When West Hollywood vegan eatery Gracias Madre first introduced CBD cocktails to their beverage program in 2016, it was a risk. A big risk, considering the stigma of cannabis and the many unknowns surrounding the legality, perception, and applications of cannabidiol in Prohibition-era Los Angeles.

More than two years later, after the landmark legalization of recreational marijuana in January 2018, Gracias Madre is no longer the only restaurant offering cocktails that incorporate this non-psychoactive cannabis compound. Trailblazing bartenders up and down the state of California are rushing to embrace CBD as a way of making their cocktails unique, healthy, and hangover-free. CBD cocktails may not be on every bar menu—but according to some of the bartenders working with this cannabis oil, it could be in the future.

High Times spoke to six California bartenders using CBD behind the bar. Here’s what they had to say about venturing into the uncharted territory of cannabis-enhanced cocktails.

6 California Bartenders Talk CBD Cocktails and a New Era of Mixology for California

Courtesy of Otium

Chris Amirault
Otium (Downtown LA)
CBD cocktails: The Blue Dream, made with CBD oil, rum, curacao, lime, and vanilla, and the Pineapple Express, which pairs CBD oil with gin, pineapple Campari, and coconut.

Chris Amirault is the Bar Director at DTLA’s Otium, located next to The Broad Museum. Amirault’s cocktails first starting earning him recognition after he opened West Hollywood cocktail bar Harlowe in 2014; his work here earned Amirault inclusion on Zagat’s “30 Under 30” list and consulting projects with Idle Hour, Clifton’s Cafeteria, and Bar Tribute. At Otium, Amirault works with Chef Tim Hollingsworth to build whimsical, culinary-driven cocktails that use inventive flavors, textures, and ingredients—including CBD oil—to elevate and inspire modern twists on classic drink recipes.

“A lot of us [bar directors] used to be afraid to mess with CBD because of the stigma associated with ‘weed cocktails’ and not fully understanding what it was. Then January first hit and everyone I knew was hitting up the new stores for buds, edibles, pens… basically anything with cannabis in it. I think for me it showed that there wasn’t a lot of fear anymore surrounding cannabis. We’ve had at least two CBD cocktails on the menu since.

Already we are seeing CBD pairing dinners, terpenes, cooking with THC. Most of these chefs, bartenders, and creatives have been working on this stuff for years in secret, and now they’re unleashing their creations onto the population and people love it. I only see the role of cannabis-based products becoming more and more involved in kitchens and bars.”

6 California Bartenders Talk CBD Cocktails and a New Era of Mixology for California

Courtesy of Madison on Park

Danny Keuhner
Madison on Park (San Diego)
CBD cocktail: The Mr. Nice Guy—a tropical cocktail that combines CBD oil with mezcal, matcha, pineapple, coconut milk, and lime.

A San Diego restaurant veteran formerly of Blue Point and Single Fin, Bar Manager Danny Kuehner now helms the cocktail program at Madison on Park—a San Diego restaurant proving that the CBD oil trend goes beyond Los Angeles. Located in the University Heights neighborhood, Madison is known for its cedar wood design, Mediterranean plates, and cocktails—including the Mr. Nice Guy, Keuhner’s signature Tiki-inspired CBD cocktail. In fact, CBD is just another way in which Madison on Park, awarded ‘Best Design‘  and ‘Best Cocktails‘ in both 2017 and 2018 by San Diego Magazine, is helping to reshape the San Diego culinary landscape.

“Guests gravitate towards interesting ingredients; especially ones that are scientifically proven to be good for you. The smell of CBD or cannabis can be intensely nostalgic for some people. That’s the ultimate experience. I think it’s great to be able to offer customers more of the things they want as well as giving us more tools to utilize in creating lasting experiences.

In the future I see really talented people using CBD and cannabis-based products in new, interesting, and creative ways. It’s a very exciting time.”

6 California Bartenders Talk CBD Cocktails and a New Era of Mixology for California

Courtesy of Bluebird Brasserie

Lisanne Magnus
Bluebird Brasserie (Sherman Oaks)
CBD cocktail: The Gentle Monk, a Citadelle gin-based vegan cocktail inspired by both a vesper and a sour. The drink is made with Italicus, Cocchi Rosa Americano, lemon, orange, St. George absinthe, and CBD oil, and use aquafaba (chickpea brine) instead of egg white foam in order to keep the cocktail vegan.

