I want to talk to you about Absinthe. No, not that stuff that’s got oodles of sugar and food coloring added. That is the stuff that gets you really messed up because of all the additional ingredients which are really going to hurt you in the morning. I don’t drink that stuff and nor should you. When was the last time that you saw an ingredient label on a bottle of absinthe, or any spirit at all? You haven’t and isn’t that strange? Where am I going with this? Well, if I was still drinking hard liquor, which I haven’t touched since 2018, I’d be pretty sure that what was making my absinthe blue or green was not a naturally occurring end result.
But I digress. This article is meant to encourage you to make a cocktail for yourself with cannabis and a spirit like absinthe. Before your mind turns off, thinking that absinthe is going to make you hallucinate, let’s look at the spirit and the history that surrounds this much maligned spirit. Around the same time as the French wine industry was struggling to provide a beverage for the people, the much more potent absinthe hit the scene. With a base of beet sugar, boosting the alcohol level above 80% (160 proof), this inexpensive product cut into the sales of wine with only 5 or 6 % alcohol by volume or 10% alcohol… And the French wine producers got really worried. What was this upstart beverage that costs almost nothing to make cutting into their sales? Absinthe of course. And it had to be eradicated. Like cannabis.
Stories were woven about madness brought on by drinking absinthe, famous artists cutting off their ears while addled by the green fairy or green dragon, take your pick, it wasn’t pretty. And the part about hallucinations from thujone? It’s a good thing the alarmists didn’t go after onions or orange juice in their quest to eradicate thujone from the world. Products such as Vermouth were made with virtually the same base ingredients as absinthe, yet they were not vilified. I anticipated this correlation based on my research for the book Cannabis Cocktails, Mocktails and Tonics which I wrote in 2015. Herbal based healing was the only kind of healing that was available to the masses. It wasn’t until the Pure Food and Drug Act was passed in the early part of the 20th century, that there were any rules against Snake oil or Quack Medicine.
In other words, the French Wine industry could say just about anything they wanted about how healthy absinthe was. or wasn’t… true or not. And not only did an entire industry (that of absinthe) become nearly extinct, but the stuff was made illegal to import into the USA! You couldn’t even buy a bottle in Canada and bring it across the border, it would get seized. My family learned the hard way back in the 1960’s when we traveled to Toronto with my family, and they tried to bring a bottle in my suitcase of all places. Customs seized it and gave my father a stern warning about bringing into the USA…Contraband goods. Absinthe! At least it wasn’t cannabis or raw milk cheese. I think their heads would have exploded.
Anyhow, I’m really fond of weaving cannabis infused absinthe into my cocktails.
Supercharge your Decarb
One of the things that you must do is supercharge your decarb. I stopped using my oven years ago. The Ardent company up in the Boston area has created technology that makes your decarb adventure perfect, every single time. Microprocessor control makes this alchemy possible. It’s truly plug and play, unlike your rice cooker or oven, which varies in temperature and fluctuates wildly, especially if you have a gas stove. I do not recommend doing larger scale decarbs at home in the oven, especially if you live in an apartment. Everyone in your building will know what you are up to. But when you use the Ardent? Nearly scentless. Win/Win. And no more burnt batches… That is important when using expensive flowers. Listen to me, I made many pricey mistakes, you don’t have to mess up to learn to do this like the professionals.
One of the techniques that I learned down in New Orleans during the yearly event known as Tales of the Cocktail was the rapid infusion invented by a fellow alchemist named Dave Arnold. Dave, without knowing it, figured out a way to force flavors into different types of craft spirits. I thought if he could force (with nitrous oxide in a heat-safe, stainless steel vessel) the flavors and aromatics of fresh herbs into craft gin, why couldn’t I force decarbed cannabis absinthe? Well, you can. Add an ounce or so of the highest quality decarbed cannabis to a commercial whipped cream dispenser also known as an ISI. You want to get this tool at a professional restaurant supply because the device will go into simmering 140 degree water for a half hour or so…
You will not want to use a plastic whipped cream maker. It is not safe for this procedure.
