BY PAUL SCHRODT
Think of CBD, or cannabidiol, as THC’s gentler cousin. The cannabinoid, or cannabis byproduct, has no psychoactive effects but produces a noticeable bodily sensation—a mellowing-out that’s ideal for relieving anxiety, treating pain, or drifting off to sleep. You might notice that those are some of the same functions for which alcohol is used, though CBD is undoubtedly healthier and more effective in those capacities. So why not enjoy a CBD-infused, non alcoholic tipple at the end of a long day? CBD is finding its way into all kinds of exciting bar menus across the country, but it’s easy to add to your own homemade mocktails. We talked to two notable bartenders about their best booze-free CBD cocktails, how to dose with an oil, and why this might be the beverage revolution you didn’t see coming.
Manhattan’s sleek American restaurant and whiskey-focused lounge Saxon + Parole always offers CBD-infused cocktails without the brown stuff. “The idea was to have CBD as a healthy option; to me, it doesn’t make sense to use something that’s good for your body in alcohol,” says Maxime Belfand, head bartender at NYC’s Saxon + Parole. The bar sources CBD oil from Rosebud, which derives its product from CBD-rich hemp grown in Oregon, whose cannabis regulation insures that you actually get what’s advertised on the bottle. The CBD-infused offerings at Saxon + Parole have boosted its sales of nonalcoholic drinks by 25 percent, Belfand estimates. The bestseller among them is this take on the classic spritz, which is traditionally an Italian wine-based cocktail. It’s become so popular, however, that Belfand and his team sling them even on the coldest days of winter.
1 oz. Seedlip Spice 94 nonalcoholic spirit
1.5 oz. Crodino nonalcoholic aperitif
1 oz. fresh grapefruit juice
1.5 oz. nonalcoholic rosso vermouth
12 mg. Rosebud CBD oil (or other, CBD-specific oil)
Stir together all ingredients except soda water. Pour into a large rocks glass with ice. Top with soda water and garnish with a grapefruit slice.
Seedlip and Tonic
The gin and tonic is a stone-cold classic cocktail and one of the simplest for home bartenders to make. But it takes on new dimensions when you leave out the gin and add a bit of CBD, as Belfand does in this sophisticated, herbaceous rendition using Seedlip’s pea-distilled non alcoholic spirit.
Add Seedlip Garden 108 and CBD oil to a highball glass. Stir. Add ice and tonic water, and stir again. Garnish with pickled watermelon radish.
Last Dance with Mary Jane
The recently opened Grand Republic Cocktail Club in NYC, located on the waterfront in Greenpoint, Brooklyn, pairs hemp extract with the euphoric qualities of mezcal in its Last Dance with Mary Jane. “It has a really pleasant herbaceous quality to it, and with the smokiness of the mezcal, it all comes together nicely,” says head mixologist Johnny Swet. But he modified his recipe for this nonalcoholic version, a refreshing, mojito-esque concoction that combines plant-based ingredients with a little sweetness and acidity for a robust, balanced flavor. “CBD has great natural health benefits. It’s anti-anxiety and anti-inflammatory, so I think that’s all good to get in a cocktail,” Swet adds.
Fresh mint and sage
.5 oz fresh lime juice
1 tsp honey
2 drops Sawatch hemp extract (or other, CBD-specific oil)
Muddle mint and sage in a cocktail shaker. Add all other ingredients except soda water. Shake. Pour into a rocks glass with ice. Top with soda water. Garnish with a mint and sage “bud.”