Authors talk butter, cannabis cocktails in Woodstock
This week the Golden Notebook bookstore, 29 Tinker Street, Woodstock, brings us two gastro-literary events.
The first, at 4 p.m. Saturday, December 3 at the bookstore features Award-winning food writer and chef Elaine Khosrova reading from and discussing her book “Butter: A Rich History.” From the ancient butter bogs of Ireland to the sacred butter sculptures of Tibet, Butter is about so much more than food, she tells us. She includes the essential collection of carefully developed core butter recipes, from beurre manie and croissants to pate brisee and the perfect buttercream frosting, and provides practical how-tos for making various types of butter at home — no churning necessary.
Then, in what may be a perfect complement to the Butter event, Warren Bobrow brings us Cannabis Cocktails, Mocktails & Tonics, this one at 6 p.m. Saturday, December 3 at the Golden Notebook.
Bobrow is the creator of the blog cocktailwhisperer.com, and he’ll teach you how to create your own cannabis infused cocktails. He insists that combining cannabis and cocktails is a hot new trend and he’ll show you the essential instructions for de-carbing cannabis to release its full psychoactive effect. He’ll urge you to ‘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.’ Bobrow is the author of Apothecary Cocktails, Whiskey Cocktails and Bitters and Shrub Syrup Cocktails. He has taught classes on spirits and cocktails all over the world, including an advanced class on rum at the Moscow Bar Show.
Noted mixologist and marijuana enthusiast Warren Bobrow has combined his two passions into one fantastic book that’s sure to be a fixture on the shelves of hedonistic cannaphiles everywhere. Cannabis Cocktails, Mocktails & Tonicscontains 75 recipes for all types of fantastic drinks subtly infused with THC. Beyond his classy options for inebriation, Bobrow shares considerable knowledge on the origins of healing tonics and how alcohol-based cannabis tinctures were once a vital ingredient in the apothecarist’s pantry.
Chapters include basic instruction on infusing alcohol, preparing tonics, shrubs and tinctures, and then using these base ingredients to infuse afternoon liveners, after dinner drinks, warming beverages to chase away the chill and cooling beverages to soothe the brow. If you’ve ever wanted to learn how to infuse cannabis into absinthe, make marijuana simple syrup or add THC to a cocktail cherry, look no further than this indispensable volume.
Creating a diverse supply of cannabis-infused milks, tinctures, oils, syrups and shrubs allows a mixologist to add a new dimension to craft cocktails, which Bobrow describes as “an alternative means for dispensing the medicine that’s incredibly intriguing.” In-depth instructions on infusing cannabis into various types of liquors emphasize safety in preparation and while imbibing. Plenty of mocktail recipes for different types of THC-infused drinks offer opportunities for those seeking an alternative method of inebriation to completely substitute cannabis for alcohol.
“Less is more,” Bobrow cautions, relating tales of his own overwhelming experiences that led him to cut back the levels of alcohol in this collection of drink recipes, aimed at finding a harmonious balance between bud and booze. Bobrow’s foolproof tip for a come-down cocktail involves a “glass of freshly squeezed lemon juice and chewing three peppercorns,” which helped him feel much better after an enhanced evening at Disneyland went way too far up “Space Mountain.”
Some cannabis cocktails use a tincture to deliver the right THC dose.An authority on cocktail history, legend and lore, Bobrow explained, “as I started experimenting with bitters, I realized you can add balance and depth to a craft cocktail and have it be healing at the same time.” Aromatic bitters were traditionally used to treat an upset stomach, and their curative qualities pair well with cannabis.
A “shrub” is a fruit-infused syrup made by combining fresh berries or preserves with some type of vinegar and sugar to preserve seasonal flavors and incorporate them into cocktails. Bobrow’s Quick Strawberry-Balsamic Cannabis Shrub steeps ground, activated cannabis with strawberry preserves and white balsamic vinegar to create a sweet sensi syrup for use in drinks like Dr. Bamford’s Mystery Mocktail, a concoction of shrub, seltzer, bitters and mint described as a “sophisticated and refreshing warm weather apertif.”
