Experiment with cannabis’ most famous nonintoxicating compound. Find out more at Liquor.com. Make yourself a tall glass of CBD Spritz. This refreshing aperitif is topped with CBD-infused sparkling citrus soda. Here's what CBD cocktails did to me, anyway.
3 Simple CBD Cocktails Anyone Can Make
Janelle Lassalle is a writer, content creator and brand strategist specializing in the cannabis industry. She also covers food, drinks and travel.
Are you CBD-curious? Making your own CBD cocktails is a fun, easy way to experiment with cannabis’ most famous nonintoxicating compound. Nowadays, grocery stores like Portland, Ore.’s New Seasons even carry CBD products, so you don’t have to venture into a dispensary. And the best part? You can play with alcoholic and nonalcoholic versions of drinks.
There are many ways to incorporate CBD into your drink. One way is to create your own CBD simple syrup. Other popular methods include floating CBD oil on top of your cocktail or using premade CBD tonics to whip drinks up with. These are three recipes representing three different ways to infuse CBD into your drink.
CBD Moscow Mule
CBD is very earthy, which can make it tricky to pair with other ingredients. Luckily, the freshness of ginger complements it perfectly. Throwing some much needed citrus into the mix evens out the whole ensemble, which is why a Moscow Mule is a great CBD drink pairing. The end result is a cocktail that’s refreshing, easy on the stomach and ideal for minimizing next-day hangovers.
CBD Dirty Martini
One of the first—and some would argue, most polarizing—forms of CBD cocktails to emerge was the CBD float. Popularized by innovative bartenders, floating CBD oil works best when it’s paired with strong acidic flavors that cut through its piney tones. The olive brine in this CBD version of a Dirty Martini does the job nicely. Using raw CBD oil rather than a syrup also ensures you’re getting the maximum flavor (and any terpenes) from the CBD as it has been minimally processed or heated.
CBD Gin & Tonic
Who doesn’t love a classic Gin & Tonic? The two-ingredient dynamo is also an ideal complement for CBD’s funky notes. Experiment with different gins to see what works best for you, but an especially citrusy selection like Tanqueray Rangpur gin does a good job of taming CBD’s bold tones.
This recipe uses a premade CBD elixir. You can also use CBD-infused water, which you can find online. Look for products with at least 10 milligrams of CBD to feel any effects, though 25 milligrams seem to be an ideal dose. Be sure to keep in mind that CBD can take up to two hours to take full effect.
Liquor.com has been serving drinks enthusiasts and industry professionals since 2009. Our writers are some of the most respected in the industry, and our recipes are contributed by bartenders who form a veritable “Who’s Who” of the cocktail world.
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As bartenders and enthusiasts experiment with cocktails, it’s only natural that certain food and wellness trends find their way into those drinks. Such experimentation has given way to turmeric cocktails, low-alcohol drinks, hard seltzers and even CBD, a nonintoxicating compound in cannabis.
There are many ways to incorporate CBD into your drink, like dosing it with a dropper of CBD oil, creating your own CBD-infused simple syrup or topping your cocktail with a CBD tonic or soda. The CBD Spritz goes the latter route, calling upon Sprig’s CBD-infused zero-sugar sparkling citrus soda. This made-in-California soda is light and refreshing, and one can features 20 milligrams of all-natural CBD derived from hemp. It does not contain THC, so it’s meant to provide marijuana’s therapeutic benefits without the stony side effects.
You could drink the soda on its own, of course, but using it in cocktails is a fun way to combine CBD with your favorite spirits. The CBD Spritz starts with vodka and Aperol, the bittersweet Italian aperitif that’s best known for its use in the Aperol Spritz, which also features prosecco and club soda. The vodka adds a bit more punch to the drink, while sparkling wine is used in equal parts with the CBD soda, giving the cocktail an extra slug of dry effervescence. A grapefruit slice garnish complements the soda’s citrusy character and channels the Aperol Spritz’s orange slice.
Whether enjoyed on a sunny patio or sipped on your couch as you wind down after a long week, the CBD Spritz is a cold glass of relaxation.
