You’ve grown a few pounds of sticky icky but you can’t smoke all of it, what do you do? Well, the great thing about cannabis is how versatile it is to process. Making butter or oil to use for baking is all well and good, but what if you want to drink your cannabis?
In this article, we will give you all the details necessary to start infusing your own cannabis drinks at home. We will also share a few drink recipes we enjoy that can be made with or without alcohol. So let’s start making our own cannabis drinks!
A warning about THC and alcohol
Mixing cannabis and alcohol can be dangerous. The effects can be a lot stronger than either of them on their own. If you’re an experienced cannabis user you should be able to understand your own tolerance levels.
If you are new to cannabis drinks start slowly. Cannabis metabolizes a little differently depending on your intake method. The onset of effects of drinking cannabis happens quicker than eating cannabis.
If you’re making your own cannabis-infused spirits you will only have a rough idea of their potency. Start by having a small sample first and wait about an hour to see how you’re affected.
The trick with getting THC into a liquid
THC is a molecule that does not dissolve in water. Making drinks with cannabis oil can be a little off-putting since the oil tends to float to the top.
However, THC binds well with oils and alcohol. If we can infuse our alcohol with THC or find a way to emulsify the oil then we’re in business!
Let’s say you’re making a Whiskey Sour with egg whites. Whipping cannabis oil into the egg whites will work pretty well. The foam will have a nice cannabis smell to it depending on the oil used. You will however end up with a bit of oily residue in your glass by the end.
How to infuse alcohol with your own cannabis
Making a cannabis/alcohol infusion is quite easy. Since the THC binds with alcohol; the higher your chosen liquor’s alcohol content the more THC will be present.
It’s also a good idea to carboxylate your cannabis before infusing it. This will greatly increase the THC potency of your final product.
When infusing cannabis flower more than THC will go into your beverage. Plant material contains other oils and waxes that will affect the flavor of your infusion. Using well-cured cannabis or water-cured cannabis will give you a less “weedy flavour”. If you really don’t like the taste of cannabis I would suggest using a water-soluble cannabis product instead.
What You Will Need:
750ml (25.4 oz) of neutral flavour alcohol like vodka or white rum
7g of cannabis to be decarboxylated
Parchment paper (optional)
2x 1L jars
Step 1 – Decarb the weed
Set your oven to 200F. Grind up 7 grams of cannabis uniformly and spread it evenly on a baking sheet lined with a sheet of parchment paper. Place in your oven for 40 minutes.
As an alternative, you can also place your ground-up weed in the 1L glass jar and place that in the oven at the same temperature and duration. Using a jar will save you from losing terpenes and make your job a little easier. One thing you need to know for your safety is that most jars are not made of tempered glass. Untempered glass can shatter with temperature fluctuations.
Putting a glass jar in an oven can be dangerous. Be sure to use dry oven mitts when moving the jar and keep the hot jar away from anything cold (like water) while it cools down slowly. The easiest thing to do is turn off the oven and just leave the jar inside with the oven door open and let it cool down slowly in there before handling it.
Step 2 – Add your alcohol
Once your cannabis is done in the oven, pour it into the glass jar to cool. Once it has all cooled down pour in 750ml of your preferred alcohol. If you can place something in the jar to keep the cannabis submerged you can help prevent mold growth. If you see any mold growth while infusing throw out the entire contents of the jar. Ingesting mold is not safe for your health.
Keep your jar in a cool dark place while the THC slowly infuses with the alcohol. It takes about 3 days on average to infuse. The shorter the infusion the less potent and weedy tasting your infusion will be. If you decide to infuse for longer your infusion will be darker, stronger tasting, and more potent.
Step 3 – Filter your infusion
After your desired infusion time has passed it’s now time to filter out the solids and re-bottle your cannabis-infused alcohol.
Secure a coffee filter around the mouth of another 1L jar. Slowly pour your infusion into the filter and jar. Your coffee filter might clog from the plant material and filter slowly. Be patient and let the alcohol slowly filter through. If the filter is too slow, remove it and use a fresh one.
Don’t squeeze or wring the filter.
