Cannabis-infused drinks offer alcohol-free alternative
By Jennifer Huberdeau
Looking for a drink that’s alcohol-free but still provides a buzz?
If you are, you’re not alone.
A growing number of younger Americans — according to a 2018 Berenberg Research survey of 6,000 Gen Zers, those born between 1997 and 2012 — are forgoing the next-day hangovers, calories and carbs associated with the consumption of beer.
At the same time, Bloomberg.com reports that Gen Zers of legal purchasing age are twice as likely to purchase cannabis than the average American.
“A lot of cannabis users don’t partake in the use of alcohol,” said Brittany Pufhal, marketing manager at Berkshire Roots in Pittsfield.
But, she said, many cannabis customers still want to be able to socialize comfortably with friends who do drink alcoholic beverages.
Cannabis-infused mocktails, she said, are a fun way for THC users to be able to socialize, in the privacy of their own homes, with friends who do drink.
“They can join in the fun in their own way,” Pufhal said.
For those wanting to try a cannabis-infused mocktail, or those looking for a new recipe, Berkshire Roots, a marijuana dispensary and lifestyle brand, is sharing recipes, developed in its test kitchen, via berkshireroots.com/recipes.
“They’re all nonalcoholic, as we don’t encourage the use of them together,” Pufhal said. “We started sharing the mocktail recipes around the holidays. We basically started with a seasonal theme.”
Winter sangria, an infused hot toddy and a pomegranate mulled cider are a few of the seasonal offerings.
“The sangria is really, really refreshing. I also love anything with grapefruit in it,” Pufhal said. “The pomegranate mulled cider is also really great.”
Other drink recipes on the site are more traditional, such as a White Russian, a ginger beer mojito and lavender lemonade.
In anticipation of cannabis cooking classes that are in the works, the website also offers cannabis-infused food recipes for canna butter and cinnamon rolls.
In addition, CBD oil can be used in place of the THC tinctures in all of the recipes.
“You won’t experience the euphoria associated with the cannabis, but will experience the relaxation and calmness experienced with CBD oils,” she said.
But, Pufhal, cautioned, those new to cannabis-infused mocktails should approach them with care.
“In the recipes, we don’t instruct you on how much tincture to use. It’s all based on your personal dosing. It’s really up to the user as to the amount, as it is with all our products,” she said.
She cautioned that the cannabis-infused drinks act just like any cannabis edible or alcoholic drink.
“Just like alcohol affects people differently, so does cannabis. What you ate that day is going to impact the effect,” Pufhal said. “For some people, it could take up to two hours to feel the euphoric effects.”
Safety and caution are always a priority.
“The Cannabis Control Commission says that if you feel different, you drive different. You have to treat cannabis like you would alcohol when it comes to driving,” she said.
Cannabis-Infused recipes from the test kitchens at Berkshire Roots
Readers are reminded that recreational cannabis, in Massachusetts, can only legally be consumed in private homes. Public consumption of cannabis, regardless of its form, is still illegal.
UpCountry Magazine reminds readers to consume cannabis in a responsible manner. It can take up to two hours to feel the effect of cannabis-infused drinks.
- 1 gram of your preferred cannabis flower
- Loose-leaf tea
- Flavor additives: lemon, mint, etc.
- 1/2 cup of boiling water
- Tea steeper
- Baking sheet
- Weed grinder
- Parchment paper
- Preheat oven to 325 F. Decarboxylate the cannabis to activate THC and other cannabinoids. To do this, grind 1 gram of cannabis flower in the grinder, then line the baking sheet with parchment paper. Sprinkle the ground cannabis across the middle of the lined pan. Bake in oven for 35 minutes.
- When cool, fill tea steeper with loose-leaf tea and decarboxylated cannabis. Fill small teapot with water and bring to a rolling boil. Place tea steeper in mug and pour hot water over the tea steeper. Let steep for 5 minutes, then remove. Add desired amounts of sugar, milk, honey or cream.
