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LA Gets Psyched (Not Psychoactive) About CBD Cocktails

Otium’s Pineapple Express with Sipsmith gin, pineapple Campari and H. Hemp Company coconut CBD oil. (photo by Caroline Hollingsworth)

Cannabis in your cocktail? It’s a thing. Bartenders are mixing CBD and terpenes — the compounds in marijuana that don’t get you high — with mezcal, gin, scotch, cachaça and pretty much every other kind of booze to create drinks like the Stoney Negroni and the Rolled Fashioned.

Here in Los Angeles, Jason Eisner kicked off the trend in 2016 at Mexican vegan restaurant Gracias Madre. For him, it wasn’t a gimmick. It was a way to educate people about the health benefits of cannabidiol… while giving them a full-body buzz. The legalization of recreational marijuana means more bartenders have hopped on the bandwagon.

Although CBD doesn’t have the mind-altering effects of THC, you definitely need to be aware of how much you drink. And when I say “you” I mean “me.”

After baby sips of three Gracias Madre drinks, I felt as if I’d downed two full cocktails. But not in a falling-down drunk way, just feeling soooooo gooood and — bonus! — without the telltale signs of an impending hangover. Some people claim CBD can even soothe the downsides of drinking too much alcohol.

Want to experience the hottest trend in booze? Here’s where to go.

The Nice Dreams cocktail at Employees Only is made with date-infused mezcal, amaro, matcha, lemon, aquafaba and CBD. (Photo by Caroline Pardilla)

Employees Only LA 

Like In & Out’s animal style fries or its 4×4 burger, Nice Dreams isn’t on the menu but if you know what’s up, you can order this secret concoction — and look ridiculously insidery while doing it. Bar manager Dee Ann Quinones’ adds CBD oil to mezcal for a subtly smoky and giggle-inducing drink.

Bluebird Brasserie’s Gentle Monk with Citadelle gin, bergamot liqueur, Cocchi Rosa Americano, CBD, lemon, orange, aquafaba and St. George Absinthe. (Photo by Bluebird Brasserie)

Bluebird Brasserie

Although the Belgian pub in Sherman Oaks is best known for its beer, assistant GM Lisanne Magnus fell in love with the flavors and homeopathic benefits of CBD. “CBD heightens feelings of relaxation and euphoria. Why wouldn’t I want to add it to a cocktail?” she says. In the Gentle Monk, she mixes gin with a CBD alcohol-based tincture, which integrates into a cocktail better than an oil.

Two cocktails at The Flats: Doctor’s Orders with scotch, lemon, ginger syrup, CBD sugar elixir and ‘Tween Normandie & Western with Singani 63, lemon, egg white, Angostura and CBD sugar elixir. (Photo by Pete Capella)

The Flats

Instead of dropping CBD oil into a cocktail shaker, beverage director Pete Capella cooks it in a burned sugar syrup, which gives drinks a richer, smoother flavor. He serves CBD’d takes on classic drinks like the Pisco Sour and Penicillin.

Broken Shaker’s Pirate’s Gold with cachaça, yellow chartreuse, avocado pit orgeat, germanium and thyme, lime juice and Gold Flora CBD oil. (Photo by Christine Wiseman)

Broken Shaker at the Freehand Hotel 

You’re on the Freehand’s roof, at its poolside bar, already entranced by the view of the downtown L.A. skyline. But you can still get higher. “I like to use CBD in cocktails, especially on the roof, because it’s all about adding to the vibe that you are feeling up there,” says bartender Christine Wiseman. Her Pirate’s Gold is a mix of cachaça and mood-lifting Gold Flora CBD oil.

Gracias Madre’s Stoned Fruit with black plum, yuzu, apricot liqueur, orange aperitif, cannabinoid, mezcal. (photo by Brennan Woo) 

Gracias Madre 

If you haven’t tried Jason Eisner’s OG pot cocktails, do it ASAP. The Stoney Negroni and Rolled Fashioned are coming off the menu in the next couple of months. Fortunately, the uber-popular Sour T-iesel will stick around along with bar director Maxwell Reis’s CBD-laced mezcal concoctions, the Stoned Fruit and Alternative Medicina.

To Read The Rest Of This Article By Caroline on Crack, Food on LAist

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Published: June 18, 2018

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