Before you mix up a cannabis-infused cocktail, there are a few things you should know. This is not a matter that should be taken as casually as the average cocktailor smoking a joint.
I’m so very honored!
Edibles are a fun, convenient and covert way to consume cannabis, whether for recreation or medical purposes. Edibles are yummy treats infused with marijuana, that deliver the medicinal and psychoactive ingredients to your system without having to smoke anything. They can take the form of anything from brownies to borscht, with the help of infused oils like cannabutter. You can make savory cannabis foods like spaghetti, sweet treats like cookies and candies, or even drinks like cocktails and marijuana tea. If you want to get started making your own edibles at home but do not know how, don’t worry – there is a cannabis cookbook out there for you! In this list we will go over our top 10 favorite edibles cookbooks, featuring recipes for all tastes, budgets, and skill levels. You will find omnivorous and vegan treats, sweet and savory, complex recipes and some that take as little as five minutes to prepare.
If you want a more in-depth look on how to make cannabutter and other cannabis oils, check out our How To Make Pot Brownies post where we cover all of the steps. Make sure to follow all local laws when growing, processing, or eating your cannabis!
1. ‘Cannabis Cocktails, Mocktails and Tonics: The Art of Spirited Drinks and Buzz-Worthy Libations’ by Warren Bobrow
One of the newest ways people are enjoying cannabis is by combining it with cocktails and mocktails. This is especially popular at dinner parties in the any states where cannabis has recently become legal for recreation. But, with a strong taste and a particular method of infusion necessary, beginners may not know how best to make cannabis cocktails. This book has a collection of 75 cannabis drink recipes by “The Cocktail Whisperer” Warren Bobrow. It also includes a full history of cannabis as a social and medicinal drug. You will find recipes not only for cocktails but for shrubs, bitters, butters, oils and even coffee, tea and milk-based drinks for the morning hours. This is a really fun book for anyone who loves drinks and cannabis.
Price: Kindle $2.99 Hardcover $17.57
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Now, Warren has generously shared a couple of his favorite drinks that are perfect for transitioning from Summer to Fall.
Labor Day may be considered the unofficial end of Summer, but temperatures are still high here in Los Angeles and probably will be for a few more weeks. These cooling concoctions will definitely help prepare for the cooler climate to come, and the cardamom in the second recipe welcomes in the warm spices associated with Fall.
Really though, there are no rules that say you can’t drink these beverages any time of year. Do you only eat ice cream when it’s hot outside? I’m guessing the answer is no.
So, give one of these drinks a try this weekend to cool off and, if you love it, enjoy it whenever you feel like it, regardless of the weather!
Hoochie Coochie Man
“In India, where temperatures regularly hit three figures, cooling beverages are a must. Enter the lassi, a yogurt-based drink that’s akin to a smoothie. My favorite version features mango puree—or, in a pinch, mango sorbet or sherbet—paired with thick Greek-style yogurt and a snow shower of crushed coconut water ice. If you’re making a Hoochie Coochie Man, you’ll want to correct it with a little cannabis-infused light rum. Try infusing your rum with Critical Kush, a mostly-Indica strain. It has deep aromatics of Asian spices, freshly turned soil, and a concentrated pungency that’s the right contrast for the sweetness of the mango and the yogurt. And there’s enlightenment in each sip. (This strain of Kush is a powerful full-body relaxant, though, so no driving or bicycle riding allowed!) Top off your Hoochie with a couple drops of Creole bitters, which were originally invented as a remedy for dysentery.”
How to make the Hoochie Coochie Man cocktail:
• 4 ounces (120 ml) mango puree
• 4 ounces (120 ml) Greek-style yogurt
• 1 ounce (30 ml) cannabis-infused light rum
• 1 cup crushed coconut water ice
• Creole-style bitters
Note: To infuse your rum, follow the same instructions given to infuse your vermouth that we shared in our previous post for the Mezzrole Cocktail recipe. This technique is straight Warren’s book and can be used to infuse any liquor of your choice.
Combine all the ingredients in blender and process until smooth. Divide between two Burgundy wine glasses with plenty of freshly crushed coconut water ice. Dot each with a couple drops of the Creole bitters.
Rose Saffron Cardamom Lassi
“I’m a bit of a lassi addict regardless of the weather, but in summertime, the cravings really kick in. That’s why I couldn’t resist including a second lassi recipe here—one that’s dripping with Asian perfumes of rose, bright-yellow saffron, and green-citrusy cardamom. Cardamom, by the way, is the flavor equivalent of a knife: it slices right through the rich milk fat in the yogurt and milk. This lassi is sweetened with a Medicated Rich Simple Syrup that’s been made with raw honey: make yours with Sativa strain Early Pearl. Its aromatics of chocolate, warm spices, and slow-cooked stone fruits add nuance to the lassi’s exotic floral flavors. This recipe makes two servings, and it contains plenty of medicated syrup, so don’t drink the whole batch yourself—at least not at one sitting.”
How to make a (non-alcoholic) Rose Saffron Cardamom Lassi:
• 2 cups (460 g) Greek-style yogurt
• 3/4 cup (175 ml) whole milk
• 4-5 threads dried saffron, reconstituted in 2 tablespoons warmed milk, then cooled
• Scant pinch of turmeric
• Seeds from 6 cardamom pods, lightly crushed
• 1 tablespoon (15 ml) rosewater
• 1/4 cup (60 ml) Medicated Rich Simple Syrup (see page 43), made with raw honey
Place all the ingredients except the Medicated Rich Simple Syrup in a blender and process until smooth and creamy. Add the Medicated Rich Simple Syrup: taste, and add more sugar and rosewater, if required. Blend again. Divide between two Burgundy wine glasses, and top each with a pinch of saffron, if desired.
Bonus Recipe: Medicated Rich Simple Syrup
Warren was generous enough to also provide his special Medicated Simple Syrup recipe from page 43 of his latest book!
“Simple syrup is an essential weapon in any bartender’s arsenal, and if you’re making cannabis cocktails, you’ll want to have a batch of this at the ready. Feel free to make it with either Demerara sugar or raw honey—and you can also doctor it up with just about any kind of fresh herb or flavoring. (The glycerine helps speed up the absorption of THC into your digestive system.) Use it in just about any recipe that calls for simple syrup.”
If using Demerara sugar:
• 1 cup filtered spring water
• 1 cup demerara sugar
• 4 grams finely ground decarbed cannabis
• 1 tablespoon vegetarian (non-GMO) liquid lecithin
If using raw honey:
• 2 cups filtered spring water
• 1 cup raw honey
• 4 grams finely ground decarbed cannabis
• 1 tablespoon vegetarian (non-GMO) liquid lecithin
Pour the water into a saucepan and bring to a rolling boil. Reduce the temperature to about 190ºF. Add the sugar or raw honey and stir it until it is completely dissolved into the water. (If you’re using raw honey and you find that the syrup looks too clear, add a little more honey.) Add the cannabis, then cover the saucepan. Reduce the heat again to about 160ºF and simmer for at least 30 minutes to infuse the simple syrup with the cannabis.
Reduce the temperature a third time, to medium-low, and add the lecithin. Cook for another 10 minutes, stirring constantly to prevent cooking and burning. Remove from the heat, and strain through a cheesecloth-lined strainer into a stainless steel bowl that’s resting in a larger, ice-filled container. This will help it cool quickly. Makes about 1 cup.
To make a Medicated Rich Ginger Simple Syrup, make the Medicated Rich Simple Syrup with raw honey instead of sugar, and add a 1-inch piece of ginger root, peeled and thickly sliced, along with the cannabis. Continue with the recipe as directed.