When people consider trying CBD through a more enjoyable, flavorful experience, edibles are likely what will come to mind first, and not a refreshing CBD-infused cocktail.
And yet, individuals may find that CBD in a beverage can be just as (if not more) effective for delivering its benefits. And enjoying your own refreshing CBD beverage can be quite simple, so why not use it as a reason to hone your bartending skills this summer?
Before we throw some CBD mixology inspiration your way, we’ll go over all the basics: the benefits of CBD cocktails, what you need in order to assemble one, and a general idea of how much CBD you should be using as you go.
Benefits & Effects of CBD Cocktail
While CBD is related to the component THC, it doesn’t have the same psychoactive properties responsible for creating the high that cannabis is known for, though it does come with its own factors. For one thing, CBD can make the flavors in your cocktail a bit more complex. And for another, CBD and alcohol may make for an especially relaxing time.
CBD has a growing amount of research on its aptitude for promoting relaxation, and while this effect doesn’t always hit everyone the same way, it can factor into the stress-reducing effects of alcohol. And a CBD mocktail is the perfect option for those who are steering clear of alcohol for their own reasons, but don’t want to miss out on drinks with friends.
Keep in mind, though, that while CBD is not intoxicating, it might be best to go easy on the dosing with harder drinks. Studies have shown that while CBD may help lower the blood alcohol levels while drinking, it doesn’t seem to dull alcohol’s effect on motor/cognitive functions.
In terms of benefits, however, CBD may help counteract the effects of alcohol in a few ways, one of those being sleep. Consuming alcohol can impact sleep consistency by altering levels of the hormone adenosine. But according to a 2018 study from Scientific Neurological International, CBD may be able to help stabilize your adenosine levels by gradually reducing the reuptake, allowing them to naturally assume their optimal levels.
In the case of CBD cocktails, the effects vary from person to person: some may feel completely tranquil and chilled out, while some may feel no effect at all. One of the main benefits of enjoying CBD as a beverage is the difference in absorption time: when one consumes a CBD edible, they have to take digestion time into consideration, as this plays a huge role in how quickly you’ll feel any kind of relaxing effect.
But when in the form of a drinkable beverage, the required digestion time is almost nonexistent. Keep in mind, though, that the CBD will still take some time (about 30 minutes on average) to enter the bloodstream, so you probably won’t achieve instant effects.
But in the meantime, why not use the wait time to enjoy your CBD cocktail this summer?
Now, let’s take a look at what you need to make the perfect CBD-infused refresher.
What You Need For CBD Cocktails
Unless you’re crafting a CBD mocktail, alcohol is going to be a key ingredient in your drink.
When mixing CBD with alcohol, it’s wise to keep the ABV (alcohol by volume) in mind and to ensure drinking responsibly. With that being said, the type of alcohol you use is really up to you; incorporating CBD may even make a surprising addition to your favorite mixed beverage.
If you’re still unsure about a starting point, though, gin has many of the same terpenes as CBD, along with amaro-based spirits like vermouth, which might promote a vivid flavor and aroma.
We love a sweet daiquiri or piña colada in the summer, but keep the sugar light when you can, especially when trying CBD cocktails for the first time.
This is because sugar and alcoholic beverages are both known to trigger inflammation in some individuals, and too much inflammatory food can cancel out CBD’s anti-inflammatory benefits. That being said, we encourage the use of alternative sweeteners like agave, honey or stevia whenever possible.
Of course, CBD is the featured ingredient here, and while it brings novelty, it brings up some uncertainty, as well. But not to worry, because we’ll dispel them all here.
Of course, it’s key to start with a quality CBD.
When it comes to mixing CBD cocktails at home, our readers often ask: what’s the difference between CBD tinctures and CBD oils?
To put it simply, oils are oil-based, whereas tinctures are glycerin or alcohol-based, and as we know from our earlier chemistry classes, oil and water don’t mix. This means that CBD tinctures tend to dissolve better in cocktails. And while CBD oils will gather and float to the surface, this can lend a unique flavor and aroma to some beverages, and can even be used in foams and creams.
If you do choose to incorporate a CBD tincture into your cocktail, we recommend that you skip the alcohol-based tinctures, and instead stick with the tinctures that use glycerin. Glycerin is plant-based and has a slightly sweet taste, and it pairs beautifully with pure honey in our Liquid Honey Tinctures.