Cannabis-infused milks find their way into a variety of coffee drinks, while a THC-infused maple syrup adds psychedelic sweetness to a Maple Syrup Sazerac, and cannacoconut oil adds a sweet sensi note to Bobrow’s version of a mimosa, dubbed “If It Keeps on Rainin’, Levee’s Goin’ To Break.”
Each drink is elegant, idiosyncratic and full of subtle nuances, with every consideration taken into account, such as the size, shape and flavor of the ice cubes, as well as the shape of the glass holding your tasty beverage. Marijuana mixology is indeed an elevated art form, one that comes with ice made of coconut water, smoked ice cubes, spritzes of THC-infused absinthe and cannabis-infused cask-aged blended Scotch whiskey topped with a greenish cocktail cherry, garnished with a pot leaf.
Welcome to connoisseurship on a whole new level.
The marijuana mixologist favors not only handmade craft liquors from small producers using organic ingredients, but also the finest cannabis flowers.
“You don’t want to use schwag weed to make your infusions,” Bobrow explained. “You want to use the very best things you have at your disposal.”
Preferring skunky, citrusy OG Kush, Blue Dream and Pineapple Kush, Bobrow says that beer hops and cannabis are so closely related that “there’s no reason why you can’t use them interchangeably.”
A dedicated cannabis enthusiast and hardcore Deadhead, Bobrow isn’t worried about damaging his reputation in the mainstream mixology world. To the contrary, he’s excited to be able to embrace his passion and finally do what he truly loves.
“I’d much rather sit and smoke a little grass than drink any day,” Bobrow said. “When you do what you love, you won’t work a day in your life.”
When you get home from a day of hard work (or not), reward yourself with the exquisite experience of a perfectly crafted cocktail enhanced with just the right amount of cannabis. Bobrow recommends pacing yourself and drinking no more than one cocktail per hour, since the point is to balance the cannabis and alcohol, not to go overboard.
The Dramatis Personae is my cocktail whisperer’s riff on the Vieux Carré, the classic New Orleans cocktail. My version calls for belly-friendly Creole bitters and uses calvados, or apple brandy, in place of cognac. Sound like an unusual cast of characters? It gets better. Enter a spritz of infused absinthe, stage right. Finish the Dramatis Personae by pouring a little infused absinthe into an atomizer or spray bottle and topping the drink with just a whiff of the medicated spirit. When you’re infusing your absinthe, try an Indica strain like Mr. Nice. It’s earthy and sweet, with pungent aromatics that enhance the aniseed and herbal notes in the absinthe.—Warren Bobrow
This is one of the most impressive books we have seen in a while. Aesthetically pleasing, concise, informational and fun are just a few words I would use to describe Cannabis Cocktails, Mocktails & Tonics. There is so much knowledge in this blue and red book about drinks. Author Warren Bobrow is clearly an expert, and he provides the reader with information to help enhance their cannabis consumption in a really good way.
First of all, why alcohol? Well, for those of you who don’t know, alcohol works well as a solvent, breaking down the available cannabinoids in the plant matter to allow for better absorption into your system. Alcohol is inexpensive, and when used correctly, creates a mostly healthful drink prepared with ingredients that all work together in a positive way.
Now, you might think that combining alcohol and cannabis would be dangerous — and it can be, so remembering “everything in moderation” is very helpful here. Bobrow gives plenty of warning about the dangers of over-medicating with the combination, and encourages everyone to sip slowly and listen to your body. These drinks of art were crafted to help you feel better — not worse.
There are 75 recipes in this book meant to guide you through your day, such as morning cocktails intended to light you up instead of weigh you down, and afternoon cocktails to chill out with. Many of the recipes can be made without the alcohol if that’s a worry for you, and the recipes generally call for only a small amount of alcohol. Bobrow gives a list of strains, flavor profiles and what alcohol they taste best with, as well as what time of day to enjoy them. The recipes to make the infusions that go into the drinks are simple with clear instruction, and they range from tinctures and simple syrups to coconut creams.