Assistant General Manager Lisanne Magnus is in charge of the cocktail program at Bluebird Brasserie, a gastropub in Sherman Oaks opened in early 2018. Bluebird Brasserie is the latest project from Artisanal Brewers Collective, the same brand that opened local favorites like Mohawk Bend and The Stalking Horse and took over iconic mainstays like Tony’s Darts Away and Brennan’s Pub. Like every brewpub in the boutique collection, ABC’s Bluebird Brasserie has its own arsenal of secret weapons that help it stand apart—including Magnus’ signature CBD cocktail and go-to crowd-pleaser, The Gentle Monk. She

“The largest challenge [in using CBD for cocktails] is one we overcame quickly. When it comes to CBD, the most common form is via oil or edibles. As you know, oil and liquid don’t mix well together. The challenge we faced was how to use it in a cocktail and make sure the guest gets the full dosage. So, I started working with a company called Pride Wellness and their chemist was able to create an alcohol-based CBD tincture which mixes into liquid perfectly.

The benefit of working with CBD is its ability to enhance the flavor of cocktails and add a mood-enhancing effect to the drink. It decreases stress, anxiety, and depression and helps to prevent hangovers the following day. Not to mention having it in a cocktail at our bar offers a unique feature you can’t get at the next bar.”

6 California Bartenders Talk CBD Cocktails and a New Era of Mixology for California

Courtesy of Gracias Madre

Maxwell Reis
Gracias Madre (West Hollywood)
CBD cocktails: Guests can choose from the Sour T-iesel (the tequila and matcha-based original), the Alternative Medicina (a new addition), and the CBD Snowcone (a non-alcoholic option).

Maxwell Reis is the Beverage Director at vegan restaurant Gracias Madre in West Hollywood, one of the first establishments in the country to introduce CBD oil into cocktails; along with mixologist Jason Eisner, Reis helped kick off the CBD cocktail trend both in Los Angeles and nationwide in 2016. Since then, the restaurant has diversified and expanded its CBD oil cocktail selection, as Reis continues to experiment with new spirits, flavor combinations, and accoutrements. Thus, Gracias Madre not only helped start the CBD mixology revolution but continues to redefine what can be done with this non-psychoactive compound.

“Medical benefits aside, prior to marijuana’s recent recreational legalization here in CA, CBD was an important bridge to build between society and Marijuana in its many implementations. We wanted to create a dialogue about something we thought was important AND on the horizon, which I feel was a great success. In the end, it’s also just amazing to be a part of and on the right side of something new and exciting; to be on the forefront of massive positive change.

For now, CBD is new, it’s exciting, and people are adding it into everything they can! As CBD and THC become more popular though, the regulations that surround it will probably change. I know that if we want to continue to be a part of this movement, we have to tread intelligently and with respect. Even with exciting times and new freedoms, there can be no whimsical decisions. We’re making choices for tomorrow, not just today.”

6 California Bartenders Talk CBD Cocktails and a New Era of Mixology for California

Courtesy of Pattern Bar

Misael Villa
Pattern Bar (Downtown LA)
CBD cocktails: CBD oil can be added to any drink for $5, and is included in one seasonal featured cocktail. Currently, Pattern Bar is spotlighting the McQueen, a gin-based cocktail made with passionfruit and elderflower liqueur.

General Manager Misael Villa has worked in the restaurant and bar industry since he was 17—and although he now spends most of his time on business, the bar has a special place in his heart. Under his leadership, fashion-inspired Pattern Bar became the first DTLA establishment to serve CBD cocktails in 2017. Unlike other bars where CBD is pre-included in a specific cocktail or two, cannabis oil can be added to any drink on the menu—in fact, Villa has even had customers add it to water. In the crowded DTLA bar scene, CBD has become this Fashion District hotspot’s competitive advantage and most recognized menu feature.

“With CBD becoming so readily available, it only made sense to add it to one of our drinks. The benefits of working with CBD is that it creates a new conversation at the bar, both with the bar staff and with customers amongst each other. It excites people to speak about cannabis and CBD.

That being said and even though the legalization of marijuana has taken effect here in Los Angeles, it is still a very sensitive subject and not all laws behind it have been made clear. Once the negative connotations behind cannabis are forgotten I feel that more and more people will welcome products with open arms.”

6 California Bartenders Talk CBD Cocktails and a New Era of Mixology for California

Courtesy of Prank Bar

Dave Whitton
Prank Bar (Downtown LA)
Terpene cocktails: The Blue Hilaria, made with Johnnie Walker Black, fresh ginger root, honey, citrus, and myrcene terpene, and the Mon Frére, with plymouth gin, cocchi americano, limonene terpenes, and Regan’s orange bitters.

