Bartender Sarah Turbett, a star in the mixology world, has been thinking about the opportunity for the bar scene to serve a wider array of concoctions designed to deliver more nuanced effects than alcohol alone for several years. As it turns out, that future is alive and well in her advanced cocktail world and could be just around the riverbend for the rest of us.
Turbett says she started adding CBD to cocktails at home well before taking her recipes out into the bar world. “I personally feel like CBD elevates that ‘feel good’ sensation you get from a drink, and with the added benefits of reducing stress, anxiety and inflammation, it seemed like a no-brainer to incorporate it into a drink,” she says.
Her next-level CBD craft cocktail recipes are standouts in Nashville’s famous bar scene. Turbett’s made her mark on several top-tier bar menus and is now bringing her talents to Wilburn Street Tavern and a honky tonk called Ole Red while being on the board of the Nashville Bartenders Guild, freelancing as a bar consultant and launching her own company, Saatuurn Cocktails.
Turbett shares some of her expert tips for making your own CBD-infused cocktails at home. The first rule is balance.
“Making sure that CBD plays its role without overpowering the flavor or texture of a drink is important,” she said.
Turbett advises starting with small amounts: typically, 5mg if using powder or oil, or 3mg for a mist or spray. When serving to others, always disclose the presence of CBD in the drink, especially full-spectrum CBD, which contains trace amounts of THC. Another important fact Turbett shares is that “large amounts of alcohol paired with large amounts of CBD can amplify the effects of each other and can lead to motor impairment, not to be confused with getting you high.”
The mixologist has tried isolates in oils, powders and sprays and says they all have their merits. She now prefers oils for CBD cocktails. Though a challenge to blend directly into a drink, oils can be “wonderfully mixed into different flavor bitters, or even used as a functional garnish,” Turbett said, adding that powders will change the texture of alcohol, but “can be great in a foam or shaken in small amounts.” Sprays are more subtle, but “are fun for aromatic use.”
And as for the future of the bar scene, she’s certain about the direction it should take. “I’d absolutely love to see more bars using CBD in their drinks, not just as an additive to their current cocktails, but as a highlighted ingredient, or even as a substitute for alcohol,” Turbett says. Even THC cocktails are arriving on the scene in some adult-use markets. She says there are quite a few bartenders infusing liquor with THC or adding THC to their drinks, but she’s “particularly excited about THC cocktails as part of the mocktail or no ABV movement.”
CBD Highball Recipes
Two of Turbett’s recipes that include CBD-infused orange bitters:
Get your favorite CBD oil (flavored if you can find it) and combine 4:1 bitters to CBD oil. Glycerin-based bitters blend easier than water/alcohol-based bitters.
Stir gin (Turbett recommends The Botanist or Uncle Val’s), vermouth, CBD-infused orange bitters and ice together for 10-15 seconds or until very cold.
Strain into a chilled martini glass.
Garnish with lemon twist and a small drop of CBD orange bitters.
Stir whiskey (Turbett recommends Angel’s Envy Bourbon or Dickel 12 Yr.), simple syrup, decanter bitters and CBD-infused orange bitters, and ice together for 10-15 seconds or until very cold.
Strain into a rocks glass over one large ice cube.
Garnish with an orange twist and a Luxardo maraschino cherry.
This story was originally published in the print edition of Cannabis Now.