420 Foodie Club!

Warren Bobrow, Master Mixologist/Chef/Author

 

 

Warren is a formidable force in the food and cocktail industry. Aside from being a master mixologist and chef, he is also an accomplished writer for various publications, as well as an author of four acclaimed books, the latest of which is Cannabis Cocktails, Mocktails & Tonics: The Art of Spirited Drinks & Buzz-Worthy Libations.

We had the pleasure of interviewing Warren and learning more about creative and entrepreneurial journey:

Can you tell us about your background?

I graduated from college with a degree in film from Emerson University in Boston.  The industry didn’t smile upon me, probably because I had family in the biz and there were strict nepotism rules in the 70’s and 80’s.  So I had to find something to do that wasn’t television and motion pictures.  Fortunately, my parents took me to Europe with them (my late father did international law) over the years and our extensive travel and love of culture rubbed off on me.  We were not hotel room diners, we ate in local places, local food/drink was the basis of my upbringing.  So this influence had a major hold upon my dreams and ambitions.  And growing up on a farm in Morristown, NJ that was my family’s gentleman’s farm- with horses and crops sharing the fields- certainly influenced my future endeavors.  I was encouraged strongly to learn about farming, especially organic and Biodynamic techniques.

I learned to cook at the knee of Estelle Ellis, who was our family cook when I was a boy.  I’ve also taken ACF and Sommelier’s classes and attended Johnson/Wales when it was located in Charleston, SC.  I’ve spent time in kitchens all over starting as a pot scrubber then graduating to a dishwasher.   I’m trained professionally as a saucier, soups- stocks- sauces.

How did you get into mixology?

I’ve been mixing only since 2011 or so. Mixology is new to me.  I started as a bar back at 50 years old!  No jobs for bartenders without experience, so again I started at the bottom and worked my way upwards.

How did you transition into making cannabis infused cocktails?

I’ve always enjoyed weed, since 14 or so when I smoked it at a concert at Madison Square Garden. I’ve also cooked with it.  Made brownies.  Got really stoned.  I transferred my interest and passion for ingredients to Cannabis and my talent in the cocktail arena.  The Cocktail Whisperer is my moniker.

How have your family and friends reacted to your involvement in the cannabis field?

My father was so disturbed when he learned of my 4th book that he disowned me.  I have friends who appreciate what I’ve accomplished but in the broader reach the liquor people are concerned about weed and the weed people are concerned about liquor.

What challenges have you encountered starting out? And what challenges do you still encounter now?

Being poor.  Unable to make a living.  Going into bankruptcy…that sort of thing.  But finding my way and hopefully making myself a success on my own and with my own talent.  Challenges?  Drugs are BAD!

“It would be nice to see the day when I don’t have to worry about getting arrested for my craft.”  

Who are your favorite chefs?

Martha Lou of Martha Lou’s Kitchen in Charleston, SC and Marco Pierre White– the youngest three Michelin star chef in the world.  Such passion!  Bar influencers, I’d say, Jerry Thomas, Chris James,  Gaz Regan, Francis Schott, and Dale DeGroff.

How do you make a great cocktail?

[Use] the best craft spirits money can buy…  spirits not tainted by caramel coloring, added sugar, glycol, you know- garbage spirits- I don’t use them.  I suggest you don’t either.  It makes sense to use craft spirits, because what I do is the highest form of craft.

What is your signature drink?

They are seasonal of course, but for the winter- I love a Bourbon Milk Punch made with Barrell Bourbon  that has been infused with Cherry Pie ( a strain of Cannabis) with vanilla, heavy cream, Demerara syrup and milk with ice and Angostura Bitters.   I’m also thrilled by the Mezan Guyana Rum with Fruitations Tangerine Soda and Cocktail Syrup finished with bitters infused with THC.

“The weed world is an intellectual one.” 

What advice can you give to chefs/mixologists who want to get into this industry? 

Be prepared to be under the influence of Cannabis and have to explain things.  What kind of things?  Hmmmm.  just let your creativity show.  And don’t cut off your fingertips while talking.  Knife skills are so very important.

Remember, in most places in the country, cannabis is illegal.  You must NEVER bring cannabis infused liquors into establishments with liquor licenses.  Why?   That should be pretty clear.  Follow my instructions, experiment and by all means test the results on yourself- not on your friends!

