Written by Camille Messina of Messina Bitters
Photography by Camille Messina
Don’t just serve alcohol. If you really want a memorable party with friends and family, mix up a special drink using cannabis.
That’s what a growing number of home bartenders are doing, and why not? The majority of the United States has now legalized marijuana in some form. Depending on the strain of cannabis you use, the experience can range from a chatty evening full of laughter to a nightcap that puts you at ease.
Here’s how to make a great cannabis cocktail.
KNOW YOUR CANNABIS: THC AND CBD
Marijuana has a lot of compounds in it. One of the most important is THC, the psychoactive substance that makes you feel euphoric.
The amount of THC in marijuana can vary greatly depending on the strain, so it’s best to buy cannabis that has been tested in a lab. Generally, 1 gram of cannabis contains 15% THC, or 150 milligrams.
Another major compound in marijuana is CBD, which has medicinal effects without the high. You might also be asked if you want a Sativa or an Indica strain. Sativa cannabis strains are known to be more social and energizing. Indicas are typically more relaxing.
ESTIMATING DOSING & PARTY PLANNING
When planning a cannabis cocktail party, you’ll want to have non-alcoholic drinks and plenty of food available. Plan for safe rides home and encourage everyone to take their time between infused cocktails.
In these recipes, we use homemade cannabis tinctures stored in dropper bottles. Each dropper will have roughly 5 milligrams of THC, depending on the cannabis strain.
Cannabis affects everyone a little differently. For dosing, I recommend starting with 5 milligrams of THC per drink. Then wait at least an hour and see how you feel. The effects can vary depending on several factors, like how recently you’ve eaten and how often you ingest cannabis.
Before you infuse your cannabis, it must be activated. The THC molecule starts out with an extra acid attached to it. You need to release it through a process called decarboxylation. This step is necessary in order to feel the euphoric effects associated with consuming cannabis. Decarboxylation isn’t as scary as it sounds:
Preheat your oven to 240° F.
Remove stems and seeds from the cannabis.
Break up the cannabis with a clean coffee grinder that you no longer plan to use for anything else.
Line a cookie sheet with aluminum foil. Spread out your cannabis in an even layer.
Bake the cannabis for an hour or until it’s toasted golden brown.
MAKING THE TINCTURES
The three tinctures here all follow the same process, but two of the tinctures have additional ingredients. The last step in the process is called winterization. You can skip it if you want, but it will remove waxes found in cannabis that will gunk up your tincture.
2 ounces Everclear or Bacardi 515
2 grams (roughly 4 teaspoons) activated cannabis
VANILLA ORANGE TINCTURE
1 tablespoon diced orange peel, pith removed
1/2 vanilla bean, quartered, with seeds removed and added to tincture
1 teaspoon fresh mint, diced
Combine the activated cannabis (and additional ingredients for flavored tinctures) with the alcohol and steep at room temperature for 1 week, shaking the mixture once per day. Strain the alcohol mixture, reserving the herbs.
Add the reserved herbs to 4 ounces of water. Bring to a boil. Cover, turn off heat and steep for 10 minutes. Strain out the herbs and add just enough of the herb tea to the alcohol infusion to result in a total of 2 1/2 ounces.
Strain the alcohol-tea infusion through cheesecloth and again through a coffee filter into a small Mason jar.
Winterization: Place the lid on the Mason jar and put it in the freezer overnight. The following day, take the Mason jar out of the freezer and immediately strain it through a coffee filter. Store in a tincture bottle with a dropper for easy 5 milligram dosing.
GREEN GOLD DAIQUIRI
3 ounces Koloa Coconut Rum
2 ounces Maraschino liqueur
2 ounces fresh lime juice
1 ounce simple syrup
1/4 medium-ripe avocado, peeled and pitted
1 1/2 cups ice
2 droppers vanilla orange cannabis tincture
Blend all the ingredients, except the tincture, until smooth, about 20 seconds.
Split the cocktail between two glasses.
Add 1 dropper of tincture to each glass. Stir. Garnish with a lime wheel.
2 ounces Vodka
1 ounce Cointreau
2 ounces fresh lilikoi juice
1/2 ounce simple syrup
1 dropper mint cannabis tincture
1 mint sprig for garnish
Dragon fruit for garnish
Using a melon baller create little spheres of red dragon fruit.
Prepare a highball glass filled with alternating ice cubes and dragon fruit spheres.
Combine vodka, Cointreau, lilikoi juice and simple syrup in a shaker filled with ice. Shake for 10 seconds and strain into prepared glass.
Top with lilikoi seeds and garnish with a sprig of mint.
Add the tincture
Camille Messina’s passion for medicinal plants led her to open the world’s first legally-recognized cannabis-infused cocktail bitters company. Splitting her time between her homes in Portland, Oregon, and the Big Island of Hawai‘i, Camille is forever inspired to perfect the cannabis-infused cocktail, learn more about the plants she loves and make bitters that are even better.