I would “activate” the pressurized in this closed, heat safe vessel to just about 140 degrees, letting out vapors every minute or so and for about a half an hour in a water bath, let cool then strain out the cannabis. Add this concentrate to a sterilized vessel, top off with uninfused absinthe or the spirit of your choice. This recipe does work for any liquid, even tomato juice for a stony Marie, usually made with Mezcal and Mexican ditch weed……This is stony indeed.
So, I would take about a cup of Absinthe and add 1 ounce of the finest cannabis you can procure, that has been forced with the ISI… then strained.
The next thing that you want to do is crush a bunch of ice in something called a Lewis Bag. What a Lewis Bag is, quite simply a canvas bag that wicks the moisture off ice when you whack it with a rolling pin, making the ice pulverized, but dry, not a soupy, wet mess. You’ll thank me later…after you learn that these techniques can be done at home. Good ice is very important. I start with ice that has been made inside of two freezer plastic bags and in a silicone ice tray. I try not to get bent out of shape on clarity, what I’m really looking for is ice that doesn’t taste like the fridge. If your ice smells like that order of garlic pasta, festering in the back of your fridge, don’t use it for your twenty-five year old Scotch or that special Pachuca Mezcal that costs more than a dinner in New York. Ice can be any size for this drink, but I prefer pebble ice. You can do something like this by using the abovementioned Lewis Bag.
I fill a Collins (tall and skinny) glass with regular ice and water and let it get really frosty. Then I pour out the ice and water and add about one ounce of infused absinthe to the glass, letting the unctuous liquid stick all over the inside. Then I add the crushed ice, a few sprigs of fresh mint, some fresh lime juice and more infused absinthe over the top. Top with a good Ginger Beer soda.
This is the hot weather-New Orleans version of the classic Absinthe Frappe’ of course I twist it up, Cocktail Whisperer style by adding a touch of fresh lime juice along with a dribble of Angostura Bitters. You know, real healing for your gut. It has THC, yes… a boatload of it. You will get high, maybe even destroyed…. I promise. Is it irresponsible of me to give you this recipe? Probably yes. Common Sense.
This is a good drink to enjoy on a blistering hot day when you don’t plan to go very far after imbibing JUST ONE.
Recipe: Infused Absinthe Frappe
3 oz. THC infused LUCID Absinthe from France. It’s the good stuff. Don’t skimp . Don’t use anything that’s artificially dyed blue or yellow or green, this spirit has been artificially colored and the addition of less than high quality sugar is just not good for you. You wouldn’t want to heat it, let it reduce and then drink it. Listen to me on this.
4 oz. Ginger Beer Soda *I used Pickett’s* you should too.
1 oz. Fresh Lime Juice
Dribble of Angostura Bitters for digestion of your dinner
Pre-chill a Collins Glass with ice and water, pour out when chilled
Add one ounce of the THC infused- Lucid Absinthe to the chilled Collins Glass
Swirl it around coating all sides
Add the pebble ice that you’ve crushed in a Lewis Bag
Top with two more ounces of the infused Lucid Absinthe
Add a splash of Ginger Beer Syrup over that to bring up the level
Add a thimble of fresh lime juice to stave off scurvy (don’t laugh, it still occurs!)
Dribble Angostura over the top for digestion *for your belly ache*
Serve with a smile…Do not prepare another for at least an hour! You will get stoned!
Warren Bobrow is the CEO of Klaus Apothicaire, a 6x Author, Chef, Barman, Cannabis Alchemist, Master Mixologist. Some of his cannabis awards include: SXSW Cannabis Disruptor 2018, Berlin Bar Convent-Cannabis, and Moscow Bar Show-Master Class-Rum. He is the author of Cannabis Cocktails, Mocktails, and Tonics, Available in Indie Bookstores, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Indigo Books. See his cannabis creations on instagram.