Dave Whitton has been a fixture of the Los Angeles cocktail community for more than 18 years, having bartended, managed, owned or consulted on projects including Seven Grand, Sunset Marquis Hotel, Villains Tavern, and Dodger Stadium before opening Prank Bar in 2017. Located on a corner in the DTLA South Park neighborhood, Prank Bar is LA’s first and only walk-up bar—and is known for serving up elevated bar food, live music, and terpenes. Rather than using CBD, Whitton employs the hydrocarbons found in the essential oils of plants including cannabis. In addition to being used in two specialty cocktails, terpenes are incorporated into select menu items and housemade kombuchas.

“I chose to start incorporating terpenes into our cocktails at Prank after learning about the wide range of health benefits. The main challenge is that terpenes have an extremely intense flavor profile. It has taken a lot of research and testing to determine each flavor profile, and how to blend it well with our cocktails and dishes.

Our whole goal at Prank is to educate our guests, and fellow industry professionals, on terpenes and cannabis products. There is so much information out there that people don’t know about, and destigmatizing cannabis-based products will allow for a wider use in the hospitality industry nationwide.”

The post 6 California Bartenders Talk CBD Cocktails and a New Era of Mixology for California appeared first on High Times.

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1. What is CBD? What is CBD Oil?

Cannabidiol (CBD) is a naturally occurring constituent of industrial hemp/cannabis. Its formula is C21H30O2 and it has a molecular mass of 314.4636. It is the most abundant non-psychoactive cannabinoid found in cannabis, and is being scientifically investigated for various reasons.

CBD oil is a cannabis oil (whether derived from marijuana or industrial hemp, as the word cannabis is the latin genus name for both) that has significant amounts of cannabidiol (CBD) contained within it. Our CBD products and extracts are derived from industrial hemp, so they could be considered CBD-rich hemp oil, hemp derived CBD oil, CBD-rich cannabis oil, or plainly “hemp extracts” since they typically contain much more than just CBD. Again, cannabis doesn’t mean marijuana, but is the genus name, and general umbrella term which all forms of marijuana and hemp fall under. The form of cannabis we use for our CBD and hemp extracts is industrial hemp; we do not sell marijuana.

2. If a hemp extract is 40% cannabinoids, what’s the other 60%? What’s in your hemp extracts besides the naturally occurring cannabinoids?

Our Kentucky hemp extracts contain over 80 different phyto-cannabinoids such as cannabidiol (CBD), CBC, CBG, CBN, etc.. In addition to the cannabinoids naturally present in our agricultural hemp extracts, there are also many other types of natural molecules and phyto-chemical compounds such as amino acids, carbohydrates, vitamins (including B1, B2, B6, D), fatty acids (including omega 3 & 6), trace minerals (including iron, zinc, calcium, magnesium, potassium), beta-carotene, chlorophyll, flavanoids, ketones, nitrogenous compounds, alkanes, glycosides, pigments, water, and terpenes. The most common terpenes in our hemp extracts are Myrcene, Beta-caryophyllene, Terpinolene, Linalool, alpha-Pinene, beta-Pinene, Nerolidol og Phytol, trans-alpha-Bergamotene, Limonene/ beta-Phellandrene (Co-elution), and alpha-Humulene.

3. What’s the difference between Hemp and Marijuana?

Scientifically, industrial Hemp and Marijuana are the same plant, with a genus and species name of Cannabis Sativa. They have a drastically different genetic profile though. Industrial Hemp is always a strain of Cannabis sativa, while marijuana can be Cannabis sativa, Cannabis indica, or Cannabis ruderalis. The major difference is how industrial hemp has been bred compared to a marijuana form of Cannabis sativa. organic hemp seedsTypically speaking, industrial hemp is very fibrous, with long strong stalks, and barely has any flowering buds, while a marijuana strain of Cannabis sativa will be smaller, bushier, and full of flowering buds. However, newer industrial hemp varieties in the USA are being bred to have more flowers and higher yields of cannabinoids and terpenes, such as our Kentucky hemp we’re now using!

