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How to make cannabis cocktails

How to make cannabis cocktails

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Yield: Each recipe below makes a single cannabis cocktail. The cannabis infusion recipe makes a single 750ml bottle of cannabis-infused liquor 
Cook/prep time: 2-3 hours to make cannabis infusion. 3-4 hours if decarboxylation has not been performed. Mixing the cocktail only takes a few moments. 

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Too much of a good thing can sum up many a night spent drinking too much alcohol and smoking too much weed. Research has shown that drinking alcohol and smoking weed (also known as getting “cross-faded”) can increase the body’s absorption of THC, potentially making you more high than you bargained for. In addition, a dry mouth and increased thirst are side effects of cannabis, which when mixed with the diuretic effects of alcohol, can have you feeling dehydrated. 

But used responsibly and in moderation, a little bit of weed with some alcohol can be a winning combination. And mixed together, with the right spirits and the best infusions, you can have a cannabis cocktail that will make it a happy hour at any time of the day. 

What to know about edibles and cannabis cocktails 

If you’re a fan of edibles then you know what they bring to the table. Edibles produce a powerful, often full body high that comes on slow and can last for several hours. They can spark laughing fits and the munchies or just make you feel warm and fuzzy all over. 

But there are a couple dos and don’ts to keep in mind. The first has to do with pacing yourself. 

Edibles can take over an hour to kick in, so make sure to give yourself at least an hour to gauge the effects of an edible before you decide to increase your dose. This is especially important with cannabis cocktails not only because they also contain alcohol, but also because when you’re sitting with friends over a perfectly mixed libation, it’s easy to throw caution to the wind and go ahead and have a second round. 

With cannabis cocktails, you’re really going to want to pace yourself. You may also want to make a cannabis-free cocktail or two to accompany the THC-infused one, which you can polish off to slake your cocktail thirst without tossing back another stony serving of THC. 

The other key step is to remember to decarboxylate your weed. 

What is decarboxylation?

Decarboxylation is a process in which cannabis is heated up, converting the cannabinoid THCA into THC – the cannabinoid that will get you high. The process must take place in order to produce cannabis that can get you high just by ingesting it. 

To decarboxylate your weed, simply grind up the cannabis you’re using and heat it in your oven for about 30-45 minutes at around 220-245°F (105-120°C). That’s all there is to it. 

Read more about decarboxylation here.

How to infuse your own alcohol/buying pre-infused alcohol

Most cannabis cocktails can be made one of two ways, by adding a cannabis infusion like a tincture to a cocktail, or by mixing a cocktail with alcohol that has cannabis-infused directly into it. 

If you plan on making cannabis cocktails on a regular basis, then infusing your own alcohol may be your best bet. 

To infuse alcohol you’ll need to following ingredients and tools:

  • 3-7 grams of decarboxylated cannabis 
  • 750ml bottle of liquor 
  • Cheesecloth 
  • Double boiler
  • Thermometer and timer 

This recipe was adapted from a Paste Magazine post

  1. Grind and wrap your decarboxylated cannabis in a small piece of cheesecloth and tie it up. Do not grind it too fine so it doesn’t seep out of the cloth. 
  2. Fill the bottom half of the double boiler about halfway with water and bring it to a boil and reduce heat to low.
  3. Pour the liquor of your choice into the top half of the double boiler and add in the decarboxylated weed, stir and cover. 
  4. Use your thermometer to keep a close eye on the liquid in the top boiler, which should not exceed 150-160ºF (65-71°C) and not come to a boil.
  5. Let the mixture infuse in the double boiler for 2-3 hours and then remove from heat. 
  6. Pour the alcohol infusion through a cheesecloth into a container and then use a funnel to pour the strained liquor back into the bottle.

Another very simple method is to let the decarboxylated cannabis steep for several hours in the liquor you plan to use. This is basically like making a cannabis tincture, and you should have better results with a higher proof alcohol. 