BERKSHIRE ROOTS CANNA BUTTER
- 1/4 ounce (7 grams) decarboxylated cannabis flower
- 1 ½ cups (12 ounces) cold unsalted butter
- 2 cups (16 ounces) cold water
- Candy thermometer (optional)
- Fine-mesh strainer
- 1 quart (tall) deli container or measuring cup
- ½ pint (240 milliliters) glass Mason jar with tight-fitting lid
- Over medium heat, combine the cannabis, butter and water in a medium saucepan. Bring to just below boiling, about 200 F to 210 F, without stirring. Adjust the heat to low. Keep at a constant simmer for 4 hours. Use a rubber spatula to scrape down any bits of herb sticking to the sides of the pan. If the water in the pan starts to get low from evaporation, add 1 cup of hot water to prevent the mixture from burning. At the end of 4 hours, remove pan from heat and let cool for 10 minutes.
- Line a fine-mesh strainer with cheesecloth. Place strainer over a large bowl. Pour the cannabis butter mixture into the strainer, scraping the sides of the pan to ensure all butter and herb particles are captured. Use spatula or back of a ladle to press the butter mixture against the strainer, squeezing out all the liquid you can. Gather up the cheesecloth and give it another good press against the strainer to make sure as much liquid as possible has been removed. Discard debris in the cheesecloth.
- Pour the butter-water liquid into a tall container. Use a rubber spatula to scrape the bowl clean. Cover and refrigerate for 24 hours.
- Once the mixture cools, the butter and water will separate. Remove the butter block from the container and pat dry with a paper towel. You might have to cut around the edges or lightly push down on the sides to loosen it. (Don’t worry if your block breaks while pulling it out.) Use a small strainer to scoop up any remaining butter bits.
- On the bottom of the butter block, you will see a green film. Using the back of a knife, scrape off this film and toss it, along with the remaining water, down the drain. In a small pot, over low heat, melt the canna butter. Once melted, immediately turn off the heat and pour the butter into the glass Mason jar and seal the lid. Label the jar with the date and contents.
- Refrigerate for up to one month, or freeze for up to six months.
- 2 oranges, sliced
- 2 grapefruits, sliced
- 1 cup cranberries
- 16 ounces pomegranate juice
- 1 cup orange juice
- 2 chai tea bags
- Two 12-ounce cans grapefruit-flavored sparkling water
- Berkshire Roots Tincture, your choice of tincture and dosing
- Garnish: Anise stars, cinnamon sticks, fresh cranberries
- Preheat oven to 400 F. On a baking sheet, place sliced oranges, sliced grapefruit and cranberries. Bake for 30 to 40 minutes, or until cranberries burst and caramelize a bit. Meanwhile, boil pomegranate juice and orange juice. Once boiling, pour over chai tea bags and steep for 5 minutes. Remove tea bags. Add in caramelized fruit and let sit in the fridge for at least 2 hours or overnight.
- Fill a glass half-full of the sangria mix and fill the rest of the glass with grapefruit-flavored sparkling water and add in tincture. Garnish with anise stars, cinnamon sticks and fresh cranberries.
POMEGRANATE MULLED CIDER
- 8 ounces apple cider
- 1 ounce pure pomegranate juice
- 1 sprig fresh rosemary
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 1 star anise
- 1/4 teaspoon white peppercorns
- 1 green cardamom pod, crushed
- 1 whole clove
- 1/4 teaspoon whole peppercorns
- Your preferred Berkshire Roots tincture and dosing
Put the juices in a large pot or slow cooker. Add the rest of the ingredients and bring to a simmer. Turn down the heat and let steep for at least an hour. Strain before serving and adding in your preferred dose of Berkshire Roots tincture.
WHITE RUSSIAN MOCKTAIL
- 6 ounces coffee, brewed and chilled
- 2 ounces of milk, soy or other milk substitutes
- ¼ teaspoon vanilla extract
- Sweetener to taste
- Your preferred Berkshire Roots tincture and dosing
Brew and chill coffee. When chilled, stir coffee and all the ingredients together in a glass tumbler. Add ice cubes.
Jennifer Huberdeau is editor of UpCountry magazine. She also pens the column “Mysteries from the Morgue” for The Berkshire Eagle.