I’ll be signing books at the lovely Savoy Taproom, 301 Lark Street – Albany NY – 12210 3:00 – 6:00 pm Today, Sunday April 30!
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.
OUT OF THIS WORLD: THE 11TH ANNUAL SPIRITED AWARDS
In 2017, we’re taking Tales of the Cocktail beyond the stratosphere at the 11th Annual Spirited Awards. The show might be here on Earth at the Sheraton New Orleans, but the celestial inspired cocktails served will be otherworldly as we hand out awards for the best bars, bartenders, distillers, ambassadors and writers from around the world (and beyond?)
The Spirited Awards Ceremony Saturday, April 22nd The Sheraton New Orleans
If you’re feeling especially festive come in your favorite outer space or futuristic-themed attire as we celebrate the out-of-this-world talent of our industry.
NOMINATIONS ARE OPEN APRIL 1-30, 2017
Tickets on Sale this Summer
Muddle, mix, shake, stir, pour–whatever the method, you’ll learn how to create the perfect cocktail.
Whether you’re new to mixing drinks or have been creating your own cocktails for years, The Craft Cocktail Compendium © has everything you need to know to mix, shake, or stir your way to a delicious drink. With over 200 craft cocktail recipes, expert mixologist Warren Bobrow will help you broaden your skills and excite your taste buds with unique takes on timeless favorites and recipes you’ve likely never tried before.
AVAILABLE MAY 1, 2017!
- Tullibardine 25 Oloroso Sherry Butt Finish
- Glenfarclas 25 years
- Talisker 18 years
- Aberfeldy 21
- Notch Whisky 12 years American Single Malt
- Deanston 18 Bourbon Finish
- Makers Select – limited Whisky Magazine special selection
- Evan Williams Single Barrel – limited Whisky Magazine private barrel selection
- Four Roses Single Barrel – limited Whisky Magazine special bottling
- Michter’s –premium selection
- Breckenridge Dark Arts Malt Whiskey
- Johnnie Walker Blue
- Woodford Reserve – limited Whisky Magazine special bottling
- Bushmills 21
I’m a bit of an evangelist when it comes to homemade cocktail cherries. They’re far, far superior to those red things that come in jars.
|1 bottle (750 ml) of bourbon whiskey|
|8 grams of decarbed cannabis|
|2 pounds (910 g) pitted fresh cherries|
**Recipe credit to Warren Bobrow’s Cannabis Cocktails, Mocktails, and Tonics
Very few spirits offer the diversity of rum. Rum can be served in a variety of ways. Hot, cold and at room temperature without diminishing the flavor or potency! Some of my most favorite methods of serving rum drinks during the holidays in a hand held form. A hot toddy for instance is the perfect way to introduce your guests to the pleasures of rum. If they are not careful, a hot toddy will also introduce them to a pillow faster than you can say sleepy-time!
Some toddy-style cocktails that speak of the season…
The Apple Rum Bake
Prepared to get baked after drinking a couple of these hot cocktails
Hot spiced tea
Heat a pot of spiced Indian tea
For two blisteringly strong drinks:
Add: 6 oz. of Rum to the pot of spiced tea along with 2 oz of Calvados
Pour into pre-heated mugs and top with a pat of sweet butter
Sip to la la land.
Enjoy these boozy concoctions!
The Peppermint Dream Cocktail
Peppermint, hot chocolate and rum are one of these cocktails. There are three different kinds of chocolate, dark, sweet and white. Melted into your cup with the addition of peppermint oil and dark rum, your guests won’t know why they are floating on a cloud before the evening is over. Freshly whipped cream (never that stuff in a can) propels this hot toddy into dessert infamy.
Ingredients for a large punch bowl of relaxation:
3 different types of melted chocolate (white, dark bitter and sweet) enough for 12 cups
1 teaspoon of concentrated peppermint oil
1 bottle of dark rum (Barbados or Jamaican come to mind)
4 cups of the 1/2 condensed milk, 1/2 whole milk mixture
Warmed sweetened condensed milk & regular milk in 50/50 proportions
Melt chocolate and add warmed milk mixture to thin out for your mug of goodness
Add 2 oz. of dark rum to each mug
Stir with a peppermint stick
The Sailor’s Dilemma
The next drink is savory in nature. It involves Beef Bullion. You serve this toddy as a welcoming tot by the front door of your home.
