It’s entirely likely you or someone you know has made the unfortunate and all-too-easy party blunder of imbibing too much alcohol and then adding cannabis to the mix. What seems like a natural social combination of a few drinks and a few joints can quickly turn into nauseous, seemingly unending awfulness. The effects of both cannabis and alcohol can creep up on you unexpectedly, as your body interacts with the intake of chemicals at different speeds. I’ve certainly questioned on many a dark morning the plausibility of ever combining the two reliably, under any circumstances. The jury’s still out.
In the meantime, I can report firsthand that enjoying the two individually is the best plan. To take it even further, you can replace an alcoholic beverage with cannabis-infused mocktails, which is beneficial to your body, as opposed to the known havoc wreaked by alcohol. Instead of drinking a numbing poison for kicks, there is now the option of enjoying a plant that has been used throughout recorded civilization as a holistic natural medicine.
The question is, however, how can you enjoy cannabis consumption as innocuously and acceptably as drinking an alcoholic beverage?
Welcome to the world of “mocktails”: cannabis-infused drinks that are a delicious, effective and subtle alternative to an alcoholic beverage. Take extra care when drinking cannabis, as liquids are processed more quickly by your body than edibles, so you may feel the effects in as little as 10-20 minutes. Let it ride for at least 45-90 minutes before drinking more, to be on the safe side.
Remember: you can always drink more, but you cannot go back in time and drink less.
Luckily, it’s impossible to overdose on cannabis, but the effects can be unpleasant and overwhelming if too much is consumed for your personal tolerance.
Here’s a cannabis-infused simple syrup recipe to use as a base ingredient for your own homemade cannabis mocktail creations. It does take some time and patience, but is well worth the effort:
Cannabis-Infused Lemon Simple Syrup Recipe
1 cup filtered water
1 cup sugar
12 drops cold-pressed essential lemon oil
2 teaspoons corn syrup
1/2 gram cannabis BHO concentrate
1/2 gram (1 teaspoon) sunflower liquid lecithin (found in health food stores)
- Bring the cup of filtered water to a simmer. Add one cup of sugar (tip: slightly dampening the sugar before adding it to the simmering water will help the crystals incorporate more smoothly), 2-3 drops of essential lemon oil and 1 tsp of corn syrup. Take care not to boil the mixture, as that will alter the ratio of water-to-sugar in the syrup through evaporation.
- Loosely cover the saucepan with a lid, and bring the syrup mix to a simmer for 5 minutes. Do not stir, as the sugar may crystallize easily at this stage with the introduction of any foreign particulates. Set it aside to cool slightly during the next step.
- Heat cannabis concentrate to a steady 250º F degrees in a glass or stainless steel dish that will be big enough to later accommodate the addition of 1 cup of syrup.
- Continue to heat the concentrate until bubbles have stopped at maximum bubble formation, about 5 minutes. Temperatures of stoves and other variables make this step extremely unpredictable; the best way to gauge the correct time is visually. Stir the concentrate slightly with a bamboo skewer while heating to ensure even decarboxylation.
- Thin the cannabis oil with 10 drops of essential lemon oil and 1 tsp corn syrup. Mix thoroughly.
- Add 1 tsp sunflower liquid lecithin to the cannabis oil mixture. Stir thoroughly while heating at 175º F for 5 minutes. Remove from heat.
- Quickly add the 1 cup of simple syrup to the warm cannabis oil mixture, stirring vigorously to incorporate the oil mixture into the syrup.
- Heat the syrup to 160º F. Using a wet pastry brush to keep sides free of crystals, keep an eye on the mixture and stir with a very clean whisk periodically to break up the foam. This is the most difficult step, as it can take up to 3 hours for the oil to be fully dissolved. Patience and low heat are key to the success of this emulsion while avoiding the further decarboxylation of the cannabis oil.
- When the oil has dissipated to a sheen of droplets, remove the syrup from the heat and cool slightly before stirring. Stir vigorously and steadily with a clean whisk.
- Pour the now infused-syrup into an air-tight container. (Tip: Use a spatula to ensure you fully scrape the sides of all the infused goodness.)
- Label clearly, and store up to one week in a dark, cool place. If the infused syrup does separate or crystallize, don’t worry, it can easily be mixed up again by simply stirring, and can be reheated gently, as needed.
Dosage: If your BHO potency is 70 percent THC (700 mg), one half-gram would then contain around 350 mg THC. With 16 tablespoons in each cup of infused syrup, a single tablespoon would contain approximately 22 mg of THC.
Three Cannabis-Infused Mocktail Recipes
Rosemary, Cucumber & Cannabis Ginger Beer Recipe
1 liter (4 cups) of ginger beer
1/2 cup cannabis-infused lemon simple syrup
1 cucumber, sliced
2 sprigs of rosemary, slightly crushed
Ice, extra rosemary sprigs and a fresh cannabis fan leaf for garnish, if available
makes 4 servings at a 44 mg dose per mocktail
- Add all the ingredients into a jug and stir.
- Cover and refrigerate for between 2-4 hours.
- Serve over ice, and garnish with extra rosemary sprigs and a fan leaf or two. Share and enjoy!
Cannabis-Infused Mojito Mocktail Recipe
5-6 mint leaves
2 tbsp fresh lime juice (juice from approximately half of a medium/large lime)
2 tbsp cannabis-infused lemon simple syrup
½ cup ice
1/2 cup club soda or sparkling mineral water
makes 1 serving at a 44 mg dose
- Muddle 3 of the mint leaves and the lime juice in the bottom of your glass.
- Add 2 tablespoons canna-infused lemon simple syrup, the club soda or sparkling water, and the rest of the mint leaves.
- Stir to mix thoroughly. Add ice and enjoy!
Thai Basil & Lime Cannabis-Infused Mocktail Recipe
1/2 lime, sliced into 4 lime wedges
A small handful of fresh Thai basil
2 tablespoons cannabis-infused lemon simple syrup
1 cup club soda or sparkling water, plus more to top off
1 cup ice
Lemongrass stalks, trimmed (optional, to use as stir sticks)
Cannabis leaves for garnish, if available
makes 2 servings at a 22 mg dose per mocktail
- Muddle the basil with the lemon cannabis simple syrup in a serving glass.
- Add the club soda or sparkling water, and stir until well mixed.
- Add the ice and lemongrass stalks. Top off with club soda or sparkling water and a slice of lime. Share and enjoy!
Originally published in the print edition of Cannabis Now.