As for dosage, this can vary from person to person, but as most brands recommend 25 mg as a general starting dosage, it may be wise to keep it at 15 mg when incorporating alcoholic drinks. Of course, keep in mind that at the end of the day, nothing will determine your own ideal CBD dosage better than some experimentation and the help of a physician.
5 CBD Summer Cocktails
Cocktail #1; CBD Summer Punch
All you really need sometimes is a touch of CBD with something fresh, and this simple summer punch is an effortlessly classy pick-me-up that could be enjoyed any night of the week.
Yields 2 servings
- 4 cups sparkling water
- 2 cups grapefruit juice
- 6 oz Lillet
- 2 cups (8oz) blackberries
- 1 peach, pitted and sliced
- 1 lime, thinly sliced
- 1/2 grapefruit, thinly sliced
- Mint to taste
- 30-40 mg CBD, or as desired
- Combine juice and Lillet in a large pitcher, and stir until blended.
- Add mint leaves and fruit, and allow to chill and infuse at least an hour ahead of time.
- To serve, pour sparkling water into the pitcher with your infused juice, and finish off with your CBD tincture drops.
Cocktail #2: CBD Mint Julep
This classic evening treat gets a special boost of relaxation with the power of CBD. With the terpenes of the CBD playing on the rich, vegetal notes of bourbon, this isn’t your grandmother’s mint julep!
Yields 2 servings
- 5 ounces bourbon
- 3 ounces simple syrup
- 6 mint leaves + extra for garnish
- 30 mg CBD tincture
- In 2 chilled glasses, evenly divide the 8 mint leaves and muddle in each.
- Top off with bourbon and ice.
- Add 15 mg of CBD to each glass and top off with more ice. Garnish with remaining mint leaves and serve.
Cocktail #3: Mango Blackberry Vodka Cooler
Is the summer heat leaving you with a craving for something fruity and delicious that isn’t sangria? This tart, juicy cocktail can be easily made into a large batch, and is sure to make a splash at the next mixer.
Yields 4 servings
For the Mango Honey Simple Syrup:
- 3 small ripe mangos, peeled and sliced
- 2/3 cup honey
- 1 cup water
- 8–10 leaves of fresh mint, plus more to use as garnish
For the Vodka Cooler:
- 6 ounces of vodka
- 8–10 fresh blackberries
- 1 can of sparkling water/club soda
- Crushed ice
- 30-40 mg CBD
- In a large glass or jar, muddle the mango slices until thoroughly pureed. You can also make this step quicker with a food processor
- In a medium saucepan over medium heat, warm the water and honey until dissolved. Add muddled mango and mint and allow to cool completely, for about 10-15 minutes. Strain the mixture and discard any solids.
- Fill 4 10-ounce glasses with crushed ice. Divide the mango simple syrup in between glasses and pour 1 shot of vodka into each glass. Top off with sparkling water and 10-15 mg of CBD in each glass. Fish with ice, mint leaves and blackberries and serve.
Cocktail #4: Watermelon CBD Mocktail
Is there anything more mouthwatering than some fresh watermelon? This alcohol-free mixer is sure to instantly cool you down with its refreshing fruit and calming CBD.
Yields 2 servings
- 7 cups watermelon flesh, seeds removed, cut into chunks
- 1/4 cucumber, peeled, cut into chunks
- 1 cup fresh lemon juice, plus an additional lemon, sliced, for garnish
- 1/4 cup packed mint leaves, plus more mint for garnish
- 2 tablespoons agave syrup
- Put the chunked watermelon, cucumber, agave, lemon juice, and mint in a blender and puree until mixture becomes smooth.
- Strain the mixture to remove any solids.
- Add the lemon slices, ice and CBD. Garnish each glass with mint leaves and serve chilled.
Cocktail #5: Jalapeño CBD Margarita
Of course, this wouldn’t be a list of summer cocktails if it didn’t include the classic margarita. Although this one uses jalapeño to create a unique synergy with the tequila and CBD. The result is a brand new experience with one of our all-time favorites.
Yields 2 servings
4 ounces tequila
6 tablespoons lime juice freshly squeezed (3 ounces)
2 tablespoons orange juice freshly squeezed (1 ounce)
4 teaspoons agave nectar
1/2 jalapeno sliced
30-40 mg CBD
- Rim a glass with lime juice or simple syrup and salt and fill glasses with ice.
- In a cocktail shaker, combine tequila, lime juice, orange juice, ice, agave nectar and sliced jalapeño.
- Shake vigorously and strain into margarita glasses. Garnish with lime wedge and jalapeño slices, if desired.