The health benefits that lie in each drink are deeper than just cannabis. Cannabis Cocktails, Mocktails and Tonics made me view the way I ingest cannabis differently. The recipes are sophisticated, bold and definitely worth your time.
You see, although Mr. Trump’s New Jersey electorate lost to the Democrats, the resentment towards the overall losing party has never been so clear. Through winning, there is loss. Through loss, there is winning. Perhaps this will act as a metaphor for the next election. Today, I’m voting for cocktails …the Cocktail Party!
Need help sleeping tonight? Try this Manhattan-style cocktail.
1 oz. cold brew coffee
1 oz. Panamanian rum
1 oz. Carpano Antica sweet vermouth or Dolin for a drier approach
orange zest — cut with a knife, never a peeler — pinched and flamed over the top
Regan’s bitters infused with THC
either a coupe or a rocks glass
To a cocktail mixing glass: Add one or two large cubes of ice. Add the cold brew. Add the Panamanian rum. Add the Carpano Antica. Stir. Season with Regan’s orange bitters, THC infused (note: I used ¼ oz. high grade cannabis- infused for 1 month in a bottle of Regan’s, strained). Taste. Strain into a coupe or rocks glass (if you use a rocks glass, only one or two cubes maximum!). Pinch and flame the orange zest, rub on the rim of the glass and serve.
Welcome to the Visigoths
The last few weeks have been filled with Twitter Flame Wars. It’s your turn to win one (more). This sleepy-tidrink makes light of the rise of the Anti-intellectuals. We know who you are!
2 oz. Mezan XO rum
½ oz. Stroh 160 rum 80% alcohol
4 oz. cane sugar cola
¼ oz. orange liqueur
To a Collins glass filled ¾ with ice: Add the orange liqueur. Top with the Mezan XO. Cover with the cane sugar cola. Float the Stroh 160 on top; ignite with a match. Add a colorful straw. Serve!
A Long Steep Hill
A cocktail to bewilder the palates of your neo-conservative neighbors.
2 oz. bourbon whiskey infused with THC to your strength and taste
To a cocktail shaker filled ¾ with ice: Add the cannabis-infused bourbon whiskey. Add the ginger syrup. Add the Fruitations syrup. Cap and shake hard. Pour over ice in a double Old Fashioned glass. Splash seltzer water over the top. Dot with bitters.
A cocktail to give you hope and dream of change. A take on the gin and juice of yore… and infused with pure THC for your dreams.
3 oz. THC infused Barr Hill gin (the amount and strength of the THC is up to you. I used 14 grams of 25% THC cannabis in a 750ml bottle of raw honey and grain gin)
To a Boston Shaker filled ¾ with ice: Add the THC-infused gin and the juices with the cranberry syrup. Cap and shake hard for 20 seconds. Pour into a pair of coupes. Dot with bitters. Serve.
AKA: Political Discourse Fails…Yet Again
So you want to win an argument?
2 oz. Luxardo maraschino liqueur
1 oz. bourbon whiskey (like Barrell Bourbon) infused with THC of your choice and strength
¼ oz. dry vermouth
1 oz. freshly squeezed grapefruit juice
1 oz. rich simple syrup
Add all the ingredients to a Boston Shaker. Cap and shake hard for 20 seconds or so. Pour into a double Old Fashioned glass with one large cube of ice. Dot with bitters. Serve.
To make a cannabis infusion, add 7 grams — or the dosage recommended by your caregiver—of ground, decarbed cannabis to 250 ml (about 1 cup) of a liquor of your choice in a heat-proof mason jar. Do not seal the jar, it could burst. Place the jar in the top of a double boiler on a hot plate or electric stove top.
(Never, ever use a gas stove or an open flame.) Fill the top of the double boiler with enough water to cover the mason jar halfway.
