6 Things We Learned About Cannabis Cocktails from Warren Bobrow!

Warren Bobrow likens his fascination with cannabis cocktails to that of a bitters aficionado: in his eyes, adding the herb to his cocktails is just another way of experimenting with depth, balance, and flavor, not unlike the effects bitters can have on a drink. “It adds very green tasting notes and aromas, and I find that to be quite beguiling,” he says. (Of course, there’s one thing THC can do to a cocktail that even the finest bitters can’t, which is adding a certain extra psychoactive je nai sais quoi to a beverage.) Bobrow, who will release“Cannabis Cocktails, Mocktails and Tonics” through Quarto Publishing this summer, has spent years experimenting with various drinks, tinctures and modifiers that give a little more buzz than your average alcoholic concoction.

HighTimes

In Warren’s recipes, cannabis appears everywhere from bitters to shrubs to Vietnamese iced coffee. Photo by Glenn Scott Photography, c/o Fair Winds Press, an imprint of Quarto Publishing.

Whether you’re on-board with the idea of marijuana mixology, or you think the whole idea is a misguided liability straight out of the pages of a bad frat party, these methods and ideas are at least worth discussing—particularly as recreational pot legalization slowly grows throughout the U.S. So, we decided to invite Warren to do a live-streamed Shake Up to talk through his ideas and explain his approach.

First, a few obvious but necessary points we must acknowledge: if marijuana has been outlawed in your state, don’t try this at home. It’s illegal. And don’t try this at your bar, period. Warren makes it clear that his recipes are intended for non-commercial, home use only, and only in states where recreational cannabis is legal. Finally, while Warren does sing the curative praises of cannabis and its alleged healing properties, he is not a physician, so not a word of this should be construed as medical advice.

That being said, if you’re curious about the whole phenomenon, read on for the highlights and check out the full video recap below.

1. They actually do have some historical relevance

Think a pot-spiked cocktail sounds like something a bong-ripping college bro would think up? Warren begs to differ. He sites the herbs used in early apothecaries (including, yes, the herb) as a precursor to cannabis-infused elixirs, similar to the way bitters and digestifs were developed for their medicinal properties. “I wanted to unleash the power of the early apothecary,” Warren says of his book. While the exact medicinal qualities of cannabis are still up for debate, history and folk remedies do uphold cannabis’s potentially curative properties. For centuries, Warren says, it’s been used for healing purposes and relaxation purposes. “I can’t tell you that cannabis is going to cure all of your ills, but I can tell you that it certainly is going to make someone feel better.”

2. Decarbing is a crucial first step

In layman’s terms, the process of decarbing uses heat to release the specific molecules in THC that, as Warren phrases it, “give you the feeling you’re looking for.” It’s a necessary first step for any mixology-related experimentation with cannabis, assuming you’re after the psychosomatic effects and not just the flavor. Warren’s go-to method involves wrapping your product in a heat-safe turkey roasting bag (to preserve aroma and flavor), and giving it three 1.5-minute nukes in the microwave, though other methods include running it through a toaster oven at 240 degrees for about an hour. Either way, be sure to open your windows and expect your home to reek for a bit.

3. Infusion is best with whiskey, rum and mezcal, but the world is your oyster

Warren has infused cannabis into everything from mezcal to bitters to coconut water. His go-to method was inspired by the David Arnold rapid infusion technique of using a nitrous oxide-charged whipping siphon. Be forewarned, though, that the aesthetic effects of infusing cannabis into liquor can be less than ideal: clear spirits like gin or vodka will likely result in a muddy-looking, greenish-brown end product. (Warren cites a recent experiment with absinthe as deliciously vegetal in flavor, but not so easy on the eyes.) He recommends tinkering with dark spirits like whiskey and rum first, and has also found that “the mysterious nature of mezcal lends itself extremely well to the use of cannabis in cocktails.”

4. These aren’t meant for partying — so take it easy, tiger

Warren made it very clear that he strongly advises against partying too hard with these elixirs. Rather than slamming pot cocktails to kill two vices with one stone, he recommends taking it easy with no more than one drink per hour. He sees them more as a health tonic than a pre-game power hour fuel. “The terminology for the book is healing, not ‘obliteration’,” he says. Plus, he says, pounding a few of these just to send your brain to Jupiter sends the wrong message to people less familiar with cannabis culture. You wouldn’t want to send perception of potheads back to Reefer Madness times, would you?

