The next time you’re having a boy's or a girl’s night in, impress your guests with some flavored drinks. Read this guide to CBD cocktails. Experiment with cannabis’ most famous nonintoxicating compound. Find out more at Liquor.com. Bartenders weigh in on the benefits of 2018's buzziest cocktail ingredient trend.
A Guide to CBD-Spiked Cocktails
Are you looking for a new twist on girl’s or guy’s night out?
Consider giving CBD cocktails a try!
The CBD cocktail is a trendy new twist on other emerging CBD drinks, and it’s set to become the next big thing.
It’s essentially just your favorite cocktail with the added benefits of CBD oil. And, if you’ve taken sublingual CBD oil and didn’t like the taste, have no fear.
Different CBD extracts impart different flavors – allowing for you to experiment for yourself.
Ready to give it a shot? Keep reading for more information.
What Is CBD?
In case you’re not familiar, CBD is short for cannabidiol, and it’s one of the active compounds found in the cannabis Sativa plant. Unlike THC, however, it does not possess any psychoactive properties.
That means it won’t get you high.
Your body’s endocannabinoid system (ECS for short) is full of cannabinoid receptors. These receptors react to the effect of the countless cannabinoids found in cannabis.
CBD is unique, though.
It doesn’t bond directly with cannabinoid receptors. Instead, it encourages the body to create its own internal cannabinoids, also known as endocannabinoids. And it is these that bind with the receptors.
Is Mixing CBD and Alcohol Safe?
Yes. But as with any drink, you’ll need to be careful not to make it too strong.
When you start to experiment with making your own CBD cocktails, you’ll need to pay attention to the ABV of the spirit you’ve chosen.
If there’s too much alcohol, you’re more likely to feel only the alcoholic effects.
But, you don’t want to use too much CBD either. An excess of CBD may leave you feeling sleepy or lethargic.
Chances are, you already have a sense of how much alcohol is too much when making a cocktail.
But with CBD, there’s more of a grey area.
Most CBD brands recommend new users start with 25 mg and increase or decrease from there. Mixing CBD with alcohol requires a little more discretion, though.
So we recommend starting with 15mg per drink. Then from there, you can increase or decrease as you see fit.
Before you jump in and start testing your mix master skills, we’ve got several recipes for drinks that are already familiar to you, but with the added benefit of CBD. This is a great place to start.
1. CBD Tranquil Mint Julep
You don’t have to sit in the stands of the Kentucky Derby to enjoy a mint julep.
Adding a CBD tincture with a minty essence will take it up another notch. Plus, it’ll do wonders for your breath – just in case kissing is in your future.
- 15 mg. CBD tincture – preferably mint flavored
- 1/2 oz. simple syrup
- 2 drops peppermint essential oil (optional)
- Fresh mint leaves
- 2 oz. bourbon
Pour the CBD tincture into a chilled julep cup. Add the simple syrup and optional peppermint oil, and gently swirl the mixture.
Toss some mint leaves into the cup with the syrup and tincture. Muddle the leaves.
Once the mint is sufficiently muddled, pour bourbon over the mixture. Then top off the beverage with pebble ice.
Garnish with mint leaves, if you wish.
2. Smokey CBD Mezcal Margarita
Mezcal provides a smoky flavor to this drink, while the herbal flavors of Aquavit and CBD team up to give it a vegetal element. This is not your standard margarita.
- 1 oz. mezcal (choose joven or reposado depending on how smokey you like it)
- 1 oz. aquavit or other herbal liquor
- 3/4 oz. lime juice
- 3/4 oz. agave syrup
- 1 oz. cannabis leaf juice (you can substitute other green juice)
- 1 pinch sea salt
- 15 mg CBD tincture
- cannabis leaf, edible flowers, or greens of choice, to garnish
Place your mezcal, aquavit or liquor, lime juice, agave syrup, juice, salt, and CBD tincture in a cocktail shaker.
Shake the mixture, and use a fine strainer to pour it into a lowball glass over ice.
For an extra effect, garnish your glass with a ring of salt around the rim.
3. CBD Cosmo
The cosmopolitan is the iconic kick back and relax cocktail. Adding some orange CBD tincture brings on the chill factor even more.
This recipe has a real citrus kick to give it a little different spin.
- 1-1/2 oz citrus flavored vodka
- 1 oz cranberry juice
- 15 mg. orange CBD tincture
- 3/4 oz. fresh lime juice
- 3/4 oz. triple sec or grand marnier
- Orange twist
Grab a cocktail shaker and pour in the vodka, cranberry juice, CBD tincture, lime juice, and triple sec or grand marnier. Add a bit of ice and shake vigorously for at least 20 seconds. (The shaker should feel very cold.)
Pour the mixture into a strainer over a martini glass.
4. CBD Sangria
Sangria is a great party drink because it’s cheap, easy to make, and everyone likes it! How can you beat that?