99% of the time marijuana has a high amount of THC and only a very low amount of CBD. Hemp, on the other hand, naturally has a very high amount of CBD in most instances, and only a trace amount of THC. Fortunately, the cannabinoid profile of hemp is ideal for people looking for benefits from cannabis without the ‘high.’ Hemp is used for making herbal supplements, food, fiber, rope, paper, bricks, oil, natural plastic, and so much more, whereas marijuana is usually used just recreationally, spiritually, and medicinally. The term cannabis oil can refer to either a marijuana or hemp derived oil, since marijuana and hemp are two different forms of cannabis.

In the USA the legal definition of “industrial hemp,” per Section 7606 of the Agricultural Appropriations Act of 2014, is “INDUSTRIAL HEMP — The term ‘‘industrial hemp’’ means the plant Cannabis sativa L. and any part of such plant, whether growing or not, with a delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol concentration of not more than 0.3 percent on a dry weight basis.”

4. Are hemp derived cannabinoids such as CBD as good as CBD from marijuana?

The short answer is yes. CBD is CBD, whether from marijuana or hemp. Most marijuana has a very low non-psychoactive cannabinoid profile (like CBD, CBC, CBG), so most of the time hemp would be much more preferable for anything besides THC. Marijuana is usually very high in THC (gives people the high) but usually very low in other non-psychoactive cannabinoids.

Nowadays in the USA, many farmers are growing industrial hemp flowers that are just as beautiful, odor-producing, and terpene rich as the best marijuana strains, such as our partnered farmers in Kentucky.

5. Why don’t you source your Hemp and CBD from within Colorado?

colorado growing operationWe feel that the hemp program in Kentucky is more well suited for our company in regards to growing hemp, and that because it’s 100% compliant with Section 7606 of the 2014 Farm Bill (and the 2016 Agricultural Appropriations Act), procuring it from there is perfectly legal at the federal level. Kentucky’s ecology is perfect for hemp just as it is for tobacco. The growing season is longer than in Colorado, and the soil is richer, so the quality of the hemp and the yields are better.

6. What’s the percentage of cannabinoids and CBD in your product?

Our raw extracts have varying percentages of cannabinoid and cannabidiol (CBD) content, the range being 10%-99%. Each product has a unique formulation and uses varying ratios of our extract types. Our CBD Isolate is over 99% pure CBD.

7. What is the best method of use?

For our dietary supplements we can only recommend them for internal consumption. Our CBD isolate is for research purposes only. If you don’t like the flavor of the oil supplements, you can mix with something sweet like apple sauce or honey to cut through the flavor.

8. What’s the ideal serving size for me, and how often should I take it?

There is no easy answer to this. Our starting recommended serving size is 15 drops but we generally recommend experimenting to see what feels best to you. Some prefer 5 drops, some prefer over 50 drops per day.

9. What is the safety of your hemp extracts? Are there negative side effects?

Hemp is considered by many to be generally safe. We’ve never seen or heard of any significant or negative CBD Oil Extractside effects in our years in the industry. That said, we can’t rule them out. Please consult with your physician before using any dietary supplement including Hemp extract supplements.

10. Which of your CBD and hemp products should I get?

As a company who sells various dietary and food supplements, we can’t suggest any of our products for the prevention, treatment or cure of any disease or ailment.

When considering our different dietary hemp products, know that they all come in two strengths. Our Original Hemp blends (Classic Hemp Blend, Hemp Complete, Brainpower oil, & Signature Blend) all have 250+mg of cannabinoids per fluid ounce, and our concentrated blends have 1,500+mg per fluid ounce, six times the potency of our traditional oils. We’ve found that sometimes less is more, but nevertheless, some people like to take very large serving sizes of our hemp extracts.

The main difference between the four Original Blends is the additional herbal ingredients besides hemp. We suggest you research the separate components of each blend to determine which product may be most appealing to add to your dietary regimen. If you know it’s solely the hemp extract that you are looking for, with no additional ingredients, then Classic Hemp Blend or Classic Hemp 6x is what you’re looking for.

For dabbing and vaporizing or for research you can try our CBD Isolate.


11. Why do people use Hemp Extracts and CBD? What are the benefits and uses of CBD?

In accordance with federal regulations we cannot make health claims regarding our dietary supplement products. We can only recommend our products for general wellness.

12. Is a standard hemp seed oil the same as a high-CBD hemp extract?

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Absolutely not. Standard hemp oil, which can be found very cheaply at a grocery store, is a much different product than our CO2 hemp extracts (not from seed). Standard hemp oil is produced by cold pressing the seeds, whereas our hemp extract is a supercritical CO2 extraction of the hemp plant itself, not the seeds. Hemp seed oil is considered to be a great nutritive food, but it doesn’t have the naturally occurring terpenes, cannabinoids and other components that our extracts do have.

