In the Bay Area, you can consume marijuana in just about any form: high-end vape pen! Gummy bears! Cold brew! Now, a few enterprising chefs want to popularize the drug in a new form: cocktails.
The combination of marijuana and alcohol is a common enough occurrence, but you’re not likely to find many people who would recommend it. In small amounts, they’re both relatively safe. But when the two drugs are combined, they can exacerbate the effects of each other, making you drunker or more high than you want to be--a danger that anybody who's gotten “crossfaded” after two many keg stands and bong rips at a college rager can attest to.
But with the popularity of medical marijuana and the ability to know exactly the strain and strength of the weed you’re buying, there’s now room to take a more controlled approach. Bartenders can easily find out what a particular type of marijuana will taste like (“heavy on the blueberry”) if it’s an indica or sativa, and what effect it’s supposed to leave you with (“great to melt away stress and anxiety.”) By incorporating just a few drops of a cannabis tincture into your cocktail shaker, proponents say that you can enjoy some of the advantages of cannabis while sipping on your next cocktail.
That’s what Payton Curry wants to offer. He’s a chef that left the world of fine dining to focus on promoting the positive, medicinal aspects of cannabis via what he does best: cooking. At a series of August dinners, Curry, who now runs the edibles company Flourish, offered diners a menu of his cannabis cuisine, featuring dishes like beet tartare and maitake steaks with red wine reduction--and cocktails like a rosemary blueberry smash. (The drinks will also be available at Folsom Street Fair, and he’s planning a monthly brunch featuring similar recipes.) Curry is evangelical about cannabis’ potential, and he wants people to start thinking of it as just another exciting ingredient.
But just how much cannabis can you get from a cannabis cocktail? Does the toxicity of alcohol cancel out any positive effects you might get from your Bloody Mary Jane (another one of Curry’s specialties)? And most importantly, do the drinks taste like bong water?