Simmer lightly at around 160ºF (71°C) for 30 to 60 minutes. Use a digital thermometer to keep an eye on the temperature. Alcohol flames just over 170ºF (77°C), so pay close attention to the job at hand, and don’t go running out for a pizza. Plus, a low heat will keep evaporation to a minimum.
Let the mixture cool, strain it through a fine-mesh strainer lined with cheesecloth, then funnel it back into the empty liquor bottle. Top up the bottle with the remaining un-infused liquor until it’s back to a volume of 750 ml. This ensures that the THC will be dispersed throughout the infusion. Your infusion is now ready to use in your handcrafted cocktails.
Back in the day before we were all born, Mezz Mezzrow was playing jazz clarinet in the normally segregated jazz clubs around the United States. He wasn’t well known, and his history may have escaped all but the most die-hard Jazz aficionados if it wasn’t for one rather large fact.
He was Louis Armstrong’s weed dealer.
In order to properly pay homage to this figure in the Jazz age, who played with Sidney Bechet, (one of my favorite Jazz musicians) I created a cocktail that is featured in my 4th book, Cannabis Cocktails.
The Mezzrole Cocktail
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.
• 4-6 Greenish Cocktail Cherries (we infused Barrell Bourbon with a quantity of Cannabis in an infusion, then soaked Rainier Cherries in the thc infused liquor for a month- hence Greenish Cocktail Cherries)
• 1/2 ounce (15 ml) cannabis-infused vermouth, such as Uncouth Vermouth’s Seasonal Wildflower Blend
• 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. And never more than one per hour!
Brian Quinn is an experiential event producer and cocktail writer. He is the cofounder of the Noble Rot, an underground supper club for wine, dubbed “a new form of clandestine drinking” by Tasting Table NYC. He learned the art of craft cocktails from work with the Milk & Honey family, as well as a love for hospitality from renowned Brooklyn oyster house Maison Premiere. Brian has written over 150 articles on cocktails for Food Republic and is also the director of programming for the Taste Talks and Northside festivals.
It’s an exciting time to drink well. Bartenders continually find ways to test out new ideas, techniques, flavor combinations and approaches to hospitality. The best new ideas tend to gain attention from the larger bartender community and pop up in bars around the country, and soon a trend is born. Here are 10 cocktail concepts to look out for:
1. Bars within bars Don’t call them speakeasies. The veil of secrecy separating two different bar experiences under one roof is simply a means of filtering out those who prefer the utility of a drink versus those who revel in the art. For bars like Los Angeles’s Walker Inn, bartenders are able to offer an omakase cocktail tasting for those who enter via the more accessible Normandie Club’s bar. Walking up a back flight of stairs at San Francisco’s Hawker Fare gets you into the more relaxed Holy Mountain bar setting, where the bar team is able to showcase more experimental drinks. Of course, Grant Achatz’s the Office beneath the Aviary in Chicago did this years ago. The advantage to finding these more intimate, highly curated bars is a more niche drinking experience that you likely won’t find anywhere else.
2. Camera cuisine’s impact on drinking What’s on the inside still counts, many bartenders know that these days, the most Instagram-friendly drinks on the menu will likely be the biggest sellers. A decade ago, seeing a drink like the multicolored and mint-topped Queens Park Swizzle walk across the room on a tray would incite half the bar to order that drink next. Today, with more drinking options available than ever, a well-festooned drink on Instagram might be a bar’s best asset for finding new customers.
Rich Woods of London’s Duck & Waffle uses this showmanship and his unique style to entice drinkers around the globe by, say, serving a hay old-fashioned with the glass cradled in an actual bowl of hay, or creating edible garnishes, such as a ceviche shot served on top of a cocktail. Thankfully, his drinks are as balanced and brilliant in flavor as they are in appearance. Jane Danger’s now-renowned Shark Eye cocktail at the modern tiki bar Mother of Pearl — bloodied with Peychaud’s Bitters — is another example.