5. But, if you do have too much, there’s an antidote

If you have a little too much fun with these tinctures, Warren swears by this one weird trick: chug a glass of freshly squeezed lemonade, and chew three or four black peppercorns. “I don’t know how it works,” Warren admits, “but I will tell you: it works.”

6. Different strains offer different, nuanced tasting notes and pairing possibilities — just like spirits

You wouldn’t treat a bottle of classic London Dry the same way you would a juniper-forward, botanical-driven craft gin, would you? The same could be said for individual strains of cannabis, according to Warren, who read from the section of tasting notes in his book. Pineapple Kush, he says, has notes of pineapple, mint, and burnt sugar, and makes a great addition to homemade orgeat in a classic Zombie, while Thin Mint Cookie’s sweet peppermint notes make a great additive to hot chocolate in the form of canna-butter. Overall, though, Warren recommends sticking to sativa strains for daytime use and indica strains for night.

https://talesofthecocktail.com/techniques/6-things-we-learned-about-cannabis-cocktails-warren-bobrow

Malaprop’s Bookstore 5:30 PM today![Asheville, NC]

May 6, 2016 Book signing with Warren Bobrow at Malaprop’s

Asheville’s own Malaprop’s Bookstore will host a reading and signing at 5:30 PM on May 6th with this well-known cocktail author. Bobrow, known as the “Cocktail Whisperer” among being a notable writer featured in Saveur and many other publications, is the author of three books:Apothecary Cocktails: Restorative Drinks from Yesterday and Today (2013), Whiskey Cocktails: Rediscovered Classics and Contemporary Craft Drinks (2014) and Bitters and Shrub Syrup Cocktails: Restorative Vintage Cocktails, Mocktails & Elixirs (2015).http://cocktailwhisperer.com

Warren Bobrow_Author Photo

Warren Bobrow is the celebrated author/bar man and mixologist responsible for the forthcoming book, Cannabis Cocktails. This book which takes the tack of healing over being just another stoner book is certain to make some waves in the formerly stoic liquor world.

Warren is a published food writer as well as a mixologist. A long strange trip it’s been. He writes for the “Fabulous Beekman 1802 Boys” as their cocktail writer. (Klaus, The Soused Gnome)Warren has recently written for Whole Foods/Dark Rye, Eater.com, Distiller Magazine, Edible East End, Total Food Service, Tabletop Journal, Beverage Media Group, Leite’s Culinaria and Foodista.

 

 

Rochester Cocktail Revival May 9-15, 2016!!

http://www.rochestercocktailrevival.com/

Countdown 6 days and events are selling out fast, got tickets to your favorite upcoming seminars and parties for the 2016 Rochester Cocktail Revival? While perhaps you should attend all of RCR’s events next week, definitely score tickets to the top picks!

https://vimeo.com/160114555

Stirred, Not Shaken

Friday, May 13th, a new perspective is shown on the cocktails and art inspired by the James Bond series of films. Join Absolut vodka brand ambassador Josh Pearson and George Eastman curator Lisa Hostetler for a presentation and guided tour showcasing cocktails such as the vesper as well as the photographic works of Taryn Simon.

Secrets of the Mint Julep & Sazerac

Few cocktails are as important in American history as the Mint Julep and Sazerac. Join author Robert Moss at the Little Theatre on Sunday, May 15th as he dispels rumors and illustrates the legends that reveal the secretive origins of these inimitable drinks.

Bar Room Battle Royale

The third-annual ULTIMATE BATTLE for Rochester Bartender SUPREMACY!

“Iron Shaker” team competition & “Bar Ninja” speed competition will establish bragging rights and glory for the bar team and bartenders that prove victorious against immeasurable odds.

Ticket includes entry, three cocktails, a spirit tasting and the chance to see this BATTLE ROYALE up close and personal.

M A R K E T  Site A L L   A C C E S S  Pass

Whether you’re attending for “professional” reasons or just ready to tipple, go for the whole shebang & grab a Market Site All Access Pass. The “party-pack” gets you into 4 parties held over the course of 3 days – spirit and cocktail samples from the folks leading the Hospitality Industry with innovate techniques & locally made Craft Spirits.

