneficial hints.  All of these made even more interesting because of the ultimate enjoyment of the finest cheeses available.  He demystifies the different varieties, goat, sheep, cow- and breaks each one down into its unique components of flavor.  Sour, sweet, tangy, umami- what?  What is that?  I think it’s the indescribable flavor.  The one between here and there.  Confusing?  Perhaps it is- but after taking a most basic class at the French Cheese Board you’ll certainly be less confused, and considerably more knowledgeable in the art of cheese.

Getting back to how flavor is revealed, Francois covers your eyes with a black eye mask and closes off your nose with a kind of swimmer’s nose clip.  This is to encourage feeling the texture of the cheese through your fingers, without smelling the cheese, nor viewing it.

Is the cheese dry, soft, grainy, crumbly, wet, sticky, polished…?

The list of textures goes on and on.

French cheese comes in all forms, from hard, used for grating, to liquefied and unctuous, meant to be spooned and savored.  There are many varieties and no, cheese is not just for dessert.  It makes for an incredible aperitif with hand cut slices of black footed Spanish Iberico Ham, meant to stimulate the appetite.

Sure, you can enjoy cheese without a blindfold on and certainly without a nose clip blocking your passage to the ability of scent.  But isn’t it interesting to dismiss most French cheeses because they may be overly assertive in aromatics.  That is certainly a fact of life when dealing with washed rind cheeses and still others that turn into liquefaction through aging and cannot be eaten without a spoon, it would just be too sloppy!

Cheese and the study of cheese is as easy as taking a walk down to the French Cheese Board, conveniently located at 41 Spring Street in Nolita.  Bring an open mind and taste yourself into another way of being.  One that embraces the passion for hand-made cheese!

   

 

On Our Bookshelf: Apothecary Cocktails

Written by KELSEY PARRIS

Usually when I pour myself a drink, I’m not thinking about the medicinal properties of my cocktail. That is, until I read Warren Bobrow’s new book, Apothecary Cocktails: Restorative Drinks from Yesterday and Today. In it, OKRA Magazine’s esteemed whiskey expert goes back to his family roots and gives us a fascinating new book exploring the healing powers of our favorite cocktails.

It is full of beautiful photos of delicious looking drinks, split into categories of the ailments that might plague you – weather that’s too cold or too hot, stomach troubles, hangovers, general pain, relaxants and mood enhancers. Having sectioned up the problems, Warren then offers an overview of the solutions one can find in the cocktail world. It seems like almost everything has a medical use, including bitters, herbs, teas, herbal liqueurs, fruits, vegetables, and seltzer. Many of the ingredients appear to be capable of handling many different afflictions, which speaks to the long history of apothecary research and development and the powers of the natural world.

Throughout the book there are fun little disclaimers, like “watch out for frostbite if you get too cozy with this drink!” and “as the Scottish proverb goes, ‘Whisky may not cure the common cold, but it fails more agreeably than most things’” which lighten the mood a bit and remind us that these are, in the end, drinks. Bobrow stays true to his mission and focuses on a wide variety of drinks that are chock full of healing prowess. In some rare cases, that means he includes a few ingredients that might be hard to acquire, like Centerba, or Krupnikas, but most products are easy to get.

There is a good mix of familiar, easier cocktails and more complicated, work intensive drinks. The majority of the recipes stick to the basics, keeping the ingredients simple and the techniques limited to stirring or shaking. A few, like the Rhubarb and Strawberry Swizzle, require several steps, from making a compote, to blending and swizzling until you finally get to enjoy the drink. Being a book for the more under the weather folks, it make sense to stick on the side of go-to drinks that are easy to concoct when you’re in the throes of a flu, while offering a few more experimental beverages you could create when the weather outside really is frightful and you don’t have anything else to do. It’s really lovely to see so many familiar drinks, like the Sazerac, and find out that not only do they taste good, but they settle your stomach with its characteristic combination of bitters and absinthe. Remember these descriptions and tips and you’ll have great tidbits to drop at your next cocktail party!

