One beverage director recommends a dosage of around 10 milligrams in cocktails to bring out a muted and subtle chlorophyll-like aroma to the nose.
The enthusiasm for CBD oil is everywhere you look — in your latte, chocolate, face cream and even pet treats.
Bar programs are following suit, utilizing the trendy ingredient in their drink menus.
CBD, an abbreviation for cannabidiol, is the non-psychoactive chemical found in hemp and cannabis. There’s no THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) so you won’t get high.
CBD is currently not regulated by the FDA, so it’s important to remember that quality and standard practices in production can vary. With that said, it’s widely believed to have health benefits including relaxation, without addictive side effects.
So does it work in a cocktail?
“Yes it’s possible,” said Sarah Traynor, the beverage director at the Brass Heart restaurant in Uptown. “Relaxation benefits, pain relief benefits — kind of the idea that a spirit might help your muscles relax. And [now] we’re adding a touch of something else that can help as well.”
Traynor utilizes CBD in a couple of her cocktails. Acknowledging there are unknowns in the world of CBD, she’s a fan of the oil’s use in mixology.
“The CBD flavor profile is very spirits-friendly. It really is,” she said. “It pulls off the grassy tones that are in an Agricole rum. It can bring out some of the natural, earthy tones that you might find in tequila. It’s a fun flavor profile to lightly use to season spirits.”
Traynor recommends a dosage of around 10 milligrams in cocktails to bring out a muted and subtle chlorophyll-like aroma to the nose.
The tasting menu at Brass Heart (a fine-dining, reservations-only experience on North Broadway) focuses on buying local and from smaller production farms. Traynor mirrors those efforts in sourcing smaller production spirits and multi-purposing whatever seasonal ingredients the chefs are using in the kitchen.
“We use a CBD company, Chicago Cannabis Company. They’ll be growing their own hemp, source organic and use a laboratory on site,” said Traynor.
One classic cocktail getting a CBD makeover at Brass Heart is the Old Fashioned. “The R&R Old Fashioned is a little play on words — rum, radish and also, recreation, because the spirits are paired with CBD,” said Traynor. For the drink, Bookman’s spiced rum is paired with a radish Demerara steeped in-house from the highest grade of sugar cane. CDB oil is used in place of traditional Angostura bitters.
There’s also a “Sustainable Sour,” which is finished with a few drops of CBD oil that sit on top of the frothy cocktail to ensure you’ll whiff the aromas as you drink.
Brass Heart is located at 4662 N. Broadway. For more information call (773) 564-9680 or visit www.brassheartrestaurant.com.
CBD is popping up on beverage menus across the city. Perhaps none was more highly anticipated than Young American, 2545 N. Kedzie, in Logan Square.
A self-proclaimed progressive bar and kitchen, Young American boasts some bar snacks featuring CBD (for example, the “Calmonds” features almonds with chamomile, chicken salt, CBD oil and thyme). The goal is to be contemporary and creative in their food, wine and cocktail program. They recommend adding CBD oil to several spirits-free offerings.
“We ultimately decided to steer the CBD more to the non-alcoholic drinks,” said Wade McElroy, business partner. “CBD is so subtle that if you paired it with alcohol, the effects of the alcohol would overwhelm any effects you’d feel from CBD.”
McElroy foresees aggressive growth in popularity of CBD. “People have responded really well to it. There’s nothing wrong with going out sometimes and not necessarily wanting to drink a boozy cocktail. It’s a way to drink and feel good without necessarily having to feel drunk.”
“It’s honestly blown me away the success that we’ve had especially with the spirit-free’s and the CBD,” said McElroy.
Young American’s beverage director Aubry Robinson recommends the “Electric Eye”— a spirits-free combination of citrus oils and fresh citrus, juniper and lapsang souchong (tea leaves that have been dried over smoke).
“The ingredients on our end are quite complex but it drinks light, refreshing and very approachable,” said Robinson. “With an addition of CBD, this drink is very reminiscent of sitting on a porch enjoying a warm day at your leisure.”
Young American is located at 2545 N. Kedzie. For more information call 773-687-8385 or visit www.youngamericanbar.com.
CBD cocktail recipes from Brass Heart’s Sarah Traynor
- 2 oz G4 Reposado tequila
- 2 oz honey kumquat sweet pickling liquid
- 1 egg white
- 1 dropper CBD
- Dry shake to emulsify the cocktail. Add ice and shake again. Let the cocktail stand for a moment and the egg white will give it a frothy top. Finish with a few drops of CBD.
- NOTE: Sub equal parts lemon or lime juice with simple syrup for a classic sour or add a splash of tangerine juice to mimic the brightness of the kumquats
R&R Old Fashioned
- 2 oz Boukmans Rhum
- .25 oz radish Demerara
- 3 dashes orange bitters
- 10 drops CBD
- Orange twist
- Build your cocktail in a mixing glass. Stir until chilled with a mild dilution. Strain and serve over a large cube. Add the orange twist and voila.
- NOTE: Sub a classic Demerara syrup and keep the proportions the same for the syrup and the spirits, add more CBD to mimic the grassiness of the radish.