 

Books:

Apothecary Cocktails: Restorative Drinks from Yesterday and Today (2013)

Whiskey Cocktails: Rediscovered Classics and Contemporary Craft Drinks (2014)

Bitters and Shrub Syrup Cocktails: Restorative Vintage Cocktails, Mocktails & Elixirs (2015)

Cannabis Cocktails, Mocktails & Tonics: The Art of Spirited Drinks & Buzz-Worthy Libations (2016)

MARIJUANA COCKTAILS? SOUTH FLORIDA DISTILLERS WANTS TO MAKE FLORIDA’S FIRST CANNABIS-INFUSED RUM

http://www.browardpalmbeach.com/restaurants/marijuana-cocktails-south-florida-distillers-wants-to-make-floridas-first-cannabis-infused-rum-7727698

South Florida Distillers cofounder Joe Durkin (right) with Cannabis Cocktails, Mocktails, and Tonics author Warren Bobrow during the 2016 Rum Renaissance Festival in Miami.

South Florida Distillers cofounder Joe Durkin (right) with Cannabis Cocktails, Mocktails, and Tonics author Warren Bobrow during the 2016 Rum Renaissance Festival in Miami.

[Excerpt] According to New Jersey-based mixologist, author, and “cocktail whisperer” spirit expert Warren Bobrow, cannabis-infused cocktails like Durkin’s Dank & Stormy are the future of mixology, what he expects to become a growing trend as the decriminalization, legalization, and normalization of marijuana occurs nationwide.  Bobrow recently met Durkin during the 2016 Rum Renaissance Festival in Miami that took place April 15 through 17, where the two discussed the potential for professional collaboration. “We were talking about cocktails with cannabis infusions and how recipes like mine — mixed with premium liquors — can be a match made in heaven,” says Bobrow. “When you mix marijuana and alcohol together, they play beautifully together.”

He should know; Bobrow’s most recent work is called Cannabis Cocktails, Mocktails, and Tonics, a 160-page book featuring 75 cocktail recipes that use cannabis. When it hits store shelves June 1, it will be the first of its kind, according to Library of Congress records.  “To be clear, I’m not promoting this from the distillers’ level but rather on the bartending level — creative bartenders interested in the homeopathic history of cannabis as a medicinal tonic, the same recipes that were being used right up until the 1940s,” says Bobrow. “I believe, with this book, I’m in the right place to help make history.” Durkin hopes to make history too — as the first Florida distiller to legally brand and sell a cannabis-infused rum. Despite the fact that he can’t promote, bottle, serve, or even make Sour Diesel Fwaygo as such, more than anything else, Durkin says his goal is to open people’s minds to a different — and equally pleasurable — cannabis experience. “From a bottle instead of a bong,” says  Durkin. “It’s a great way for people who have never smoked — or don’t want to smoke — to experience all the benefits of marijuana.” While it may seem ludicrous to think the federal regulators will ever allow the two substances to be combined and sold in the same product, the idea actually isn’t that far out there. Right now you can find a bill in the U.S. House of Representatives that would remove marijuana from the Controlled Substances Act, allowing it to be regulated and taxed like alcohol, meaning The Food and Drug Administration would have the same authority over marijuana as it does for alcohol. As the regulatory landscape surrounding cannabis changes, distilleries already skilled at making a quality, cannabis-infused product will have the upper hand, adds Durkin. “First and foremost, I’m an advocate for legalizing marijuana,” says Durkin. “I believe that — in the next 5 to 10 years — cannabis will be a federally regulated substance and — like Warren — I see an opportunity to make an innovative and delicious product, while also making history.”

Happy 420!

My fourth book, “Cannabis Cocktails” comes out June 2016, and includes 75 recipes for spirit-cannabis drinks, tonics, syrups and bitters, along with non-alcoholic options. I outline multiple methods for decarboxylating the cannabis—to activate the THC—into mixers such as clarified butter or coconut oil, as well as spirit infusions.  The range of recipes will take imbibers from early morning to late night. Readers will choose from Vietnamese iced coffee or piña colada (both with cannabis-infused condensed milk), refreshing lemonade and calming herbal teas, or spinoffs inspired by the classics—take an Old Fashioned, for example, made new with homemade cannabis-infused bitters.

It can be pre-ordered by clicking any of the three links on the side of the page, or by clicking on the below photo!

Cheers, WB

 

Cannabis Cocktails!