Can Cannabis and Whiskey Get Along? CBD Cocktails To Consider

2018 has turned out to be a brave new world for the mixed drink connoisseur. Craft distilleries producing unique blends and creations are bigger than ever, and unexpected ingredients are slowly finding their way into classic cocktails. Unsurprisingly, one of those ingredients is cannabis in the form of one or both of the plant’s chemical compounds, CBD or THC.

Known for its relatively mild effects and multi-functional usages, the cannabis plant is no stranger to the United States. With just about half of the nation’s states legalizing the substance for medicinal or recreational use, it’s starting to become a featured ingredient on drink menus across the country.

Straight marijuana is not commonly used in the creation of mixed drinks, but rather mixologists turn to CBD or THC to create a delicate balance of flavor and strength. Each compound produces a different result. THC is known for heightened sensations and feelings of euphoria, while CBD merely retains the rich flavors of the plant strain while providing many health and wellness benefits.

From knowing the right dosages to finding perfectly complimentary ingredients, perfect CBD cocktails are not unattainable. Although many critics argue well-balanced CBD cocktails begins with a vodka base, finely crafted whiskey is a strong contender for an exquisite CBD drink.

So, pull up your barstool and learn how to craft the perfect cannabis cocktail.

The Science Behind CBD Cocktails

Any bartender or hobby mixologist knows that even the simplest cocktail can be ruined by incorrect ingredients or improper dosages. Too much of one flavor can overpower the others and the key to an excellent mixed drink is the balance of flavors and tones. For CBD cocktails, the same rule applies.

During the process of creating your cocktail, it’s important to choose the correct variations of your ingredients in order to achieve both the flavor and texture you want. The first step is to determine if you want to use a cannabis oil or a tincture.

Both oils and tinctures are easy to find and integrate into your favorite cocktail, but they do react to the alcoholic base of your drink in different ways. An oil is less likely to fully absorb into the alcohol, so a bit of the oil will float to the top and sink to the bottom. This is perfect if you want to make sure your guests can fully appreciate the unique flavor CBD or THC brings to the drink. A tincture, however, is alcohol based so it will fully integrate into the drink for a seamless experience.

The next step in your CBD cocktail process is to uncover flavors that will fit your palette and your desired experience. While the cannabis plant has been known for tasting, and smelling, like skunk spray, old tires, and gasoline, hundreds of different flavors have since overpowered the stinky stigma and have given mixologists loads of flavor inspiration. Over 1,700 different strains and flavors of cannabis are now available to the casual consumer. From crisp mint to woody pine, citrus notes to smoky pepper, there’s something for everyone and every drink. And because unique flavors are such a strong factor in CBD drinks, many agree that the only alcohol that truly compliments cannabis is a classic whiskey.

Why Whiskey?

Whiskey is a distinctive drink. It packs a punch and holds nothing back in the flavor department, which is why a cannabis compound oil or tincture is the perfect complement to a whiskey-based cocktail. Both whiskey and cannabis hold such power in their flavors that when combined together the infusion creates a drink that’s twice as nice.

The base properties of whiskey also allow for an easy transfusion of flavor from the cannabis. Whiskey is well-known for adapting the flavors it’s aged or combined with without totally abandoning the original flavor. So, a whiskey-based cocktail that’s enhanced by a flavorful oil or tincture is an excellent drink choice no matter your personal preferences.

On the flavor front, expert mixologists advise going big or going home. Mix strong flavor with complementary strong flavor in order to achieve the best drink results. And what this boils down to is knowing your alcohol and finding a CBD or THC strain that matches the notes of the alcohol instead of distracting from it. For instance, if you’re drinking a deep and earthy Scotch, find a deep and earthy cannabis tincture or oil for a perfectly balanced pairing.

As for knowing your alcohol, if you want to take your cocktail creation skills to the next level make sure you read and understand the ABV (alcohol by volume) percentages on the next bottle of whiskey you purchase. Because a perfect cocktail is all about those percentages, many well-versed in the art of the cocktail agree that a whiskey should be around 40 percent ABV, or 80 proof, to achieve best results.

Tailored CBD Drinks

From bars to bar carts across America, whiskey-based cannabis cocktails are slowly working their way into recipe books and refined palettes. However, it’s important to know that cannabis in a drink may not be for every user and the physical effects differ greatly from one consumer to the next. Because of the varying effects of cannabis strains, experts advise paying close attention to drink dosages and the amount of drink consumed in one sitting.

10 to 15 milligrams of a cannabis substance, no matter if it’s CBD or THC, are considered a safe dosage for all users. Any amount over 15 milligrams could produce much different results, especially when combined with alcohol and generously consumed.

Also, because of the addition of flavor to a classic cocktail, keep in mind that you may not create a drink you or your guests love immediately. Don’t be afraid to experiment with flavors and brands, within the suggested dosage limits, to find the flavors you love and the ones you can live without.

Be Your Own Bartender

For a drink that’s sure to impress, try these simple and effective twists on classic Friday evening drinks – just make sure your guests know what they’re getting themselves into.

CBD Julep

*Recipe is originally seen on Goop with alterations from us!

  1. Muddle the leaves and simple syrup in a chilled julep cup.

  2. Add Misunderstood Whiskey and top with pebble ice.

  3. Swizzle, then top with more pebble ice.

  4. Garnish with 3 cannabis leaves or 3 mint sprigs.

Mixing Up a New Orleans Classic

* Recipe is originally seen in Warren Bobrow’s book Cannabis Cocktails, Mocktails, & Tonics


  • Marijuana smoke, to flavor the mixing glass

  • 1/2 ounce (15 ml) rye whiskey

  • 1/2 ounce (15 ml) sweet vermouth

  • 1/4 ounce Calvados

  • 3-4 shakes Creole-style bitters

  • 2-3 shakes aromatic bitters

  • Spritz of infused absinthe

  • Ice

Before you fill your mixing glass with ice, turn it upside down and burn some cannabis under it to fill it with smoke. Turn it right side up, and immediately fill it three-quarters full with ice. (Now you’ve made smoked ice!) Add all the other ingredients except the absinthe, and stir fifty times. Strain into a pre-chilled glass, and finish with a spritz of Infused Absinthe.