It is very likely that you or someone you know made the unfortunate and all-too-simple party mistake of drinking too much alcohol and then adding cannabis to the mix. What looks like a natural social combo of a few drinks and a few joints can quickly turn into nausea and seemingly endless horror. The effects of cannabis and alcohol can affect you unexpectedly as your body interacts with the absorption of chemicals at different rates. On many dark mornings, I have certainly questioned the plausibility of ever reliably combining the two under all circumstances. The jury is still not there.
In the meantime, I can report firsthand that the best plan is to enjoy the two individually. To go even further, you can replace an alcoholic drink with mocktails infused with cannabis, which is beneficial to your body as opposed to the familiar mess that alcohol creates. Instead of drinking a numbing poison for kicks, there is now an option to enjoy a plant that has been used as holistic natural medicine throughout recorded civilization.
The question, however, is how can you enjoy cannabis use as harmlessly and acceptably as drinking an alcoholic beverage.
Welcome to the world of “mocktails”: cannabis-infused beverages that are a delicious, effective and subtle alternative to an alcoholic beverage. Take extra care when drinking cannabis, as liquids are processed faster by your body than food, so you can feel the effects in just 10 to 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 can’t go back in time and drink less.
Fortunately, it’s impossible to overdose on cannabis, but the effects can be uncomfortable and overwhelming if consumed too much for your personal tolerance.
Here is a simple cannabis-infused syrup recipe that you can use as a basic ingredient in your own homemade cannabis cocktail creations. It takes some time and patience, but it’s worth the effort:
Cannabis Infused Lemon Easy Syrup Recipe
1 cup of filtered water
1 cup of sugar
12 drops of cold-pressed lemon essential oil
2 teaspoons of corn syrup
1/2 gram of cannabis BHO concentrate
1/2 gram (1 teaspoon) liquid sunflower lecithin (available in health food stores)
- Bring the cup of filtered water to a boil. Add a cup of sugar (tip: moisten the sugar lightly before adding it to the boiling water to help the crystals work in), 2-3 drops of lemon essential oil, and 1 teaspoon corn syrup. Be careful not to boil the mixture as this will change the water to sugar ratio in the syrup through evaporation.
- Cover the saucepan loosely with a lid and bring the syrup mixture to a boil for 5 minutes. Do not stir, as the sugar can easily crystallize at this stage with the introduction of foreign particles. Set it aside to cool slightly in the next step.
- In a glass or stainless steel bowl large enough to hold the addition of 1 cup of syrup later, heat the cannabis concentrate to a constant 250ºF degrees.
- Continue heating the concentrate until the bubbles stop at maximum bubble formation (approx. 5 minutes). Oven temperatures and other variables make this step extremely unpredictable. The best way to measure the right time is visually. Gently stir the concentrate with a bamboo skewer while heating to ensure even decarboxylation.
- Dilute the cannabis oil with 10 drops of lemon essential oil and 1 teaspoon corn syrup. Mix thoroughly.
- Add 1 teaspoon of liquid sunflower lecithin to the cannabis oil mixture. Stir thoroughly while heating at 175ºF for 5 minutes. Take it off the stove.
- Quickly add the 1 cup simple syrup to the warm cannabis oil mixture and stir vigorously to incorporate the oil mixture into the syrup.
- Heat the syrup to 160º F. Using a damp pastry brush to keep the sides free of crystals, keep an eye on the mixture and stir regularly with a very clean whisk to break up the foam. This is the most difficult step as it can take up to 3 hours for the oil to completely dissolve. Patience and low heat are keys to this emulsion’s success while avoiding further decarboxylation of the cannabis oil.
- When the oil has dissolved to a glimmer of droplets, remove the syrup from the stove and let it cool slightly before stirring. Stir vigorously and evenly with a clean whisk.
- Pour the now infused syrup into an airtight container. (Tip: use a spatula to make sure you completely scrape the sides of any infused goodness.)
- Write on the label clearly and store in a dark, cool place for up to a week. If the infused syrup does precipitate or crystallize, don’t worry, it can be easily remixed by simply stirring and easily reheated if needed.
Dosage: If your BHO potency is 70 percent THC (700 mg), half a gram would contain around 350 mg of THC. With 16 tablespoons in each cup of infused syrup, a single tablespoon would contain approximately 22 mg of THC.
Three mocktail recipes infused with cannabis
Rosemary, Cucumber & Cannabis Ginger Beer Recipe
1 liter (4 cups) ginger beer
1/2 cup cannabis-infused plain lemon syrup
1 cucumber, sliced
2 sprigs of rosemary, lightly chopped
Ice cream, extra sprigs of rosemary, and a fresh cannabis fan leaf to garnish, if available
makes 4 servings at a dose of 44 mg per cocktail
- Put all ingredients in a jug and stir.
- Cover and store in the refrigerator for between 2-4 hours.
- Serve over ice and garnish with additional sprigs of rosemary and a fan or two. Share and enjoy!
Cannabis Infused Mojito Cocktail Recipe
5-6 mint leaves
2 tbsp fresh lime juice (juice from about half of a medium / large lime)
2 tbsp cannabis-infused lemon syrup
½ cup of ice
1/2 cup of lemonade or mineral water
makes 1 serving at a dose of 44 mg
- Mix 3 of the mint leaves and the lime juice on the bottom of your glass.
- Add 2 tablespoons of lemon-infused lemon 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, cut into 4 lime wedges
A small handful of fresh Thai basil
2 tablespoons of cannabis-infused plain lemon syrup
1 cup of lemonade or mineral water plus more to fill up
1 cup of ice
Lemongrass stalks, trimmed (optional, can be used as stir sticks)
Cannabis leaves for garnish if available
makes 2 servings at a dose of 22 mg per cocktail
- Mix the basil with the simple lemon cannabis syrup in a serving glass.
- Add the club soda or sparkling water and stir until well mixed.
- Add the ice cream and lemongrass stalks. Top up with lemonade or sparkling water and a slice of lime. Share and enjoy!
Originally published in the print edition of Cannabis Now.