3. Clarified milk punches One of the more exciting and delicious techniques that bartenders are now readily using is milk-washing, or clarifying a punch with curdled milk. The process of creating a curdled anything sounds bizarre and ill-advised, but this process dates back to the 1700s and ultimately creates a longer shelf life for the punch. Barman Gareth Howells, formerly of Forrest Point, knows this process well. He combines large batches of fruits, citrus, spices and spirits and macerates them together for several days before adding curdled milk on top. As gravity sets in, the milk proteins, which have attached to the pulpy particles in the mixture, begin to weigh down, ultimately leaving a clear liquid floating on top. Lactic in flavor, this soft and beguiling type of punch is gaining steam for good reason.
4. Dives with damn good drinks Want a killer Last Word or Paper Plane while listening to Led Zeppelin in a bar that looks like it could have been the set for Tom Cruise singing “You’ve Lost That Loving Feeling” in Top Gun? Well, you can get that now, too. In their off hours or for post-shift drinks, most bartenders find themselves in no-nonsense, unapologetic vestiges where a beer or shot of whiskey might be your best bet. For bars like Brooklyn’s the Starlight, the glow of red lighting makes you feel as though you just walked into some Midwest tavern in the 1970s, except that some of the best bartenders in the city pick up shifts here and can make you pretty much any drink you want, if they have it behind the bar. No frills necessary.
5. Pour-and-go service Time is of the essence in bars these days, and many patrons no longer care if a $15 drink was made à la minute. Eager to find solutions for those in need of a quick but excellent drink, many bars are now experimenting with having one or more drinks on tap or pre-bottled. Yours Sincerely in Bushwick — with its Transmit the Box cocktail (shown at top) — embraces this concept across its entire menu, with over 30 drinks on tap. Far from lazy, this requires an incredible amount of precision and preparation behind the scenes but allows for insanely quick pours and lower drink prices during service.
London’s White Lyan turns many heads, with bartenders pouring from a colorful array of prebatched cocktail bottles stored behind the bar, which incidentally also led the bar to have very little wasted ingredients. The drinking experience at these bars does not suffer and, in fact, the effect is often a whole new world of creative cocktails.
6. Thematic menus Bartenders are spending their time pining over more than just the drinks. Menus now seem to exist in their own theatrical context, with storytelling to support a bar’s original offerings. An incredible amount of work obviously goes into the Dead Rabbit’s menu, which seemingly takes months to research and create, with pages and pages of illustrations, history and cocktail lore. San Francisco’s Trick Dog takes a more playful approach, keeping patrons on their toes by presenting drinks on everything from dog calendars to a Chinese takeout menu to Pantone color swatches.
7. Cleansing drinks: Charcoal and kale Bartenders love yoga, too, and it seems that cocktails are finally taking a cue from the juicing movement, as more cleansing or healthful ingredients are becoming prevalent. More than just citrus and herbs, drinks with freshly juiced kale or wheatgrass come out bright green and seemingly healthier in appearance. Thankfully, many people now realize that vodka does not have fewer calories, but it does blend well in these cocktails.
On the opposite end of the spectrum, black cocktails colored with a dose of activated charcoal might look like they could filter away your hangover, but no such luck. These deep black drinks, such as Joaquin Simó’s tequila- and mezcal-driven Heart of Darkness cocktail at NYC’s Pouring Ribbons, offer a unique appearance, but the charcoal has little impact on the flavor.
8. Cannabis cocktails With the growing availability of weed tinctures and oils thanks to loosening regulations, the slow integration of THC into cocktails will likely continue to rise in 2017. The science around being drunk and high at the same time is not entirely clear, though we do know that alcohol can allow for a much quicker absorption of the psychoactive THC by the body. Clearly, it’s an area that needs further investigation, just like knowing the right and wrong way to use liquid nitrogen in a cocktail, which can also have serious effects. A sign of the times: Barman and author Warren Bobrow recently released the first book on this subject, Cannabis Cocktails, Mocktails & Tonics.