- 1 apple
- 1 lime
- 1 lemon
- 1 orange
- 1/2 cup of orange juice
- 1 cup of cranberry juice
- 3 cups red wine
- 2 cups seltzer
- 15 mg. CBD tincture
Cut up the fruits into wheels and chunks and place them in a large pitcher. Pour in the remainder of the ingredients and ice.
5. CBD Pimm’s Cup
Fans of the Pimm’s Cup appreciate the refreshing combination of ginger and cucumber in this cocktail. Adding CBD makes it the ultimate refreshing chill.
- 2 oz. Pimm’s Original No. 1 Cup
- 3/4 oz. lemon juice
- 1/2 oz. simple syrup
- 3 cucumber slices
- 3 cannabis leaves (optional)
- 1 oz. ginger beer
- 15 mg CBD tincture
Muddle the cucumber, simple syrup, and cannabis leaves (if you’re using them) in a cocktail shaker. Add the Pimm’s, lemon juice, and ice.
Shake the entire mixture, strain it, and pour the chilled mixture into a collins glass filled with ice.
Top with 1 oz. of ginger beer.
6. Gin and Chronic
The updated name of this familiar cocktail has nothing to hide. The combination of gin and tonic topped with CBD makes for the perfect after-dinner wind-down.
- 1-1/2 oz. gin
- 3-1/2 oz. tonic water
- 1/4 oz. lemon juice
- 15 mg. CBD tincture
- Aromatics such as edible flowers, grapefruit peels, or herbs for garnish
Pour the gin, lemon juice, and tonic water into a wine glass and top off with ice.
Place your choice of aromatic garnish on top, then pour the CBD tincture on top.
Experiment with CBD Cocktails for Yourself
CBD oils have varying intensities of cannabis flavor and some pack a greener taste than others. So, the choice of oils used in your CBD cocktails can alter the flavor quite a bit.
Don’t be discouraged if you have to experiment a bit to craft a great tasting cocktail!
If you believe you’ve crafted the perfect CBD drink recipe and you’d like to work with a curated team of beverage scientists, graphic designers, and operation specialists who can bring your beverage idea to life, then contact us!
3 Simple CBD Cocktails Anyone Can Make
Janelle Lassalle is a writer, content creator and brand strategist specializing in the cannabis industry. She also covers food, drinks and travel.
Are you CBD-curious? Making your own CBD cocktails is a fun, easy way to experiment with cannabis’ most famous nonintoxicating compound. Nowadays, grocery stores like Portland, Ore.’s New Seasons even carry CBD products, so you don’t have to venture into a dispensary. And the best part? You can play with alcoholic and nonalcoholic versions of drinks.
There are many ways to incorporate CBD into your drink. One way is to create your own CBD simple syrup. Other popular methods include floating CBD oil on top of your cocktail or using premade CBD tonics to whip drinks up with. These are three recipes representing three different ways to infuse CBD into your drink.
CBD Moscow Mule
CBD is very earthy, which can make it tricky to pair with other ingredients. Luckily, the freshness of ginger complements it perfectly. Throwing some much needed citrus into the mix evens out the whole ensemble, which is why a Moscow Mule is a great CBD drink pairing. The end result is a cocktail that’s refreshing, easy on the stomach and ideal for minimizing next-day hangovers.
CBD Dirty Martini
One of the first—and some would argue, most polarizing—forms of CBD cocktails to emerge was the CBD float. Popularized by innovative bartenders, floating CBD oil works best when it’s paired with strong acidic flavors that cut through its piney tones. The olive brine in this CBD version of a Dirty Martini does the job nicely. Using raw CBD oil rather than a syrup also ensures you’re getting the maximum flavor (and any terpenes) from the CBD as it has been minimally processed or heated.
CBD Gin & Tonic
Who doesn’t love a classic Gin & Tonic? The two-ingredient dynamo is also an ideal complement for CBD’s funky notes. Experiment with different gins to see what works best for you, but an especially citrusy selection like Tanqueray Rangpur gin does a good job of taming CBD’s bold tones.
This recipe uses a premade CBD elixir. You can also use CBD-infused water, which you can find online. Look for products with at least 10 milligrams of CBD to feel any effects, though 25 milligrams seem to be an ideal dose. Be sure to keep in mind that CBD can take up to two hours to take full effect.
CBD Cocktails: What They Are and Why They’re Taking Over Bar Menus Everywhere
Bartenders weigh in on the benefits of 2018’s buzziest cocktail ingredient trend
Cocktails are already a great way to relax and unwind, but a new trend you’ve probably seen everywhere is taking things things one, very chill step further. Replacing activated charcoal as this year’s ubiquitous food fad is cannabidiol, the non-psychoactive chemical found in hemp and cannabis that’s been creeping its way onto cocktail menus (and into coffee shops) all over the country.
