Alpha-Pinene Terps Shine in this Sparkling Cannabis Cocktail Recipe

Holiday drinks enjoyed while celebrating friends, family and finding the light through dark winter nights is a tradition long held around the world. With pine trees inextricably part of those same warm gatherings, few things so strongly mark the arrival of the winter holidays quite like the unmistakable smell of fresh pine.

Did you know the fragrant terpene alpha-pinene is directly responsible for that unique scent we all hold near and dear during the holiday season? Found abundantly in edible plants all over the world (i.e., rosemary, juniper berries, eucalyptus, holy basil and the like), alpha-pinene’s charm also shines through in specific cannabis strains like Jack Herer, Cherry Pie and Purple Kush.

These holiday drinks in particular were inspired by pine needle syrup, a traditional Scandinavian remedy for sore throats made from pine needles foraged when the trees are just budding (the young shoots have the best flavor). Since it stunts the trees’ growth to remove the fresh buds and since not every pine tree is safe to eat, I recommend foraging with an expert or sourcing the pine needles from a reputable local or online shop. Longleaf, Shortleaf, Virginia, Spruce and Loblolly are some of the preferred trees for making pine infusions, but as with all plant consumption, take care with identification and defer to experienced knowledge before eating any plants.

There are two versions of this wintery, celebratory pine and cannabis drink: one made with sparkling wine and no added sugar, and the other infuses a simple syrup to be mixed with sparkling water–dealer’s choice.

Happy holidays, cheers!

Ingredients

1 1/2 – 2 cups cold filtered water

3.5 g dried and cured cannabis flower or trim

1/4 tsp liquid sunflower lecithin (found in health food stores or online)

1/2 cup organic cane sugar (if making simple syrup, omit if making mixer for champagne cocktails)

1-2 cinnamon sticks

2 sprigs of fresh rosemary (plus one sprig each per serving)

Sparkling white wine or sparkling mineral water (for the mixer)

Decarboxylate Cannabis

Preheat oven to 245ºF. Keep an eye on the heat using an oven thermometer.

Coarsely chop/breakup cannabis flower.

Spread cannabis evenly over a parchment lined baking pan, then cover tightly with two layers of foil.

Bake for 25 minutes, keeping an eye on the heat with an oven thermometer.

After baking, let cool fully before removing foil.

Spritz cannabis lightly with Everclear/high-proof alcohol (to help break down plant matter and cannabinoids, a genius method developed by Tamar Wise).

For Mocktail with Pine Needle Simple Syrup (no alcohol)

Boil 1 1/2 cups water, then add 1 cup pine needles.

Turn down heat to a simmer and cover the pot. Continue to simmer for 30 mins.

Remove from heat and let cool slightly. Strain needles out through a fine mesh strainer, returning the liquid to the pot.

While the liquid is still warm, whisk in 1/4 tsp liquid sunflower lecithin.

Stir in 1/2 cup sugar until it’s completely dissolved.

Pour liquid into a heat-proof glass jar (with a tight-fitting lid).

Add the decarboxylated cannabis, 2 sprigs of rosemary, and 1-2 cinnamon sticks to the liquid.

Let cool to room temperature, then put in the fridge for 12 hrs/overnight, shaking the mixture periodically.

Strain the solids out of the liquid through a cheesecloth and fine mesh strainer (more than once if necessary to get all the bits out of the liquid).

Label clearly as containing cannabis and at what dosage.

Add desired amount of the now cannabis-and-pine-needle-infused simple syrup to sparkling water over ice. Stir, garnish with a sprig of rosemary, and serve.

For a Sparkling Cocktail (mix with your favorite sparkling wine)

Boil 2 cups of water, then add 1 cup of pine needles.

Turn down heat to a simmer and cover the pot. Continue to simmer for 30 mins.

Remove from heat and let cool slightly. Strain needles out through a fine mesh strainer, returning the liquid to the pot.

While the liquid is still warm, whisk in 1/4 tsp liquid sunflower lecithin.

Pour liquid into a heat-proof glass jar (with a tight-fitting lid).

Add the decarboxylated cannabis, 2 sprigs of rosemary, and 1-2 cinnamon sticks to the pine-needle infusion.

Let cool to room temperature, then put in the fridge for 12 hrs/overnight, shaking the mixture periodically.

Strain the solids out of the liquid through a cheesecloth and fine mesh strainer (more than once if necessary to get all the bits out of the liquid).

Label clearly as containing cannabis and at what dosage.

Add the desired amount of the now cannabis-and-pine-needle-infused liquid and a sprig of fresh rosemary to your favorite sparkling Brut. Cheers!

Dosage: Both recipes make about 1 2/3 cups liquid. I use tablespoons as my measurement for dosage, with 1 tablespoon per drink. There are 16 tablespoons in a liquid cup, so 1 2/3 cups is very loosely 26 tbsps, or 13 servings. If I start with a cannabis flower that tests at around 20% THC, using 3.5g would make the total amount of THC in the syrup all in about 700mg THC. Dividing that total by 26 tbsp. servings, each tbsp. would contain approximately 27mg THC per serving.

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