Welcome to Psychedelicatessen, a weekly column exploring the world of cannabis cuisine, including recipes from the great chefs and ganjapreneurs who fuel our appetite for adventure.

Dominating the cannabis-infused beverage market in Southern California and beyond, Venice Cookie Company expanded its scope beyond baked goods to find a profitable niche in providing lemonades and juices enhanced by THC. After winning third place at the Los Angeles Cannabis Cup in 2013 for Strawberry Cannabis Lemonade, Venice co-founder Kenny Morrison says, “We still sell more chocolate than drinks, but drinks are catching up!” Infusing beverages with cannabis on a large scale requires specialized equipment and skills, and because they’re mostly water, it’s very expensive to ship to retail locations. 

While many cannabis consumers stick to comforting sweet treats, the growing popularity of infused beverages is due to their quick onset. “It’s the fastest-acting product we make,” Kenny remarks, “it’s easily absorbed into the body and you’ll feel it within 10 to 20 minutes.” Many health-conscious patients in So-Cal prefer cannabis-infused beverages because of their low fat content, and Venice recently released sugar-free Cannabis Quenchers sweetened with stevia and xylitol.

Kenny’s tart and sweet Cannabis Quenchers are available in five flavors, and can be found in dispensaries from San Diego to Sacramento, plus in Washington State through Evergreen Herbal. Kenny was generous enough to supply some cannabis cocktail recipes to try at home, based on an infusion of cannabis into simple syrup shaken with some additional fresh, flavorful ingredients including cucumber, lime and ginger. For this foray into marijuana mixology, you will need a cocktail shaker, strainer, muddler and blender. Mix up some cold, sparkling beverages next time you feel like a cocktail, and you can replace alcohol with health-positive cannabis!

Cannabis Cocktails

When you’re making a refreshing, ice-cold cannabis-infused beverage for the summertime, don’t forget that cannabis needs to be heated in order to activate the THC. In this recipe, we activate the herb by creating a simple syrup of sugar, cannabis, vegetable glycerin or propylene glycol, and water prior to mixing your final drink.

Cannabis Simple Syrup

Ingredients:

-3 cups filtered, pure water

-3 cups fine granulated sugar

-2 tablespoons vegetable glycerin or propylene glycol  (available at your local health food store)

-2 grams high-grade cannabis  (finely chopped)

Directions:

Measure out equal parts water and sugar. Bring water to a boil. Add your fine cannabis, and stir in sugar until dissolved. Cover pot and boil for 20 minutes. Reduce temperature to medium and add the glycerin. Let it simmer for 5 or 6 minutes, stirring once a minute. Strain out cannabis and let simple syrup cool. Your syrup will have reduced, leaving you with approximately 3 cups of Cannabis Simple Syrup.

24 oz of simple syrup equals 12 moderate to strongly dosed cannabis beverages containing approximately 15 to 30 milligrams of THC per glass, depending on the potency of the cannabis.  

Malibu Mule

Invented in ‘50s era Los Angeles, this cocktail typically uses ginger ale, but we decided to update this virgin Moscow Mule recipe with fresh ginger syrup for more of a spicy bite, giving you the medicinal benefits of both the cannabis and the fresh ginger.

Ingredients:

-4 tbsp cannabis simple syrup

-2 tbsp fresh lime juice

-1 tbsp ginger syrup

-1 liter club soda

Directions:

To make the ginger syrup, slice up a finger-sized knob of ginger, leaving the skin on, and put into a blender. Cover the sliced ginger in water and blend for 1 minute. Strain out the ginger and reserve the juice. Rinse the blender, and return the simple syrup, lime juice and ginger syrup to the blender and process for 30 seconds to 1 minute. Pour into a high ball glass and fill up with club soda and stir. Garnish with a wedge of lime.

Cannabis Cup

This simple cocktail can be modified by adding extra fresh lime juice and sparkling water.

Ingredients:

-4 tbsp cannabis simple syrup

-1 lime, quartered 

-4 slices cucumber 

-1 liter sparkling water

-Salt 

Directions:

Muddle lime and cucumbers in a shaker can.  Add the cannabis simple syrup and cracked ice.  Shake it up and pour everything into a rocks glass.  Top with sparkling water and salt, stir; garnish with a sliced cucumber. Enjoy!