13. Do I need to move to Colorado to get your Hemp Extracts and CBD? Where do you ship?

No. We actually source our hemp from Kentucky, as it’s legal to ship across state lines. Many people are under the impression that the only way to acquire hemp extracts and CBD for themselves or a loved one is to move to Colorado or another cannabis-friendly state. Many major news outlets are misinformed and are unfortunately spreading the idea that you can only get CBD oil in the states where medical marijuana has been legalized. This is simply not the case though. Because our extracts comes from hemp instead of marijuana, we can and do ship to all fifty states, and no medical marijuana card is needed. There are some exceptions, like with Indiana, Missouri and South Dakota we can’t sell our concentrated products due to state legislation.

We also ship to Japan, Australia, the EU, Switzerland, and Brazil. For all EU orders contact our exclusive distributor thereCannawell.

14. Is your Hemp Extract Oil similar to Rick Simpson Hemp Oil?

Not quite. Ours are from hemp and RSHO is usually using marijuana, a different form of cannabis than industrial hemp. Our industrial hemp extracts are more standardized and will usually have a much higher content of non-psychoactive cannabinoids like CBD than one produced through the Rick Simpson method. And oils produced through his method will usually have a much higher THC content, as it’s typically marijuana that is used for RSHO.†

Generally speaking, most marijuana producers and sellers (especially on the black market) don’t test for contaminants (metals, pesticides, bacteria, etc.). Rick Simpson Hemp Oil is actually more a method of extraction than it is a specific product. People use the Rick Simpson method with hundreds of different strains of marijuana, so the THC, CBD and other cannabinoid content of the final oil is always varying greatly, depending on the cannabis the consumers are acquiring. Usually what’s used for Rick Simpson oil is a strain with an inferior CBD content (and high THC), because that’s what the vast amount of marijuana is nowadays.

15. Where do you source your hemp and CBD from?

We have partners in Kentucky who grew a dedicated plot for us this year (2016) which is being used in our products now. mjna message boardWe also currently source from Europe but we’ll be changing that soon.

16. What kind of testing/analysis is performed on your products?

We have an industry leading quality control system, and we have third party laboratories analyze all of our hemp extracts and our final products for cannabinoid potency, heavy metals, bacterial and microbial life, mycotoxins (fungus), and pesticides.

17. What is CO2 extraction? What’s the difference between subcritical and supercritical CO2 extractions?

CO2 extraction is an extraction process that uses pressurized carbon dioxide to extract phyto-chemicals (such as CBD, CBG, or terpenes, flavonoids, etc.) from a plant. CO2 at certain temperatures and pressures acts like a solvent, without the dangers of actually being one. It is the most expensive extraction method, and is widely considered the most effective and safest plant extraction method in the world.

Many hemp and CBD companies boast about their supercritical CO2 extractions, but that’s actually only one (and perhaps an inferior) method of using a CO2 extraction machine. There are also subcritical CO2 extractions, and ‘mid-critical’, a general range between subcritical and supercritical. Subcritical (low temp, low pressure) CO2 extractions take more time and produce smaller yields than super-critical, but they retain the essential oils, terpenes, and other sensitive chemicals within the plant. Supercritical, on the other hand, is a high pressure and high temperature process that damages most terpenes and heat sensitive chemicals, but can extract much larger molecules such as lipids (omega 3 and 6), chlorophyll, and waxes. A truly full-spectrum CO2 extract includes first performing a subcritical extraction, separating the extracted oil, and then extracting the same plant material using supercritical pressure, and then homogenizing both oil extracts into one. In the essential oil industry, an extract made using this specific process is referred to as a CO2 Total.

18. What is the endocannabinoid system (ECS)?

“The endocannabinoid system (ECS) is a group of endogenous cannabinoid receptors located in the mammalian brain and throughout the central and peripheral nervous systems, consisting of neuromodulatory lipids and their receptors.” Wikipedia

There are two main types of receptors in the ECS, CB1 and CB2. CB1 receptors are primarily located in the central nervous system and brains of mammals, and CB2 are generally found in the peripheral nervous system. There are two main cannabinoids mammals produce- 2AG and Anandamide (named after the Sanskrit term “ananda” which translates to “peace”).

For hundreds of millions of years every vertebrate on Earth has been equipped with this ECS, a crucial system in the body, and it has been known about in the scientific and medical communities since the 1980’s. However, it’s still not taught about in most medical schools.