How Drinking CBD Cocktails Really Makes You Feel
When it comes to drinking and drugs, I’ve always been a bit of a lightweight. So when I heard that CBD cocktails were “a thing,” despite knowing that CBD wouldn’t actually get me high, I was a little spooked by the prospect of combining a weed-derived substance with booze, mostly for fear of some kind of overbaked result. Would I get totally lit and need to take a nap at the bar, or would I be really calm and focused but also social and fun?
A non-psychoactive chemical found in both cannabis and hemp plants, CBD (cannabidiol) acts as an anti-inflammatory and sedative, without the trippy effects of THC. While popular for years in health circles, it’s recently become the wellness ingredient du jour, appearing in coffee drinks and plant-based dinners. But CBD is more than just this year’s turmeric latte—numerous studies have suggested that it could have serious medical benefits for dozens of chronic conditions. So what happens when you pair this miracle antioxidant with an arguably inflammatory substance like alcohol? And, more importantly, why would you?
At Bar Belly on the Lower East Side, customers can elect to add a spritz of CBD oil to any cocktail for $2. At New York’s Narcbar, the sidewalk-facing restaurant/bar within The Standard East Village, you can order a $14 Matcha Haze, made with gin, mezcal, matcha, lemon, egg white and CBD oil sprayed on top in the design of a cannabis leaf. “Guests were requesting CBD and wanted to add it to just about everything—juice, tea, coffee, cocktails,” said Regional Beverage Director, Ashley Santoro. The .05mg of CBD that sat atop a frothy egg white float gave me a pretty decent buzz, counteracted somewhat by the lift I got from the matcha syrup.
Narcbar’s Matcha Haze, made with gin, mezcal, matcha, lemon, egg white and CBD oil sprayed on top
Photo by Alex Lau
A chic new underground cocktail bar in Chinatown, Peachy’s, plays with herbs and supplements like astragalus, spirulina, and chlorella in cocktails. Co-owner Eddy Buckingham plans to add drops of a CBD tincture called Daily Dose to their cocktail, the $18 Jade Fizz (like a gin fizz, but with bok choy extract and moringa powder). This one hit me a bit harder—there was a heaviness but not a headiness. It’s the first wave of sedation you get from being stoned without that “delay effect”—there’s no real disruption of your own spatial awareness. I felt buzzed from the alcohol, but the CBD added a grounding quality; I felt ultra-calm in the best way.
To the delight of stoners everywhere, we are hard-wired to crave cannabis products. “We all have endocannabinoid receptors in our bodies already, and cannabinoids [a class of chemicals found in CBD and other cannabis products] also occur naturally in substances like breast milk,” said Cannabis guru and advocate Sailene Ossman (who once ran a famous no-name delivery service in LA). She believes that CBD helps return balance to the body, regulating inflammation, soothing anxiety and more. Ossman, who is firmly anti-alcohol, has never combined CBD with booze, but frequently serves it in mocktails (she often hosts parties and events using cannabis products). “It’s more placebo effect with CBD than anything, I think.”
In the concentrations and concoctions it’s being mixed with, CBD is likely having very little medicinal effect, but it could be just enough to cut the wave of anxiety you can often get immediately after downing a cocktail (dehydration can trigger anxiety-like symptoms). Kathleen Schaffer, owner and creative director of an LA-based events company who has played with CBD in different recipes said, “Scientifically speaking, the bioavailability in ingesting CBD is pretty low. Using it intravenously or under the tongue is most effective for now, depending on the tincture concentration.”
After my mini CBD bar crawl, the next day I awoke with a pretty strong case of munchies (the hole-in-the-stomach kind I used to get after bong hits in college), but other than that, not much of a hangover to speak of (no throbbing head, no dry mouth). Was it all in my head? The CBD had done very little to alter my state of mind, but I definitely felt different than I typically do after a night of moderate drinking. It seemed to ease the edges of my usual hangover, and I felt a little less dehydrated, a little more grounded. I’d had nothing to fear and only good vibes to gain from mixing my booze with a dash of green.