With changing laws and altering attitudes, marijuana is now part of the social scene in the U.S. And in states where recreational cannabis is legal, bartenders are figuring, if you can’t beat them, join them, and serving cannabis cocktails.
Current legislation prohibits mixing weed in beverage alcohol, even where recreational use is legal. But low-THC products made from hemp are okay. And the non-psychoactive ingredient cannabidiol (CBD) is being prescribed for ailments from anxiety, epilepsy and inflammation to cancer and chronic pain.
“I was interested in CBD oil for its medicinal uses,” says Danny Kuehner, bar manager at Madison On Park restaurant in San Diego. Initially he sourced the oil online but now uses local company Real Scientific Hemp Meds. “They are very committed to the medical benefits of CBD and went out of their way to help us.”
Madison On Park’s CBD cocktails examples include Mr. Nice Guy, a mezcal-based drink with cannabidiol oil, matcha, pineapple, coconut milk and lime juice ($18); and Purple Rain, a mix of Blinking Owl aquavit, Giffard peach liqueur, lemon juice, egg white, butterfly pea flower and CBD oil. Price for the latter is $13, including a $1 donation to the Betty Ford Addiction Prevention Foundation.
Jenn Grossbard, bar manager at The Drawing Board in Petaluma, CA, was inspired by the legalization of cannabis and its medicinal benefits. So she uses a local vodka infused with hemp cannabis, naturally higher in CBD, in a seasonal cocktail with blackberries that grow abundantly in the Petaluma area. The Nocturne is made with Humboldt’s Finest cannabis vodka, blackberry sage shrub, Broadbent Rainwater madeira, lime juice, damiana (an herb with reputed aphrodisiac effects), egg white and wormwood bitters.