While CBD contains no THC, and therefore will not get you high, it will still deliver some of the non-trippy effects of weed—a little sedation and relaxation. And bartenders are taking note, experimenting with the stuff in everything from infusions and tinctures to teas. But what exactly do you feel when you mix your CBD with booze?
“It gives you a different kind of ‘buzz’ for a relaxed state of mind,” says Zsolt “George” Csonka, owner-bartender at Adriaen Block, New York City’s first dedicated CBD bar. “After two drinks, you should find yourself feeling calm and mellow.”
Adriaen Block’s cocktails, with witty names like the Rolled Fashioned and Stoney Negroni, get their CBD content from various tinctures added via eyedropper to manage the dosage. Csonka chooses to make his drinks exclusively with low-ABV spirits, such as vermouths and sherries, which he believes works best for calming effects and overall wellness.
“CBD started popping up as a wellness trend to alleviate anxiety, pain, and inflammation,” he says. “When putting CBD in a low ABV or non-alcoholic cocktail, you can enjoy a drink or two and still be able to go to the gym the next day.”
Ryan Fleming, brand ambassador at Los Angeles whiskey producer Stillhouse Spirits Co., echoes the pros of CBD based on his personal experience. “As a bartender, it’s done wonders for my aches and pains, while also giving me the ability to still have a couple of drinks after work and not worry about complications with pain relievers.”
Beyond its purported health benefits, the application of CBD in cocktails can lead to a number of different flavor and texture enhancements.
Its natural taste is mostly neutral, with green, chlorophyll-like notes that can add a pleasant complexity to certain drinks.
“If you are using a pure CBD oil, it will taste earthy and plant-like, but this can be a great addition to many cocktails—a lot of gin and amaro-based cocktails work very well with this mixture,” says Fleming. “It also can add a viscous mouthfeel that I find delightful in a nice stirred cocktail.”
Rachel Burkons, founder of the culinary cannabis company Altered Plates, agrees, explaining that the terpene content found in gin makes it a natural partner to CBD. “We’ve found that gin-based drinks and other cocktails with a botanical twist work well, mostly because they’re also terpene-rich,” she says. “Many of those flavors are also the building blocks of flavor in cannabis and hemp.”
Meanwhile, owner-bartender Johnny Swet of New York’s Jimmy at the James says sometimes he likes to go even further, adding the hemp flavor directly to the spirit by fat-washing it—a form of infusion—in addition to adding a CBD component. But he opts for a different method depending on the drink’s other ingredients, experimenting with tinctures, teas, and even edibles: his Jeff Spicoli Special fuses mezcal and Amaro Montenegro with pumpkin butter and a CBD gummy bear. For cocktails where the taste of CBD oil might overpower the other flavors, Swet recommends picking a spirit with a heavy dominant flavor of its own.
“To account for the taste of CBD in cocktails, I lean towards spirits with stronger flavors like mezcal, tequila, or bourbon,” Swet says. “Those three in particular seem to work best with CBD, but I also love pairing CBD with very flavorful, seasonal ingredients like pumpkin, apples, pears, and herbs including sage, mint, and rosemary.”
Despite the fun and versatility of CBD ingredients, Burkons cautions that adding CBD to drinks is still in a legal gray area. In July, the California Department of Health issued a notice to food-and-beverage operators, stating that it’s illegal to add CBD to food and drink, even threatening fines to Orange County cafe marketing the stuff as a dietary supplement. (To note, a hemp taqueria and CBD smoothie bar are still operating in LA).
“Not to be a total downer, but the one thing I’ve had to educate most of my friends and clients on is the fact that, at the end of the day, this just isn’t legal,” Burkons says. “While there are currently steps happening to make hemp and hemp-derived CBD federally legal, at this moment, these products and their on-premise application are not compliant.”
But until other Departments of Health put the kibosh on CBD cocktails, experimentation will likely forge on. Burkons advises that any bartender looking to work with CBD should put as much care into sourcing it as they would their spirits list.
“Because this is a federally illegal product, there is no government oversight, so hemp-derived CBD can be low-quality, filled with pesticides and grown in China, or could be organic, sun-grown from Colorado,” she says. “Do some research to find a premium product that will give your guest the best experience possible.”
While the amounts of CBD typically being used—usually between 3 and 5 miligrams—are not enough to provide the reported medicinal benefits, the relaxing effects of a few drops are undeniable. And with the creativity of today’s bartenders, it’s no surprise these feel-good and taste-good CBD cocktails are becoming fast favorites.
“The guest response to CBD cocktails has been very positive—they’re excited to experiment and see what all the fuss is about,” Swet says. “It’s also a great way to break the ice and start up a great conversation with the person next to you at the bar.”
You heard it here, folks. Next time you’re having trouble chatting up someone at the bar, try a CBD cocktail.