The Mezzrole Cannabis Cocktail!

The Mezzrole Cannabis Cocktail

The Mezzrole Cannabis Cocktail

The Travel Joint has teamed up with master mixologist Warren Bobrow to bring you some amazing cannabis infused cocktail recipes leading in to the summer. Bobrow, known as the “Cocktail Whisperer serves as the master mixologist for several brands of liquor, including the Busted Barrel rum produced by New Jersey’s first licensed distillery since Prohibition. He has also published four outstanding books including his new release “Cannabis Cocktails, Mocktails, and Tonics” which is available for purchase here.

“I’m a huge fan of Manhattan-style cocktails; they make great aperitifs.
This one is named after Milton “Mezz” Mezzrow, a jazz musician who lived in Harlem in the 1920s. And, as Mezz himself would have known, the term for a well-rolled cannabis cigarette was a “mezzrole”—so I just had to commemorate both man and medicine in this elegant cocktail. It combines cannabis-infused sweet vermouth, handmade cocktail cherries, and quality bourbon into a small, but well-formed, libation that’s deeply healing. When you’re infusing your vermouth, consider choosing a Sativa-Indica hybrid strain called Cherry Pie. It’s redolent of sweet and sour cherries, and it complements the toasty, oaky flavors inherent in the liquors. As for making crushed ice, it’s best to place the ice in a Lewis bag—a heavy canvas bag that’s made for the job—before whacking it with a wooden mallet or rolling pin.”

INGREDIENTS

  • 4-6 Greenish Cocktail Cherries (see page 45)
  • 1/2 ounce (15 ml) cannabis-infused vermouth, such as Uncouth Vermouth’s Seasonal Wildflower Blend (Decarb 1/4 oz (7 grams ) cannabis of your choice at 240 degrees in a turkey roasting bag. If you use a magical butter machine there is no need to grind.  If not please grind fine.  Cool after 45 minutes.  Your cannabis should be dark in color and quite pungent in aroma.  Infuse at 160 degrees for an hour.  Let cool and bring up to the original level with fresh vermouth)
  • Handful of crushed ice
  • 1 ounce (30 ml) bourbon whiskey
  • Aromatic bitters

Muddle the Greenish Cocktail Cherries with a wooden muddler or the handle of a wooden spoon, then top with the vermouth. Continue to muddle for 30 seconds to combine the flavors. Cover with the crushed ice. Top with the bourbon, then dot with aromatic bitters. Don’t have two: one should be more than enough.

Look for more cannabis infused cocktail recipes from Warren Bobrow coming to The Travel Joint soon.

http://thetraveljoint.com/the-mezzrole-cannabis-cocktail/

ASHEVILLE COCKTAIL WEEK!!

Do please join me!

https://mountainx.com/food/high-spirits-a-guide-to-asheville-cocktail-week/

May 1-8  Best Bloody Mary Contest takes place at participating Asheville bars and restaurants

Wednesday, May 4 Cocktail Theatre with Rob Floyd

Thursday, May 5  Spirit Dinner at Rhubarb with Warren Bobrow and John Fleer, Cinco de Mayo tasting and bar crawl with Hornitos tequila at The Imperial Life

Friday, May 6  Book signing with Warren Bobrow at Malaprop’s, Southeastern Distilling Expo at the S&W Building (service industry only; free of charge), Industry seminars at the S&W (service industry only; free of charge), Fourth annual ELIXIR bar competition at the S&W

Saturday, May 7 Hangover Brunch at The Imperial Life with Cathead Vodka, Cocktail tours with Eating Asheville, Kentucky Derby Party at the Smoky Park Supper Club’s Boat House, with Maker’s Mark, Old Fashioned Nightcap with Knob Creek on the rooftop of the Social Lounge

Sunday, May 8 Best Bloody Mary Contest results released online

All events require either tickets or an RSVP. For ticketing, schedule details and more information, visit ashevillewineandfood.com.

Cannabis Tinctures, the Latest Craze in Craft Cocktails!!

