Disrupting the cannabis kitchen with infused cocktails

With regulations regarding edibles scheduled to be released Friday, this week’s hospitality session addressed a timely topic

By Anisha DhimanDecember 20, 2018 Comments

Lisa Campbell and Warren Bobrow share a fun moment. To help highlight cannabis’ place in the hospitality industry, Lifford in partnership with CAPS Ontario, has been hosting one such session monthly since legalization.  PHOTO CREDIT: Jessica Nudo, Lifford Cannabis Solutions
Lisa Campbell and Warren Bobrow share a fun moment. To help highlight cannabis’ place in the hospitality industry, Lifford in partnership with CAPS Ontario, has been hosting one such session monthly since legalization. PHOTO CREDIT: Jessica Nudo, Lifford Cannabis Solutions

NewJersey-based Warren Bobrow, known as the Cocktail Whisperer in the hospitality industry, is a mixologist, bartender, contributing writer for Forbes and author of, among other books, Cannabis Cocktails, Mocktails & Tonics: The Art of Spirited Drinks and Buzz-Worthy Libations. On Dec. 19, Bobrow was on his first visit to Toronto to talk about what he’s most passionate about: infused cocktails and mocktails.

“Drinking is part of our culture. What I have chosen to do with my book, Cannabis Cocktails… is make infused drinks approachable—by mixing together ingredients in a way that’s cohesive and not overwhelming,” says the 57-year-old author of six books.

The book, launched in 2015, drew scathing criticism. “It was termed bad and dangerous, but things have changed now. As per my knowledge, this is the first book and the only book on the topic—on THC-infused cocktails,” Bobrow says. “I wrote this book so that people could enjoy infused cocktails without stigma. When you smoke a joint on the streets, everybody knows your business and has a preconceived notion, right or wrong, on what it is that you are doing.”

The hospitality session, organized by the Canadian Association of Professional Sommeliers (CAPS) Ontario and Lifford Cannabis Solutions, tastefully coincided with the holiday season and the regulations on cannabis edibles and concentrates to be announced by Health Canada.

To help highlight cannabis’ place in the hospitality industry, Lifford in partnership with CAPS Ontario, has been hosting one such session monthly since legalization. “Whether it’s restaurants or infused beverages, we are interested to see how the edibles regulations will change with the regulations set to be announced. At Lifford, we are a wine and spirits company, we are interested in the potential of creating infused beverages,” says Lisa Campbell, CEO of Lifford Cannabis Solutions.

Apart from a talk by Bobrow, the session also had a cocktail and mocktail station. “Mocktails are the biggest trend of 2018. A lot of consumers are moving away from alcohol, and this session fits right into that dialogue,” says Campbell, explaining the demand for such a session.

Guests, on the other hand, ranged from people who had never tried infused cocktails to others who couldn’t wait to give them a shot. In the past, I haven’t been interested in infused anything, but listening to him and how he’s been retaining terpene interaction… because in infusion, you often lose the aroma, with the decarb product, I surely want to try it, now,” says Chris Klugman, CEO and president of Paint Box Catering. “There’s has been a huge interest in the overall wine and cannabis combination,” Klugman reports.

Apart from reading some of the recipes from the book, his professional history and his family story, Bobrow also shared some tips to making good cocktails. “There are a ton of things people don’t know about cannabis and cocktails, but predominantly, that they should be decarbing their cannabis—they need to activate the THC. If you take raw cannabis and stick it inside a bottle of liquor… all you will get is a mouldy mass of gunk.”

More than fanning the interest and sharing trade secrets, the session also focused on education. “Love it or hate it, cannabis is part of our reality now,” says Kim Gertler, media and communications representative for CAPS Ontario. “That means, it’s part of the duty of care of every sommelier to look after their customer, and monitor their levels of intoxication and inebriation—whether it’s through alcohol or cannabis. It’s important for people to inform themselves. Education, knowing what works and not, is key,” Gertler adds.

Event: Learn How to Create DIY Infused Holiday Cocktails & Mocktails

As we celebrate the coming of cannabis edible regulations, it isn’t difficult to get into the holiday spirit. The cannabis industry has entered the post-prohibition era where anything is possible, and we are ready to ring in a new year of endless possibilities (HIGHly optimistic, right?).

  Image supplied

Image supplied

That’s why we are rounding off a killer 2018 with our friends at Lifford Cannabis Solutions — and you should definitely join us. Tomorrow, Wednesday December 19th, we’ll be learning how to craft the perfectly infused cocktail and mocktail with The Cocktail Whisperer.

Organized by The Canadian Association of Professional Sommeliers (CAPS) Ontario in partnership with Lifford Cannabis Solutions, the hospitality community is in for a special treat, with learnings that they can bring to their home and holiday events to kick things up a notch. You’ll learn how to wow guests at ALL the holiday parties with some tasty takeaways that will dazzle taste buds and elevate spirits (literally).

Yes, even that hard-to-impress grinch in your crew who could use a little holiday cheer.

This month’s event will feature 6-time author Warren Bobrow The Cocktail Whisperer, as he educates guests on the fine art of cannabis beverages.  Warren is a cannabis writer for Forbes, and authored the very first book on cannabis cocktails. Guests will look forward to DIY cannabis cocktail demonstrations and learn about different types of infusions, dosing and flavour profiles.

If you’re in Toronto, we invite you to join us for the final Hospitality Sessions of 2018 at Lifford Wine & Spirits, and you can use HERBLIFE for 15% off at checkout.

Hospitality Sessions: The Cocktail Whisperer!!

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The Canadian Association of Professional Sommeliers (CAPS) – Ontario in partnership with Lifford Cannabis Solutions invites the hospitality community to join us for this monthly event series. Please join us at Lifford Wine & Spirits (471 Jarvis Street) on the third Wednesday of the month to learn more about how cannabis will impact the hospitality industry.

$20 for CAPS Members   $35 for non-members

HOSPITALITY SESSIONS: CANNABIS COCKTAILS 12/ 19/18

Warren Bobrow, the Cocktail Whisperer, is the 6x Author of Apothecary Cocktails: Restorative Drinks from Yesterday and Today, Whiskey Cocktails: Rediscovered Classics and Contemporary Craft Drinks, Bitters and Shrub Syrup Cocktails: Restorative Vintage Cocktails, Mocktails & Elixirs, Cannabis Cocktails, Mocktails & Tonics: The Art of Spirited Drinks & Buzz-Worthy Libations and his celebrated, 2017 release, The Craft Cocktail Compendium. Bobrow presented at the 2018 SXSW on Disrupting the Cannabis Kitchen and Cannabis Cocktails. He was the Mercedes-Benz Me Conference Mystery Speaker on Wellness, also at SXSW 2018.