1 Gallon of strong beef bullion in a brightly polished copper pot set over a flame
1 bottle of dark rum
½ bottle of overproof rum (140 proof)
Freshly cracked pepper
Combine ingredients and gently heat to just below a simmer
Sip VERY carefully….
The Red Shirt Cocktail
The next drink is perfect for enjoying amongst your friends… I use maple syrup, dark rum, seltzer and Sweet Vermouth.
Ingredients for two rather stiff slurps
Amber Rum- Find a Rhum Agricole from Martinique
Grade B Maple Syrup (DARK Amber)
Sweet Vermouth like Carpano Antica or Atsby “Armadillo Cake” Vermouth
Large cubes of ice 3×3
Bitter End Curry Bitters
To a Boston Shaker, fill ¾ with ice
4 Tablespoons of the Grade B Syrup
Add 4 oz. Rhum Agricole
Add 1 oz. Sweet Vermouth
Shake Shake Shake shake
Strain over the 3×3 ice cubes in a rocks glass
Add 2 drops of the Bitter End Curry Bitters over the top
Ulysses Left on Ithaca Cocktail
Come fall, my palate is already calling out for the heat and aroma from the fireplace. There is something about wood heat that fills me with warmth for the coming cold months. I love the snap of the fire and the brooding heat that fills the room.
The same holds true for my cocktails. I seek out brown liquors that speak of warmth like whiskey spun into a very seasonal cocktail.
Smoked American whiskey is a wonderful match for a citrus-oil–tinged tea like Earl Grey. Don’t worry, I’m not suggesting you start spiking your morning pick-me-up; this delicate cocktail proves that Earl Grey isn’t just for breakfast anymore. Bound together by homemade ginger simple syrup, the Ulysses delivers spicy, sweet, smoky, and even salty—all at once. This cocktail is named for the Greek hero of the epic poem The Odyssey. Reluctant to leave his homeland of Ithaca, he pretended to be insane by sowing his fields with salt instead of grain. In his honor, the final touch to the Ulysses is a pinch of sea salt, which adds an unexpected, crunchy kick. It’s a delicious finish. The ingredients for this cocktail are simplicity themselves, but the sum of the parts is truly bewitching.
- 4 ounces (120 ml) freshly brewed Earl Grey tea, cooled
- 3 ounces (90 ml) smoked American whiskey (like Balcones Brimstone or the salubrious and rare, limited edition- Knob Creek Smoked Maple Bourbon)
- 2- ounces (60 ml) Spicy Ginger Honey Simple Syrup (see below)
- 1-ounce (30 ml) club soda
- 2 pinches of sea salt
- 2 sprigs of thyme
- Brew and cool the Earl Grey tea.
- Fill a mixing glass three-quarters full with ice.
- Pour the whiskey, tea, and the Spicy Ginger Honey Simple Syrup over the ice, then stir to combine.
- Taste for sweetness: If it’s not sweet enough, add a bit more simple syrup.
- Place a chunk of hand-cut ice into each of two short rocks glasses. (If you really want to bring out the gingery taste of the simple syrup, make ginger ice in advance: Freeze slices of fresh ginger root into your homemade ice.)
- Add the splash of club soda to each glass, and top each with a pinch of sea salt to add a welcome “crunch” to each sip.
- Garnish with the thyme sprigs—and get ready to pour a second round.
Raw Honey Simple Syrup:
In a medium saucepan, combine 1-cup (340 g) honey with 1/2 cup (120 ml) water and simmer, mixing until the honey has dissolved. Let the mixture cool. Keep refrigerated in an airtight container for up to a month.
Ginger Honey Simple Syrup:
Make a batch of Raw Honey Simple Syrup. Add 1/4 cup (25 g) finely chopped fresh (preferably young) ginger. Pour the mixture into an airtight container, and let it steep in the fridge for a couple days. Strain before using. Use within 2 weeks. If it becomes frothy or speaks in pirate tongues, throw it out!
Spicy Ginger Honey Simple Syrup:
Make a batch of Raw Ginger Honey Simple Syrup, and add 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper. Pour the mixture into an airtight container, and let it steep in the fridge for a couple days. Strain before using. Use within 2 weeks. This can also be added to a glass of seltzer water, making ginger beer that you’ve never tasted before! Can you say Dark and….. STORMY?
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.
For more information, call 845-679-8000 or see www.goldennotebook.com.