ElPlanteo.com exclusive interview with American mixologist Warren Bobrow, author of Cannabis Cocktails, Mocktails & Tonics: The Art of Spirited Drinks and Buzz-Worthy Libations.BYTHE PLANTINGJULY 22, 2022
Warren Bobrow was just 5 years old when he tried a cocktail for the first time. He was a glass of sherry mixed with ginger-ale and a salty olive in Barcelona, Spain, with his parents. “I remember it was really hot and the refreshing quality of the ‘kids’ drink has stuck in my brain to this day,” says the mixologist, chef and writer known for Cocktail Whisperer and author of Cannabis Cocktails, Mocktails. & Tonics: The Art of Spirited Drinks and Buzz-Worthy Libations .
The memory of that drink became a complex, unusual and unexpected introduction to mixology. “Even if it was made for a kid, it was still a cocktail ,” says Bobrow.
And, in his life, one thing led to another: he was a dishwasher, he studied at culinary school, he became a chef, he worked in restaurants of all kinds, he became a renowned bartender and he was even nominated for the Spirited Awards – Tales of the Cocktail Foundation, renowned industry awards. He has written six mixology books and hundreds of articles in magazines around the world. “It’s been a very busy life.”
As it is, that “busy life” is anointed in the game, in the tests and in the innovation. But, curiously, he supports his professional decisions based on a certain simplicity. “A well-mixed cocktail shouldn’t have a plethora of disparate ingredients,” he acknowledges.
Your first experiences
In that sense, since he was 16 years old he began to investigate the world of cannabis in drinks. And that kickoff was also subject to a bit of a fluke: As a teenager, she bought some awful faso brownies in New York’s Washington Square Park. He came to his house, put them through the blender, dumped a bunch of chocolate liqueur and chocolate ice cream on them. And… Boom!
“I was with some friends and we were very drugged and drunk.”
At the time, when he wrote his first book, Apothecary Cocktails: Restorative Drinks from Yesterday and Today , published in 2013, his publisher at the time did not allow him to include cannabis themes.
Over time, this trend was reversed and cannabis was taking a more prominent place in his bibliography.
But his link with cannabis did not occur in his investigative stage, but has an atavistic link: his grandfather had a botanist where he manufactured pharmaceutical products . “It was just snake oil, but I feel like there’s a correlation,” he confesses.
The famous cocktail with THC
Among the most popular cannabis-infused cocktails is the Mezzrole , which is sold exclusively in California, USA.
What is Mezzrole? A combination of small limes from the French Caribbean in a puree, blended with a touch of Japanese vinegar in a tangy, herbaceous version. A very spicy ginger syrup base from Pickett’s hailing from Denver, Colorado. “The best ginger beer concentrate in the world, and I’ve tried many during my research,” he says.
The cocktail follows with a base of 100 proof Agricole, a THC nanotech handcrafted creation. That includes about 10 milligrams of THC, from a strain called Hippie Crasher.
“It’s a really revolutionary drink full of terpenes,” he confesses.
Mezzrole, re crazy
At the time, the Mezzrole is a Bobrow creation whose goal is to drive its drinkers crazy . “You don’t get destroyed, but it’s not too different from the social version of smoking a joint . Of course, without the annoying smoke that announces your presence, ”says the mixologist.
He continues: “ I wanted to build a THC cocktail that would allow you to carry out all the social interactions of the plant without condemning yourself to social ostracism from non-smokers. I am offering the full cannabis experience in a well-constructed cocktail that truly smells like a well-cured cannabis flower.”
Among the riskiest cannabis drinks is the one he made during his appearance on Viceland . “They asked me to make a CBD/THC cocktail that they could feel.”
There, emboldened by the production’s suggestion, he mixed a bottle of straight bourbon on tap with a serving of roasted orange juice, ruby grapefruit with angostura bitters, and Italian orange soda. In addition, he added about 250 mg of THC and CBD .
“They lit up a little bit ,” Warren jokes.
Good and bad, bad and good
His book Apothecary Cocktails is about to reach its fifth printing imminently .
However, it’s not all good news for Bobrow: “ The bad part is that I was blacklisted by the liquor industry , so there was a lot of animosity and fear towards me. Unfairly, the truth. But that was kind of the end of my career . Although, in the abstract, it was not what ended my career.
How!? Did Warren Bobrow Retire From Bars?
“ I had to do it for my health. I put on a lot of weight working as an off-premise craft spirits brand ambassador and as a rum judge for the Ministry of Rum and Rum XP. My job was to get people drunk with the best spirits in the world , with the recipes in my books and the experience that working for Chris James at the Ryland Inn as a bartender gave me,” he reveals.
“It’s not an easy job!” He says, between jokes, at 61 years old.
Today, Warren runs the company that produces Klaus , a cannabis-infused ready-to-drink , and excels at the vice of popularization by writing regularly for Skunk , Cannabis Cactus and Different Leaf magazines .
—The first time you had a drink with cannabis was during that anecdote you told when you were about 16 years old. Now, when was the last one?
—Mmmhhh… The last time was the other night. The experience was, precisely, with Klauss, my drink. I didn’t want to drink any of the caramel-flavored carbonated waters, nor the syrups. They are too sweet, I don’t like them. That is why my drink is not sweet, far from it: it is acidic and well balanced.
THC banned, THC welcome
Meanwhile, the world of professional cocktails looks with some suspicion at the world of cannabis . It is that, these days, the consumption of THC mixed with alcoholic beverages is illegal in the United States (with the exception of California). For this reason, their drinks are not available in American bars .
Among his next creations, Bobrow plans to make a new version of the classic Zombie , a cocktail made up of various types of brandy and rum mixed with various types of fruit juices. The cocktail will feature details from a sativa strain that “will make you want to dance bossa nova.”
In his case, the famous mixologist uses cannabis medicinally because he suffers from glaucoma and marijuana “preserves his vision.” Likewise, he admits that he likes to “be crazy ” because it makes him “feel inspired” and allows him to write, open his brain and, according to him, unlock his third eye . “For various reasons, cannabis is part of my life.”