With 4/20 just around the corner, it seems the perfect opportunity to discuss the merits of stirring cannabis cocktails. I’m usually hard pressed to find bartenders who really know the physical differences between stirring and shaking a cocktail—any cocktail. Now, add to that equation fragile ingredients that you may not want to pulverize and turn into overly green (read: botanical) flavors like cannabis, and those differences become even more important.
One of the most unpleasant of all overly-green flavors is mint. When it is excessively manipulated, the aromatics and essences resemble that of mud. And no one wants to drink mud. You may have witnessed this yourself in batched up Kentucky Derby cocktails, where the mint is added to the ice the day before, frozen, and then topped with bourbon just prior to serving. The end result is a muddy mess that screams for a fresh glass, new mint, and clean ice.
The market for botanically enriched, “health” drinks have exploded over the past few decades or so. There are hundreds of products on the market that promise wellness and health, but nothing could prepare the consumer for the coming wave of micro-dosed; CBD and THC liquids made specifically for wellness. It’s true! All that is required is a healthy thirst and the desire for something different. Case in point with the Monk line of drinking botanicals. This ultra-luxury line of tiny 4 oz bottles are scientifically calibrated to micro-dose just the right amount of CBD/THC to the careful imbiber. Careful because the dosage of CBD/THC is in the micro amounts- nearly undetected after enjoying the scant few sips of this ‘magical’ elixir. What each bottle represents are flavors and health-giving qualities similar to the days of the early apothecary, when fragile herbs and spicesmade their way into preparations that the pharmacist concocted to order. Not unlike the early preparations that made their way to the cocktail bar with drinks meant to heal the gut, like the famous Sazerac, or perhaps you’d be interested in knowing why Angostura is so helpful when you have a stomach ache, or are seasick? It all comes around again with the deep desire to write the first book about creative mixology that uses cannabis. There is a large distinction between non-Cannabis augmented health drinks and quality products like Monk’s Drinking Botanicals. What we have here is a modern framework, one that is more flavor-driven as opposed to effect-driven, with varieties like the brightly aromatic and refreshing grapefruit/cayenne. This delicately spicy, yet not overly sweet concoction is precise and carefully combined to offer amusement, candor and excitement into every careful sip. Careful because the cayenne element is not overwhelming, but it is right there in front of the brightly delineated richness of the pink grapefruit juice. The combination resembles a fine craft cocktail- especially with the balance and the depth of the ingredients. They almost taste as if the grapefruit was freshly squeezed and infused with the cayenne peppers.
From Mesopotamia to ancient Rome, people have been infusing alcohol with cannabis for as long as cannabis has been around. In recent years, cannabis-infused alcohol has seen a resurgence of public interest, due largely to the spread of legalized cannabis in the United States. Most recently, the creators of Blue Moon announced that they would develop and release their own brand of craft cannabis beer.
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.
Warren Bobrow is a world-renowned mixologist and is known to many as The Cocktail Whisperer.
He’s written five books about mixology and is published in numerous periodicals. Bobrow completed his bachelor’s degree at Emerson College and from there, went on to work as a pot scrubber at York Harbor and worked as a television engineer, cameraman and editor at two New York television stations. Not quite feeling like he was the Warren he aspired to be, Bobrow studied culinary arts at Johnson and Wales University, then moved to Charleston South Carolina where he opened his own restaurant Olde Charleston Pasta. The company prospered until being devastated by Hurricane Hugo in 1989.
Flavored Craft Whiskies such as Catskill Provisions Honey Flavored Rye Whiskey offers new levels of expertise in the hands of a home mixologist. The honeybee, weaving a veritable pot of gold, transforms the attentive drinker into a conceptualist who communicates with good taste. Honey, in this case from hives located in New York State’s Catskill Region has its own specific terroir or taste of the place. The surrounding farms and forests alike, bursting with the burdens of Spring attract these Happy Bees to an intellectual Mecca of all things creative and intriguing. Catskill’s lithe and utterly gorgeous bottle is just brimming with the passion and tenaciousness of the namesake honeybees. Each sip melded together with their brightly refreshing Rye Whiskey. Each further sip brings interest, delight and exploration. From the moment that you open the handsome, tall-necked bottle with a curve, just at the right point in the experience, it’s pretty clear that this whiskey is more than a marketing project. And with the first whiffs, the drinker will know that the honey is definitely more than a metaphor with this whiskey. Honey drives the experience of the rye whiskey and takes it to a place unexpected. From the peppery start- spiraling around the tip of your tongue to the languid motion as it slips, pensively down the throat into the gullet. The finish goes on and on and it takes contemplation to another level.
For years St. Patrick’s Day has been celebrated by drinking huge quantities of green beer or even shooting whiskey all night. But this year, why don’t we explore some other ways to enjoy the holiday with some green? It is hopefully going to be the year of “legal” weed in Canada, after all. So let’s take a look at some great ways to infuse some cannabis into your St. Patrick’s Day.
I know a lot of people love the green beer on St. Patty’s but why not drink some green beer with some actual green cannabis infused into it. Warren Bobrow, writer of Cannabis Cocktails, Mocktails, & Tonics…, has many recipes in his extensive book for infusing simple syrups and other common cocktail ingredients. For the more newbie bartenders, tinctures are the most turnkey way to add a cannabis kick to any beverage. Glycerin tinctures can easily be added to a beverage, but alcohol tinctures won’t emulsify into a water based drink.
This is our fool-proof plan for helping a cannabis-infused St. Patrick’s Day feel just as fun as a drunken one.