Basically, take the decarboxylated cannabis that you want to use and chop it up finely (but not too finely) and wrap it in a piece of cheesecloth. Place the cheesecloth wrapped cannabis in your bottle of liquor and let it sit for three days, shaking about once every 12 hours. After three days, strain through a cheesecloth and pour it back into the bottle. 

This method may leave your liquor tasting a little bit like plant material, but it should work nonetheless. 

Another effective, but arguably more complicated method is to use nitrous oxide to infuse your liquor, as you can see in this Buzzfeed article. This method entails using a heat-tolerant whipped-cream whipper and a nitrous oxide charger to carry out a rapid infusion. 

Read more about this method here

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5 classic cocktails you can make with weed-infused alcohol

The Gin and Chronic

  • 2 ounces of weed-infused gin 
  • About 6 ounces of tonic water 
  • One lime 
  1. Fill a chilled cocktail glass with ice
  2. Squeeze one lime over the ice and pour in the gin
  3. Stir well with a straw or spoon and add a lime wedge as garnish

The tart flavor of the lime is a must, but if it's too much you can consider using half a lime or just lime wedges as garnish. 

The Whiskey Sour Diesel 

  • 2 ounces weed-infused bourbon
  • 1 ounce freshly squeezed lime juice 
  • ¾ ounce simple syrup 
  • 1 egg white from a medium egg (optional)
  1. Pour liquor, lime juice, simple syrup and egg white into a cocktail shaker and shake it for a few seconds until everything is incorporated 
  2. Add ice and shake vigorously for several seconds 
  3. Strain into a cocktail glass and add a Luxardo maraschino cherry as garnish

The egg white is optional, but it does add that nice, frothy look and mouthfeel that people often associate with craft cocktails. 

The Moscow Weed Mule 

  • 2 ounces weed-infused vodka 
  • ½ ounce fresh-squeezed lime juice
  • 6 ounces of ginger beer 

A frosty, refreshing drink that’s perfect in the summer or winter, the Moscow Mule is not named after a weed mule as far as we know, but it still gets the job done. 

  1. Fill a copper mug or glass tumbler with ice and squeeze in lime juice 
  2. Pour in weed-infused vodka and fill the rest of the glass with cold ginger beer 

Keep one slice of lime as a garnish at the top. 

The Mota Margarita 

  • 2 ounces weed-infused tequila blanco 
  • 1 ounce orange liquor (Cointreau or Grand Marnier)
  • 1 ounce freshly squeezed lime juice 
  • Salt or Tajin for garnish  
  1. In a cocktail shaker filled with ice, combine the tequila, orange liqueur and lime juice and shake
  2. Take a margarita glass and moisten the rim with lime juice and holding it upside down, roll the rim in some salt or Tajin for a zestier flavor and appearance 
  3. Strain the shaker into the cocktail glass and serve immediately 

The Old Fashioned Weed Head

  • 2 ounces weed-infused rye whiskey or bourbon
  • ½ tsp sugar
  • 1 tsp water 
  • 2-3 dashes of angostura bitters 
  • One orange peel 
  1. Add the sugar and bitters to a lowball glass and stir with the teaspoon of water 
  2. Fill glass with 2-3 large ice cubes and pour in the weed-infused liquor and gently stir
  3. Take an orange peel and wipe a little on the rim of the glass, squeeze it over the drink, toss it in, and stir. 

An optional garnish that works great is a genuine Luxardo maraschino cherry. 

How much weed and dosing guidance

When it comes to both alcohol and cannabis it is very important to know your limits. This can be especially true when you’re combining the two. Also, with delicious cocktails, it can be hard to stop after one, which can get you into some trouble, especially if those cocktails have some THC in them as well.

Your best bet is to try one cannabis cocktail and wait an hour or so to gauge the effects. In the meantime, you can quench your thirst with a non-THC cocktail, a beer, or just stay hydrated with some water, which may help you stave off the hangover and cottonmouth.

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