In this brand new interview series, I’ll be interviewing the most influential journalists covering the cannabis industry. The intent is for these interviews is to be fun, enlightening, entertaining and of course informative.
We’re kicking off this new series of interviews with Warren Bobrow Author/Chef/Barman/Cannabis Alchemist. Bobrow has published five books on mixology and written articles for Forbes, Saveur magazine, Voda magazine, Whole Foods-Dark Rye, Distiller, Beverage Media, DrinkupNY and many other periodicals. Warran has also contributed to SoFAB Magazine at the Southern Food and Beverage Museum and has written restaurant reviews for New Jersey Monthly. It’s safe to say that Warren has a natural talent for words that simply flows through, as you will find out from his answers below.
From the very moment that the outer packaging, deeply reminiscent of luxury Chinese incense with lustrous gold leaf on the outside of the box. This brings your attention to the strikingly handsome red lettering, and then the box opens to reveal the polished glass inner tube. From here an almost mystical experience fills the room and your head. The box, upon examination in cannabis, nerd-speak reads several very important statements about the contents and the provenance of the flowers held within. The first and foremost is the name of this ultra-luxury cannagar. That is, quite simply, Made in Xiaolin. Turning the smooth paper packaging, in the shape of an octagon, and twisting it in a circle, reveals more pertinent information. Rolled Proper comes into view. This statement provides the quality framework for what rests within. The lettering states the name again, Made in Xiaolin. Pure luxury. Drilling down deeper, more information reveals itself with every twist of the wrist. Ring Gauge, in this case, the cannagar resting in my hand is a 40. Then, in block letters it reads information on the lit time, and in this case it is at least 1.5-2.0 hours! The flower is equally as important with the strain listed, making up this cannagar as Electric Lemon G II flower and Electric Lemon G, Live Resin in the carefully chosen mix.
There’s no surer way to make the holidays more festive than with a little cannabis, and now that it’s legal in states throughout the country, there’s no better time than now to gift the ultimate cannabis swag.
From vaporizers and vitamins to pipes and soaks, this past year saw a ton of terrific creation and innovation in the world of cannabis, so we highlighted some of our favorites below to help you turn your holidays into a holidaze and give everyone in the family a little something extra to smile about.
The OG Kush FlowerPHOTO COURTESY: ALEXANDER RAUBER, JOSH D FARMS
I spoke on the phone with Josh Del Rosso, Founder and Managing Director of his namesake, Josh D Farms the other day and as UN-taped interviews: IE., cold call conversations go, it turned into a cheery, smile filled excursion into the world of ultra-high end cannabis and the stories that surround this lux-art form. Which is to say, as the time slipped by, and I found myself in a state of self induced euphoria, primarily because I was speaking to a legend in the field of cannabis! A humble man who exudes the passion and youthful exuberance that would be refreshing to say the very least. And as the time slipped away and the DF Tram music that I was listening to, way off in the background, began to deepen the overall experience of sharing ideas and thoughts, I realized that my place in the cannabis field is every bit as pertinent as most others. And that was good for now, because sharing thoughts with folks such as Josh would have been unheard of for me just a few short years ago. So please allow me to share with you, dear readers, a very kind man who is doing something truly unique in the business of medicating with flowers.
New–Jersey-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.
Author’s Note: I love working with talented intellects who enjoy the cannabis space for more than just a job, these “think on their feet” entrepreneurs genuinely want to make a difference and are leading the thrust towards doing better by others, one step at a time. I am fortunate to work with several industry leaders in the Public Relations world of cannabis and all are supportive of my desire to document the talented and the entrepreneurial. One such talented person is Rosie Mattio. Rosie has her own cannabis-centric agency that specializes in luxury cannabis products. Her list of clients reads like a “Who’s Who” of the New Cannabis Age, but Rosie is not about shouting their accolades to the world. Quite to the contrary, her strength is organic. She brings people together through synergy and her ease of communication. She makes you feel comfortable in your path, because in the case of this company, brains push forwards- rather than sheer brawn. It takes more than one key player, however to make a team work in the cannabis space. As cannabis is organic, the methods of promotion are also organic. Not forcing, but guiding the guest, through the life of a product or service. Helping, guiding, but not doing is another method of great cannabis PR. Part of the passion of cannabis is the methodology of our tribe. Cannabis is not for everyone, but with the non-conformist views of this talented firm, what Rosie does is allow the consumer to learn along with the teacher, instead of the teacher knowing everything. Knowing everything is impossible in life, and it takes humility to discover the secrets of great Cannabis-Centric PR. I’m honored to share with you, Rosie Mattio, PR., and her five (or so) questions.
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.
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.
Just the very mention of the word “repeal” suggests setting something behind, to leave it in the past, and what better day to leave something in the past than December 5, or Repeal Day, which celebrates the day Prohibition ended and the modern age of drinking really began.
DaVinci, designers and manufacturers of ‘white table cloth’ (ultra high end) cannabis vaporizers would like you to try all other vaporizers first. Why would this even be suggested in a marketplace chock-full of worthy inventions? The long and the short of this axiom is pretty simple. There are dozens and dozens of high and less than high quality products on the market. Many are good, some less so. To get a really good read on what is the very best, experience is absolutely essential. To gain this experience, one must test all the players out. The Good, The Bad and the Ugly? Perhaps it’s something deeper than just getting a high. There are methods and mentions that need to be explained first to understand what a vaporizer does, and why you should buy a DaVinci Miqro, right now!
Cannabis Cocktails and the Da Vinci MIQROWARREN BOBROW: IPHONE X
Technology certainly has taken the lead in the cannabis world with faster, stronger and better moving forward and the ‘old fashioned’ methods (the ones that I’m more familiar with), of enjoying cannabis being left in the dustbin of history. The old days of struggling to roll a joint to take your expensive medicine are the vestiges of time gone past. The very thought of emitting a deep cough from the sometimes-harsh cannabis smoke is uncomfortable on your throat. “High” Technology in cannabis makes taking a hit less onerous and stressful on the lungs, all the while enjoying the flavors and the textures of the concentrated cannabis vapors. I’ve been playing around with expensive technology and these are some standouts in the world of wonderful, cannabis gifts for the person who, has it all, or just wants the very best. Money is no object in most cases! I have included in my list a couple of non-technology items, just because I thought they are worthwhile and well thought out.