Sometimes the recipes and the descriptions of all of the various benefits you’re serving yourself appear a bit repetitive. Each recipe has it’s own explanation above it, and since there are plenty of similar ingredients you get a lot of this information over and over. If you’re just flipping through to the appropriate recipe or section, however, that shouldn’t be much of a nuisance.

My favorite drinks all seem to come in the hot weather and painkilling sections, mostly because they feature a lot of citrus, rum, and gin and seem a little more in line with my taste than the (quite powerful sounding) Scotch enhanced lamb stew. Maybe now that it is getting really cold I’ll change my mind. Bobrow himself seems to have really enjoyed getting all this information into one place. His family history with the pharmaceutical business brings a very personal note to the book, indicating that the early force fed tonics built up his immune system as well as his avid interest in the greater power of cocktails. I, for one, will be glad to have this book on hand the next time my head starts to ache or my bones get chilled.

The Hartley Dodge. This photo is from Apothecary Cocktails.

The Hartley Dodge Cocktail  (Bobrow’s Aspirin)

  • 3 slices fresh peach, plus extra slices for garnish
  • 3 ounces (90 ml) bonded100-proof bourbon whiskey
  • 1 ounce (30 ml) sweet vermouth
  • 4 dashes Fee Brothers
  • Whiskey Bitters
  • Ice cubes

Place the peach slices in a Boston shaker, and muddle them. Add the bourbon and vermouth, and continue to muddle so that the flavors are well combined. Add the bitters and a handful of ice cubes, and stir well. Strain into a Collins glass over a large chunk of ice (larger pieces of ice are less likely to dilute the drink). Garnish with an extra slice or two of fresh peach. It’s an analgesic that can’t help but take the edge off what ails you.

 

Fathers DecarbDay Gift!

One of Ardent’s latest customers and biggest fans, Warren Bobrow, also known as the “Cocktail Whisperer,” has been experimenting with cannabis tinctures and infusions for decades, and is one of the first to publish an elegant book on the subject detailing his recipes. We asked Warren to tell us about it and share one of his craft cocktail recipes to help cool you off this summer!“Before I discovered the NOVA Decarboxylation device, I was literally throwing money down the drain. Decarbing cannabis is not usually an easy task. There are dozens of methods shown on the web to decarb and none of them are perfect. If you are using your toaster oven or your regular oven to decarb, stop right now, you’re wasting hard-earned money! I wish I knew about the NOVA when I was writing my book; Cannabis Cocktails, Mocktails, & Tonics. Perhaps the recipes would have turned out more uniformly?! I believe so, having tested the Ardent several dozen times and in many different applications.To fully convert the Delta9-Tetrahydrocannabinol, heat must be used at a specific measure, for a specific period of time. If you mess up the heating part, this leads to wasted money, time and healing! Decarbing with the NOVA makes life easy. Everything you need to do is plug and play. Open up the top of the handsome device. Add cannabis to the metal container inside, replace the silicone lid, then place the hard-plastic top on and press start. That’s it! No dialing in temperatures and hoping that the thermostat on your toaster or regular oven is correct. This product makes it easy, and perfect.THC-Infused Vietnamese Ice Coffee is one of the easiest craft cocktail recipes that I make, and it has no alcohol in it. That’s not to say you can’t add a portion of rum to the mix; please use less of it because of the cannabis.

 

 

 

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Book Review By Will Kersten

Book Review: Cannabis Cocktails, Mocktails & Tonics By Will Kersten


In Cannabis Cocktails, Mocktails & Tonics: The Art of Spirited Drinks & Buzz-Worthy Libations, author, Warren Bobrow presents a “crash course in apothecary medicine,” teaching the reader how to create medicinal and recreational cannabis-infused drinks (some alcoholic and some not) from scratch, with over 75 of the most intriguing drink recipes I’ve ever seen. As a former bartender and lover of classics like Trader Vics 1947 Bartender’s Guide, Jack’s Manual, and even The Joy of Cooking, my bar was set pretty high for this book.  Read More at: https://trichomedaily.com/book-review-cannabis-cocktails-mocktails-tonics/

 

 

 

 


 

Why Cannabis Cocktails Get A Bad Rap When They Are So Wonderful

And a gorgeous recipe for a Louis Armstrong’s Way cannabis fizzy.

