Food

A Guide to CBD-Spiked Cocktails

A Guide to CBD-Spiked Cocktails

Ringing in 2018 with a CBD-spiked cocktail intrigued many of us at goop; depending on where you live and what the laws are (they’re about to become even more relaxed here in Los Angeles), it seems like just about everyone is experimenting with cannabidiol (also known as CBD) oils and tinctures. Devotees swear it helps with everything from sleep and stress, to canine joint pain and behavioral issues (seriously), and have started mixing it into smoothies, lattes, and—at certain restaurants and pop-ups around town—cocktails. Maxwell Reis’ CBD cocktails at Gracias Madre, the vegan Mexican restaurant in West Hollywood, are justly famous: He was one of the first people we know to incorporate CBD into cocktails, and he’s definitely one of the most talented. Reis not only answered all of our mixing and pairing questions, but also developed four insanely delicious cocktails just for us.

A Q&A with Maxwell Reis

Q

What inspired you to mix CBD oil into cocktails at Gracias Madre?

A

Cannabis use wasn’t unusual where I grew up in Northern California, and by the time I was an adult, I had experimented a lot with it, incorporating it into culinary techniques and practices. At the time, Jason Eisner (the former beverage director at Gracias Madre) and I often discussed ways of introducing it into the mainstream, so when CBD became more commonplace in the medical cannabis community, then made its way from the dispensaries to high-end health stores, the next step seemed obvious. I presented Eisner with the idea, he consulted with the restaurant’s legal team, and CBD cocktails were on the menu a week later.

Q

What would you say is the effect?

A

Unlike THC, which is the cognitive component in marijuana, CBD is typically associated with feelings of euphoria and relaxation while alleviating nausea, anxiety, and other physical discomforts (for most, this is a welcomed addition to a cocktail). That being said, it affects everyone differently—the same cocktail may make one person extremely chilled out, while another will feel nothing.

Q

You use both CBD oil and CBD tinctures in your cocktails. What’s the difference?

A

The difference is that CBD oil is, unsurprisingly, oil-based, while CBD tinctures are alcohol-based. Outside of the flavor of the base CBD (which can be tailored depending on brand), the two forms do integrate differently into the cocktail itself. Oil floats on top of the drink, which can be great if you want those enjoying the cocktail to see the oil and smell it as they take a sip. It also integrates well into any cocktail with a healthy foam or head on it, trapping it in the upper layer. Although there is a benefit to smelling the floating oil as you take each sip, it can often leave some oil at the bottom of your glass after the cocktail is finished. Tincture integrates into a cocktail seamlessly just like any other alcohol, so you get every last drop! I like the option of both at my disposal, but I find myself using tincture 90 percent of the time.

Q

What’s the right dose?

A

It varies from person to person, but most CBD brands recommend starting with 25 mg and increasing or decreasing your dose from there. Because we’re mixing it with alcohol, we usually stick to 15 mg per drink. That being said, we keep our ears to the ground as product knowledge evolves, and we always recommend that anyone using CBD (medicinally or recreationally) do the same.

Q

Do certain spirits work better than others? And is there a way to tailor the drink for a desired effect— i.e., more CBD oil and less booze for a mellower buzz?

A

Spirit-wise, it’s mainly to your personal taste, but I would pay attention to ABV, which stands for alcohol by volume and measures the amount of alcohol in a given volume of an alcoholic beverage, just as you would when making any cocktail! The more alcohol in the drink, the more you’ll feel affected by it—and the less you’ll notice the effects of the CBD. Too much CBD, you might get a little out of it and sleepy.

Q

Do most CBD oils have a strong taste? And if so, do certain ingredients pair better with it than others?

A

CBD oils have varying intensities of cannabis flavor, from basically no taste to a full-fledged vegetal citrus flavor commonly associated with the plant. From a culinary aspect, I find extracts with a bold flavor more exciting—I just don’t see the fun in mixing with a product that tastes like nothing! The flavor of cannabis is distinct and unique—why not utilize it? It can be used to enhance flavors with similar qualities like hops, basil, mint, and matcha, or just impart a unique flavor to any cocktail that could use some vegetal nuance!

Q

Do you have any tips for sourcing good-quality CBD oils and tinctures?

A

There’s no better place to find high quality CBD than at a medical cannabis dispensary. There, you can discuss what’s available with people that have experience with different people, and various brands, and find a CBD that’s right for you. Health food stores also often carry CBD extracts these days, and the staff can be quite knowledgeable, but I usually find that the best product is in dispensaries. If you’re using CBD in the quantity we are, reach out directly to individual CBD producers to get an in-depth look at the product, process, and of course, tailor it to your needs.

4 Tailor-Made CBD-Spiked Cocktails

  • CBD Julep

    CBD Julep

    “This stiff and refreshing cocktail is perfect for kicking relaxation mode into overdrive. The vegetal notes from the cannabis create a stellar backdrop that transforms this whiskey-centric cocktail into a serious porch pounder.”

    GET RECIPE

  • Up in Smoke

    Up in Smoke

    “Get your daily dose of greens in more ways than one: The smoky mezcal, vegetal Aquavit, and CBD team up with your favorite green juice to create a flavor profile that Cheech and Chong could get behind.”

    GET RECIPE

  • Gin & Chronic

    Gin & Chronic

    “This Spanish style gin and tonic is a combination of California-grown aromatics and a CBD oil float that complements the citrusy botanical notes found in both cannabis and your favorite gin.”

    GET RECIPE

  • Cannabis Cup

    Cannabis Cup

    “This CBD-infused “Pimm’s Cup” variation combines the refreshing duo of cucumber and ginger with the chill factor of your favorite cannabinoid.”

    GET RECIPE


Shop the Story

You may also like