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https://bevvy.co/articles/cannabis-tinctures-the-latest-craze-in-craft-cocktails/2605

We’ve come a long way since the days of Reefer Madness. With the gradual easing of marijuana prohibition laws throughout the United States over the last decade or two, we’ve witnessed a steadily-increasing (albeit divisive) acceptance of the world’s second-favorite recreational drug in mainstream culture. Though we’re probably still another several years away from full legalization, that hasn’t stopped enterprising bartenders and cocktail enthusiasts from beginning to experiment with cannabis tinctures in their artisanal drinks.

Cannabis Tinctures Have a History

Strange as that may seem, it’s actually a pretty natural step in the evolution of craft booze—or, perhaps more accurately, a step back into the old days when bitters, shrubs, and aromatic spirits took up a good chunk of the local apothecary shop.

Long before the drug was first outlawed in the US, cannabis tinctures were relatively common treatments for a whole host of ailments, from nausea to muscle spasms and chronic pain. Much like aromatic bitters, which started their lives as health tonics, it was probably only a matter of time before cannabis-infused ingredients made their way into the cocktail world as well.

Of course, no conversation about cannabis cocktails can begin without a requisite nod to the elephant in the room: in most parts of the country, consuming these drinks recreationally is still illegal. Outside of Alaska, Colorado, Oregon, and Washington, the prospect of ordering a cocktail infused with cannabis bitters at your local bar is still a distant one (and even in states with full legalization, there are generally still laws prohibiting public consumption of the stuff).

That said, if the pendulum continues its current swing away from prohibition—all those new tax dollars do have a certain appeal—it’s likely that this conversation will only become more relevant in the coming years.

How Do Cannabis Cocktails Work?

Legal issues aside, cannabis tinctures are actually pretty interesting from a scientific perspective. While there are numerous compounds in cannabis that have therapeutic properties, the most widely-known and famously psychoactive ones are the cannabinoids, chief among them being tetrahydrocannabinol (THC).

Most of the THC in cannabis, though, spends its time tied up as tetrahydrocannabinolic acid, or THCA. When the plant is heated (commonly by smoking), THCA undergoes a reaction known as decarboxylation, in which it ditches its carboxyl group—the part of its structure that makes it an acid—in the form of carbon dioxide. After heating, you’re left with regular ol’ THC.

When making a cannabis tincture or infusion, though, there’s no innate heating process to cause that decarboxylation (or “decarbing,” as it’s known in some circles), so it needs to be introduced beforehand. Generally, this is done by baking the cannabis in a low-temperature oven. Warren “Cocktail Whisperer” Bobrow suggests giving it a few quick runs through the microwave in a turkey bag instead, as it doesn’t stink up your kitchen quite so powerfully.

After that, the cannabis is macerated in a high-proof spirit, much like the first step in making homemade bitters. From there, it can either be used as a straightforward, infused base spirit, turned into bitters, added to syrups, or used to make any number of other ingredients.

Cannabis Cocktail Recipes

If you’re looking for some recipes to try out yourself (which, once again, we can only recommend to people who are of age and live in states where it’s legal), keep an eye out for Warren Bobrow’s new book Cannabis Cocktails, Mocktails, and Tonics, which comes out on June 1st.

In general, though, aficionados tend to recommend staying away from spirit-forward drinks, like a cannabis-infused Old-Fashioned or Martini—the flavor of these infused spirits is fairly pungent, and it will easily overpower the other ingredients in your cocktail.

Highballs work well, like a Moscow Mule (Bobrow makes a Kentucky Mule with cannabis-infused bourbon), as do vegetal or citrusy recipes of any kind (the Pimm’s Cup and Ramos Gin Fizz have both received high marks). They dilute the infusion a bit and bind the flavors together better than subtler cocktails.

But what makes this such an interesting subject is the fact that there are so few documented recipes out there at the moment. It’s an entirely new area of experimentation, and there isn’t yet much of an accepted canon—mixologists have only recently started to entertain the idea of cannabis as an ingredient.

We’ll refrain from suggesting that you run out there and start experimenting yourself, as it’s a pretty limited number of our readers who can actually do that, but we definitely think you’ll want to keep an eye on this trend. Even if you don’t partake, it’s not often that we get to witness a brand-new category of craft cocktail being developed.