Once it has all filtered through you can either pour your filtered infusion into a nicer bottle that is well labeled so no one drinks it by accident.
Step 4 – Enjoy your infusion
After all that hard work and waiting it’s time to test out the final product. Since the potency can be hard to determine at first, test it out on a day when you have very few responsibilities. Have a shot or mix it into a drink and see what happens. Try and avoid using any cannabis while you wait for the effects of your drink to kick in.
If your final product is too potent then you can add more of the original alcohol you used in the infusion to dilute your mix.
If your cannabis alcohol infusion is too weak for your tolerance then use more decarboxylated cannabis next time or infuse it for longer.
How strong is my homemade cannabis alcohol infusion
To get a general idea of how strong each shot of your green booze is take the amount of weed you used and divide it by the number of shots in your bottle. 7 grams of weed in a 750ml bottle will give you approximately 25 30ml shots with the approximate equivalent of 0.28 grams of cannabis each. It might not sound like much but cannabis that is ingested is stronger than when it is smoked. These are approximations and are meant as a general guideline. The actual amount of THC per shot can be different from one to another so be careful.
How to infuse alcohol with store bought cannabis
You can use the same methods above to turn store bought cannabis flower into alcohol but it might not be as cost effective compared to some of the newer cannabis products out there.
There are some great new products available in the legal cannabis market that can make cannabis alcohol infusion easy. Water-soluble cannabis is very easy to use and makes dosing clear.
The legal cannabis market has a lot of regulations concerning mixing cannabis and alcohol so alcohol based tinctures are rare if there are any. What producers do to make water soluble cannabis is suspend cannabis oil in something like starch. This suspends the THC throughout the drink instead of having it float to the top. The one downside with these water soluble oils is that they will cloud up the liquid they’re put into.
These products will have a particular level of THC in them that you can divide by the number of ounces in whatever liquid you’re putting it into.
Alcohol Free Cannabis Infused Drinks
Another benefit of water-soluble THC products is you don’t even need to use alcohol. What I do is make a concentrated THC simple syrup for my drinks and cocktails. It’s nice to have another alternative to alcoholic cocktails and these products are great for that. Ripple and Verse are the two brands I use.
There you have it, the basics of making your own cannabis infused alcohol. Please drink and use cannabis responsibly. Mixing cannabis and alcohol can lead to some extreme experiences so be careful not to overdo it. Drinking and ingesting cannabis can lead to effects that last much longer than smoking.
All that being said here are a few cocktail recipes I like to use with my infusions. Each can be made with little to no alcohol if you want.
Cannabis Cocktail Recipes
1 oz Cannabis infused vodka (or a cannabis-infused alcohol free spirit like Lumette)
3 oz lemonade
¼ oz Matcha syrup
Top with soda
In a tall glass filled with ice add your infused vodka and lemonade and stir. Top with matcha syrup and soda. Serve with a lemon garnish.
It’s a spin on an Arnold Palmer with a green weed spin.
2 oz Cold Brew Espresso
1 tsp Chocolate Drink Powder or syrup
1 oz Irish Creme
1/2 oz Coffee Liquor
1 oz cannabis infused vodka (or a cannabis infused non-alcoholic spirit like Seedlip)
Add all your ingredients to a shake with ice. Mix well and pour into a highball filled with ice. The shaft is a very popular drink on Vancouver Island and Calgary. It’s a great pick me up and dangerously crushable.
15 fresh Mint leaves
1oz cannabis infused rum (or non alcoholic alternative)
½ oz peach schnapps (or non alcoholic alternative like peach juice)
½ oz Simple Syrup (Honey Syrup)
½ oz Pineapple Juice
½ oz Lime Juice
Lightly muddle the rum and mint leaves in the shaker. Mix in your other ingredients and shake with ice. Strain into a collins glass filled with crushed ice.
A great little cocktail for a summer day. If you don’t want to use infused rum you can add a water-soluble THC powder to your simple syrup.
Mike Drouin is the co-founder of Reefertilizer. He’s an experienced craft cannabis grower and a writer of many articles regarding the process. Mike enjoys cycling and camping and will sometimes combine the two.