9. Low-ABV ingenuity Necessity is the mother of invention for low-ABV cocktails. Bars without full liquor licenses have to continue to push these drinks forward, leading to a rise in everything from legit wine coolers to beer cocktails to aperitif-driven coolers. Not to be left out, bars with full licenses also love these drinks, often adding spirits such as gin or liqueurs as modifiers to a largely wine or beer base in the cocktail. Seeing a Riesling cocktail on a menu might not have made sense until now, but that’s just what Maison Premiere bartender Shae Minnillo does with his Bimini Twist, using Riesling, Linie Aquavit, Pêche de Vigne, Suze, lemon and grapefruit.
10. Cocktails around the country Serious cocktails are cropping up in virtually every city in America. Occasionally, transplant bars will migrate from a major city to other parts of the country, such as Sam Ross and Michael McIlroy’s Attaboy in NYC — ranked number five on the World’s 50 Best Bars list — opening up in Nashville. Other times, such as at the W.C. Harlan bar in Baltimore, delicious drinks seem to appear out of nowhere, driven by the owners’ unique aesthetic and approach. One thing is for sure: Deciding how to rate the “World’s 50 Best” anything when it comes to bar culture will soon be a very difficult task.
Of course, simply drinking some water can put a stop to cottonmouth. Still, it’s kind of cool that some soul out there is inventing gum just for cottonmouth. Although the face behind it all wishes to remain nameless, it’s exciting nevertheless.
4. Smell-proof stash case
If you tend to get unorganized and messy with your weed gear, this is an investment worth making. In fact, this case is smell-proof and stores just about any cannabis product.
There are different ones to choose from based on how you like to consume cannabis. And they even come with accessories, such as a grinder card and dab mat, depending on which kit you choose.
5. Weed treats for your dog
Don’t worry, these treats won’t make your four-legged friend stoned. However, they will help calm your furry pet. These, in particular, are made with hemp seeds by a Canadian company called True Hemp.
6. THC bubble bath
High Gorgeous, a company that makes infused beauty and topical products, has different kinds of medicinal bubble bath. Although they focus on women, men can enjoy the weed bubbles too. Not to mention, smell amazing afterward.
7. All-in-one pipe
8. Snazzy stash jars
The days of storing our bud in a plastic bag are long gone. Although some folks still resort to a Ziploc, others use stash jars. As a result of legalizing the herb, we now have clear stash jars, colorful stash jars, and even stash jars that light up.
9. Cannabis mouthcare
Axim Biotech is working on not only weed toothpaste, but also mouthwash and other anti-inflammatory products. As it turns out, brushing with cannabis is a solution to a lot of periodontal problems.
10. Coffee infused with pot
Although people have been pairing their morning cup of coffee with cannabis for some time, legalization has brought us THC-infused coffee. Now you can really get a buzz first thing in the morning.
11. Cannabis cocktails
Did you ever imagine being able to enjoy alcohol and cannabis at once? Well, now you can, thanks to legalization. Warren Bobrow has published a book that will help you create your very own cannabis cocktails.
12. Lube that helps you orgasm
Now this lube is a win-win. Not only is it infused with cannabis, but it also enhances sexual pleasure.
13. Potato chips that will get you high
Step aside Lays, there’s no way you can compete with potato chips that contain cannabis. In fact, a 1.5-ounce bag contains exactly 50mg of THC, which means they’re rather potent. Taking your medication has never been so delicious.
14. Buckle Puffer Belt
Not only does this product allow you to have a pipe attached to your belt, but it’s also magnetically attached, which is perfect for those that stay on-the-go. Whether you are several feet in the air or inside a cave somewhere, you can sneak a toke in with the Buckle Puffer Belt.
15. Medicated lip balm
Dank Stix not only smoothes your chapped lips but also heals bug bites, eczema, minor cuts, and dry knuckles.