Cannabinoid oil? No, this isn’t an illicit ingredient that gets you high. But CBD is in fact derived from the hemp plant, and is fully legal, available for purchase at natural food stores, and packing a number of health benefits. That’s why Jason Eisner, of Gracias Madre in West Hollywood and Gratitude in Newport Beach, uses it in three cocktails, including the “Stoney Negroni ” (Gin, Carpano Antica Vermouth, Contratto Aperitivo, Port, CBD Oil) and the “Rolled Fashioned” (Benesin Mezcal Anejo, Bourbon, Sarsaparilla Syrup, Aromatic Bitters, Orange, CBD Oil). We spoke with Eisner about why he’s embracing this unusual ingredient.
Why create a cocktail with CBD? Cannabis is an annual, dioecious, flowering herb that throughout history has been used for a variety of applications from medicinal and recreational uses, to religious ceremonies. In 2016, I believe that we are a point in our human history where we can apply its vast culinary applications and enjoy cannabis in a totally new way. I have found that CBD tincture rounds out the flavor and aroma of many cocktails and the vibe that it leaves you with is just an additional benefit.
Describe the flavor profile, and how it works in cocktails. It’s super diverse. In aromatic cocktails, I have found that CBD tincture really adds to the complexity of the drink and rounds out the flavor profile in a completely unique way. In my vegan sours that I’m preparing with aqua faba (chickpea water), the taste is gentle and has a long lingering finish.
Do you think CBD is an ingredient that will become increasingly popular? I do. I’m not a medical professional or nutritionist, but with all the reported health benefits, I can’t see why people wouldn’t want it in their food from cocktails to salad dressing. If I say to you, “Would you like a healthy nutritious organic meal that will combat anxiety, depression, inflammation, and aches and pains,” would you say no? I think right now there is just a stigma attached to it because it’s coming from a hemp plant, but it’s really no different than hemp seeds. There’s just a lack of education about it, and part of why I wanted to incorporate CBD into my cocktails was to open up a dialogue with guests about using it as an ingredient.