Cannabis cocktails are growing in popularity. Their appeal is obvious: They offer the perks of the herb in a tasty, smoke-free package, the buzz is long-lasting, and unless you’re also making the drink with lots of alcohol, they rarely cause hangovers. While the law prohibits most bars from serving weed drinks, at-home cocktail enthusiasts are free to explore.
If you’d like to grow your own plant and start the process from scratch, you can buy some outdoor seeds from an online shop. Otherwise, procure cannabis from your preferred source. Then join us for five basic lessons on marijuana mixology, including which mixers suit these beverages best, and what you should know about strains, potency, flavors, and aromas.
1. Pick the Right Strain
Sativa uplifts, indica relaxes, and hybrids pair these opposing effects. Modern weed enthusiasts use this knowledge to choose the ideal strain for any occasion. Mixologists can learn from them and tweak their sipping experiences.
The beauty of marijuana cocktails is that they can serve as high-energy party drinks or laid-back nightcaps. Use full-spectrum infusions instead of isolates to enjoy unique, strain-specific effects.
High-THC buds are ideal for situations where you want to get your buzz on. CBD-rich weed adds a clear-headed, feel-good twist to alcoholic drinks and mocktails. You can additionally tailor the high by choosing strains rich in uplifting or relaxing terpenes.
2. Choose Your Canna-Base
There are several ways to introduce THC or CBD into cocktails, and various cannabis drink recipes call for different ingredients. Let’s explore the available options.
Note:If planning to make the base yourself, start by decarbing the buds. Bake marijuana at 220ºF for 45 minutes to make it release its active chemicals, and let it cool before use.
Cannabis tinctures are plant material soaked in alcohol and strained for clarity. The resulting liquid is concentrated and easy to dose. Its potency is usually high, meaning a drop is enough for a decent drink. Here’s how to make tinctures at home:
- Freeze alcohol and cannabis in separate glass containers for 24 hours.
- Combine half the alcohol with cannabis and let it spend two hours in a freezer.
- Shake the mixture for five minutes and strain it through a cheesecloth.
- Add the remaining alcohol, shake, and strain once more.
- Let the jar sit in the open air until half the alcohol evaporates.
Bitters are botanical infusions used to flavor cocktails and are an essential ingredient in old-school drinks and modern concoctions alike. They share the potency and dosing rules with tinctures. Here’s how to make weed bitters at home:
- Combine a cup of high-proof liquor, decarbed cannabis, orange peel, crushed cardamom pods, coriander spice, cloves, and anise. Place them in a plastic bag.
- Heat a water pot to 140–150°F. Place the bag inside the water and cook for 2–4 hours.
- Let the mixture cool before straining out the solids with a cheesecloth.
Simple syrup is a liquid sweetener and the quintessential ingredient of many cocktails. It evenly disperses sweetness throughout the beverage and ensures a smooth flavor. Here’s how to DIY a cannabis-infused simple syrup:
- Fill a pot with water, heat it, and bring it to a low boil. Add decarbed cannabis, stirring frequently.
- Add sugar into the mix and stir until it dissolves.
- Cover the pot and cook the mixture for 20 minutes on a low boil.
- Strain with a cheesecloth and refrigerate before use.
Honey isn’t as common as syrup in cocktails, but experts love it. Besides sweetening the drink, it introduces a rich floral flavor to cocktails, and cannabis adds herbaceous notes to its mellow taste. Making cannabis honey is a two-step process:
- Merge your honey and decarbed buds in a double boiler. Let the mixture simmer on low heat for 40 minutes.
- Let the honey cool before straining through a cheesecloth.
There’s now an influx of CBD and THC-infused seltzers and tonics available for purchase. These flat and sparkling beverages are excellent cocktail mixers.
Wunder, Cann, and Wynk are a few good options. Each brand produces various flavors and potency levels to match your preferences, but Cann gets bonus points for stocking unflavored tonics.
3. Understand the Potency
Weed drinks can pack quite a punch. Their effect onset is similar to edibles, as the digestive system must process them before they enter the bloodstream. As a result, it may take anywhere from 30 minutes to one hour for the high to begin.
While most cannabis cocktails replace alcohol with THC or CBD, adventurous consumers might combine them. This blend is intense and requires caution but can elevate your experience.
Knowing how much THC to add to your drink can prevent overconsumption and overly intense effects. As a rule, use 2–4 mg per 8–12 fluid ounces for a low potency cocktail. Add 5–10 mg for moderate potency party drinks, or more if you know your tolerance.
4. Consider Adding Alcohol
Mixing weed and booze intensifies the effects of the former. The flavor interplay can be outstanding, with herbal qualities taming and accentuating the alcoholic bite.
This approach goes by “crossfading” and can take two forms. You may combine alcohol with non-intoxicating CBD to make the intoxication more wholesome. Alternatively, create a punchy ethanol-THC concoction.
In the former case, add CBD to your usual cocktail without any added precautions. Be careful with alcohol, going low and slow to avoid socks-off intensity. Add 1–5 mg of THC per drink and half your usual dose of liquor.
5. Harness the Natural Aromas
Whichever base you pick, cannabis infusions retain an herbal, grassy tang. The easy solution is to embrace it and let it elevate your herbal cocktail recipes. Stoned Negronis perfectly exemplify this approach.
You may also counter the pungency with sweetness. Rely on citrus, chocolate, coffee, or vanilla mixers for flavor masking. Lemons and oranges subdue the grassy qualities, while rich creams blanket the bitterness. You might sense weed in the aftertaste, but it won’t be pronounced.
Weed Drinks: Wrapping Up
Cannabis drinks take your cocktail game to the next level. They offer an array of unique aromas and effects to explore, so why not give it a shot?
Play around with mixers to find your favorite aromatic combinations. Try sweet, sour, and spicy recipes and investigate cannabis flavor profiles. Test THC and CBD combinations to experience their energizing and relaxing effects.
If you like a particular combo, prepare a batch of infusions to make mixing easy. You might even buy seeds to grow tasty weed for the purpose.