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.

Read More athttps://thefreshtoast.com/drink/why-cannabis-cocktails-get-a-bad-rap-when-they-are-so-wonderful/

Louis Armstrong’s Way Fizzy

(makes 2 drinks and a bit more)

4 oz. Clement Rhum Agricole “Canne Bleue”
½ oz. Freshly Squeezed Lemon Juice
1 oz. Freshly Squeezed Orange Juice
1 oz. Fruitations Soda and Cocktail Syrup- Tangerine
½ lime cut into chunks
4 oz. Ginger Beer Soda (sugar cane based, never corn syrup based)
Angostura
To a Boston Shaker: Fill ¾ with ice. Add the Rhum Agricole and the Fresh juices. Add the Fruitations Syrup. Cap and shake hard until frosty. Muddle the lime in a rocks glass or two. Add a couple cubes of ice. Pour over the contents of the Boston Shaker. Finish with about 2 oz. of the Ginger Beer Soda over the top of each glass. Stir. Dot with Angostura. Serve.

What, Exactly, Is the Difference Between Sativa and Indica Strains of Weed?

From Men’s Journal; by

Cannabis is a bit like wine: there are different species, dozens of hybrids, and a world of marketing that makes buying the right kind seriously confusing. For the average customer, the differences between Orange Kush or Blueberry Lamsbread are likely no more clear than the nuances that differentiate a Tavel from a Mouvédre Rosé. Fortunately, there’s really only one thing the average pot smokers needs to know to get by — whether they’re an indica or sativa kind of smoker.

READ MORE AT

http://www.mensjournal.com/food-drink/articles/what-exactly-is-the-difference-between-sativa-and-indica-strains-of-weed-w479335?utm_source=email

 

This 4/20, Catch A Buzz With A Cannabis Cocktail

 Like the word “gay,” the term “edible” has adopted a radically different accepted use than was originally intended. Thanks to mainstream media coverage of medicinal marijuana and the drug’s recreational legalization in seven states, plus Washington, D.C., “edibles” now generally refer to the psychoactive chemical compounds in marijuana … ingestible in the form of food as simple as a jelly bean or as gourmet as fois gras.

While basement chemists and chefs continue to elaborate on edibles, the market is looking toward “drinkables” as the next frontier in catching a high. Some weed-legal states like Washington are already licensing the sale of non-alcoholic beverages that contain THC, the chemical in cannabis that produces the buzz, and DIY mixologists are putting out cannabis cocktail recipes as fast as their minds can fire them up.

Still, the federal government, which classifies marijuana as a Schedule 1 substance, prohibits the addition of THC to commercial alcohol products. However, analysts expect the category to eventually ignite, and producers are positioning themselves for an inevitable rule reversal by seeking and receiving permission to infuse their products with non-psychoactive marijuana compounds like hemp and a type of cannabinoid called CBD. Some medical professionals believe CBD can actually help counter the adverse effects of THC like anxiety and has its own therapeutic properties, though controversy exists at the highest levels over whether CBD is technically legal or not.

 Despite a dim view taken by the Trump Administration and mass-market beer and liquor industries, Kyle Swartz, managing editor of three alcohol-industry magazines and editor of Cannabis Regulator predicts, “We’re absolutely going to see more crossover between cannabis and craft beer and spirits. After all, it’s the same generation that’s pushing growth in all three of those categories: Millennials.”

Not much product has hit the scene yet but it is slowly becoming, as they say, “a thing.” The category first came to my attention a few years ago with the release of Humboldt Brewing’s Humboldt Brown Hemp Ale. I don’t remember much about it other than it was pretty forgettable.

 Last year, a public relations team sent me a bottle of Humboldt Distillery’s Humboldt’s Finest vodka infused with hemp seed (yes, there is a pattern here – Humboldt County, California, can arguably be considered America’s ideological ground zero for pot growing and smoking). As in the hemp ale, the hemp seed produces no high, and distillery founder Abe Stevens tells me he had to send his vodka for tests to ensure it contained no measurable amounts of THC before the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB) would approve it.

