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 spices made 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.
Did you have a dug-out in high school or college? I certainly did. It was an unwieldy thing as I remember. Kind of hippy-chic- no, it was not at all elegant, the bat was made from heat conducting brass, it clogged easily, burnt my lips from the heat and left specks of resin-tar and burning cannabis leaf on my teeth. The wooden box that held my herbs, let’s just say it was far from air-tight and once the spring that held the lid on got loose, the entire ‘stash-box’ would open up and empty into my pocket (lint and all), more than my ‘bat’… Those wasted herbs commingled with my pocket change just won’t do any longer now that I’ve grown up! Enter the world of luxury cannabis implements and the Elevate Dug-Out. On first glimpse, this handy-crafted dug out is sleekly elegant. This device screams bespoke…hence, each one is engineered, by hand…One at a time. Crisply manufactured, the softly polished exterior is not a cheap tropical wood product, but one that is finely formed- utilizing the finest exotic wood available. There are the twelve ‘rare-earth’ magnets that seal the well-weighted lid to the base with a satisfying click as the magnets engage-making the entire package scent-proof and certainly nearly waterproof. There is the generous ‘stash’ container that can be filled with about a gram or more of your finest herbs, well ground of course, leaving ample room for some beeswax coated hemp wick to light your glass joint, instead of using using that carcinogenic butane lighter sitting in your hand to do this seemingly mundane task. The ‘bat’ appears to be perfectly blown by hand (mouth) with an interior shelf inserted inside the glass joint itself that prohibits the fine grains of your herbs from flowing back into your mouth, therefore burning your lips and tongue. The size of the bat is not as minuscule in dimension as the dug-out pipe of my memories. It is slightly stout in width, like a miniature cigar, and quite robust in its unique sort of manner. The glass blown joint fits your fingers easily, with alacrity. The polished dark wooden tip offers another level of overall elegance with scarcely a burned lip or tongue to be had. In fact, the very thought of burning your lips, fingers or tongue are sent way into your distant memory.
Jane West is a real person! A real mom and a real celebrity of her own hard work and never-ending, entrepreneurial efforts. Jane is effortless and cool, in a high-mountain, Colorado-Mountain Cool- kind of way- and she has Ultra-LUXURY with a uniquely feminine twist on her mind. This is an exalted place to be, in the tall seat at the front of the room, crowded by mere onlookers. Jane is at the top of the class with her gleaming line of chic and well designed cannabis smoking accessories. And she wants you to know she is different and therefore unique. There is a distinctively feminine approach to the Classic- one of the multitude of well-designed, non-antagonistic cannabis smoking experiences. This device is a true classic dug-out pipe- exceptionally modernized for the successful woman about town- who doesn’t want to shout when she medicates. The design of the ‘cigarette’ portion of the classic dug-out is sleek and finished with a tiny Jane West logo and flat matte finish. It does not shout, and smoking through the tiny chamber is cool and care-free. Jane West sent a Classic for review and the results couldn’t have been more wonderful. First of all, her packaging is eye-catching and crisp.
A most venerable beast, the favorite dog of the Queen of England, the Corgi Dog– agile, able, agreeable and friendly. To understand the breed, one must have an open mind because the Corgi Dog is a fast learner- but extremely independence minded. The same holds true for the pragmatic, friendly and highly ambitious owner of the new Corgi distillery located in an ‘up and coming’ section of Jersey City. If you’re coming from out of town, you’ll have to go way off the beaten path. Once there, you’ll find what appears to be a movie studio from the 1920′s. Painted an extremely dark color- the warehouse/distillery calls out to the adventurous, thirsty drinker in the midst of utter urban decay. The new Light Rail line, located beside the distillery is slowly bringing the thirsty and the curious out to the far reaches of the known universe. You might find it may be easier to take a car service out here. The turf is still highly industrialized and there aren’t a whole lot of sidewalks or casual walkers around these parts.
If there is a flavor that most exemplifies aromatics of the British countryside- it would be the profusion of herbs and flowers that bloom along the thorny hedgerows lining the narrow pathways. Of course, to experience this in real life would mean a trip to Great Britain. IF, you were able to accomplish this trip, a leisurely bicycle ride would be necessary to gain the entire experience of sipping Seedlip. Why a bicycle ride you may ask? To be able to smell the air as you rode down any given country path, brushing your arms against the herbs and flowers, releasing their perfume.
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.