He also tells me he knows of just two North American distilleries – one in British Columbia and another in Alaska — that started selling hemp vodka before he launched his last spring but since then he’s received numerous phone calls from entrepreneurs looking for advice. In October, the TTB approved a Colorado beer brewed with CBD, which also doesn’t spark a buzz, for national sale.

“It has a relationship to the growing interest in cannabis. That’s our sales angle, as it certainly helps the story,” he says of his own spirit, which retails for $29.99 MSRP. “But the market needs this product because it’s something new and the herbal quality makes nice cocktails.”

The hemp primarily comes through in the vodka’s aroma though it can be hard to discern among the other botanicals. Plus, the smell of the hemp oils can dissipate quickly.

So if it doesn’t get you high, doesn’t taste like dank herb and doesn’t even smell like a freshly lit Rastafarian, is there really a point? Stevens, who sells Humboldt’s Finest in about a dozen states patchworked across the U.S., says he gets that question all the time, especially from the west coast.

“Sometimes with people who’re really into the cannabis culture … we specifically try and even avoid that aspect and focus on the craft cocktail aspect. In Mississippi and Georgia they don’t have a legal marijuana outlet so to them there’s possibly a lot more novelty,” he says.

Until such a time when the feds do license THC-infused spirits, Humboldt’s Finest and its competitors can find sanctuary behind the bar next to an endless range of DIY possibilities that are building the backbone of today’s craft cannabis cocktail scene. Since around 2014, magazines and websites have been teaching readers how to make (mostly illegal) THC infusions of spirits, syrups, bitters, and the like. Last year, renowned cocktail author Warren Bobrow published the first book on marijuana cocktails, called Cannabis Cocktails, Mocktails and Tonics – The Art of Spirits Drinks & Buzz-Worthy Libations and containing 75 self-tested recipes.

 “I wanted to make it into a wellness book with flavor,” says the 55-year-old conservative dresser. “I wanted to take away some of the stigmas. It’s not a ‘Weekend at Bernie’s’ book, it’s thoughtfully written and beautifully photographed to add possibilities to the regiment of taking cannabis for medicinal purposes. And it’s also tongue-in-cheek.”

But its publication hasn’t brought the New Jersey-based writer much wellness himself. He’s lost consulting clients on the east coast and his father literally disowned him before he died. While his dad had his own reasons for shunning his son, Bobrow’s big-liquor friends presumably stopped associating with him because conventional wisdom says that pot cuts into sales of beer and spirits. Bobrow’s actually made this argument himself, as has Cowan and Company, which made news by entering the marijuana investment space and analyzing a Nielsen report that showed beer sales dropping in three states where the drug has become legal.

 But the jury is still very much out. Bart Watson of the Brewers Association craft beer lobbying group argues that he sees no causal effect on beer sales in the short term, and Jason Notte of Market Watch reminds readers that overall beer sales have been falling on their own, with no push from pot.

Regardless of whether legal consumption will harm or help alcoholic beverages in the long term, one aspect does need to be addressed: the effects of mixing alcohol and pot.

“This is a legitimate concern,” says Swartz. “People must be careful to pace themselves when consuming alcohol and cannabis simultaneously. But after more people learn how, I believe mixing cannabis and alcohol will become even more socially acceptable.”

Right now, it’s not necessarily publicly acceptable, even in states where it’s legal. Californians need a card to purchase weed, and a sales guy at an extraordinarily professional dispensary in Bend, Oregon, told me to furtively smoke my legally purchased $9 joint on a dark residential sidewalk instead of lighting up at the bar where my friends were enjoying craft beers, cocktails and cigars. Did I order any fewer drinks than I might have? Yes. But not because I was stoned. Rather, it’s because I had to leave the bar for 20 minutes at a time to light up in secret. Had I been able to ingest my intoxicant as an alcoholic digestible I could have sat there far longer … and I probably would have ordered even more.

 

https://www.forbes.com/sites/taranurin/2017/04/19/this-420-catch-a-buzz-with-a-cannabis-cocktail/#35be3e4cd35e