If you wait, some distillery will offer a fully-infused cannabis powered vodka. Most vodkas are distilled from grains, not potatoes, and cannabis belongs in the family. Nobody is really asking for it, but some cannapreneur will step up before too long.
In the meantime, these is some natural affinity that encourages infusing vodka with cannabis extract. I’m not one for messing with a good thing and resist adding fruit and berry flavors to every bottle in the bar. But if you must, here’s a way to go.
Make your own extract
Making a tincture of your own will supply you with enough to take sublingually, add to a drink, or mix into a salad dressing. They call it “The Green Dragon,” and while it takes a little time to brew, it isn’t hard to make.
Take the easy way, and you’ll have a potent treat. You will need enough cannabis shake to fill half of a 12-ounce Ball jar or 16-ounce Mason jar. Then, you will add an equal amount of alcohol. There is much discussion about selecting the “right” alcohol.
The process requires a solvent to strip away the THC, CBD, terpenes, and other benefits from the cannabis. The right solvent will dissolve the wood and fiber, effectively washing the bad stuff away. However, the solvent should not contain additional contaminants or leave a negative residue.
Some recommend EverClear, food grade ethanol, or isopropyl. Everclear is pure grain alcohol, a highly-concentrated ethanol. It is repeatedly distilled from corn and wheat to increase its potency. You cannot buy EverClear in 15 states. Food grade ethanol is prepared from naturally-sourced ingredients. And, while isopropyl is cheaper, it is less safe.
Cannabiz Journal covers Dr. Otto Stitcher’s paper “Natural Product Isolation” which breaks the extraction process into five parts:
- Cannabinoids diffuse from within the trichome;
- the solvent freely travels into the plant material;
- cannabinoids dissolve in the solvent;
- cannabinoids spread out in the solvent; and
- cannabinoids can be collected from the solvent.
His point is that extraction should be “fast, easy, cheap, exhaustive (complete extraction), automatable, safe for the processor and safe for consumption in small amounts.” And, finding this combination of virtues has driven people for centuries to find a “best” method.
An easy option
Because this focuses on vodka, you would fill your sealable glass jar, now half-filled with cannabis, with vodka. Your extraction process will waste the best vodkas, but you can use any 60+ proof vodka. (If you opt for a proof approaching 100, you are pushing the potency.)
- Smirnoff remains the world’s most powerful brand and routinely available at 80 proof.
- Grey Goose® uses winter wheat from France to create its basic 80 proof spirit.
- Stolichynaya® Premium Vodka is distilled from grain for 80 proof.
- Ciroc Ten runs $210 for its distillation from French grapes and hits 80 proof.
- Finlandia Proof66 is barley-based and 70 proof.
Now, your output is only as good as your input, but you aren’t going to spend $210 on your vodka extraction process. The vodka’s unique properties are going to disappear in the extraction process, so you should settle on a reasonably priced bottle of a brand you trust.
Once you fill that jar to the brim, you will seal it and store it in a dark cool place to stew in its own juices for 30 days until the liquid is a rich brown soup. You then drain it repeatedly through cheesecloth until you have captured all the debris.
What to do with it
What you have here is a tincture-like cannabis extraction. This is not cannabis-infused vodka unless you dare consume the potent mixture. You can find 50 recipes for making cannabis-infused vodka online. But I think the juice you wind up with here works for most needs.
You can add a touch to your Screwdriver and a little more to your Bloody Mary. Your additive will have a strong taste and aroma so you may work on two things: (1) You may choose a strain that produces a more suitable taste for you, and (2) You will also use trial and error to see just how much you want to add to your vodka.
You can play with a green version of a Moscow Mule, Cape Codder, Black Russian, or Vodka Tonic. But I cannot imagine mixing it into a classic Martini or vodka on the rocks. The taste would destroy the delicate balance in a martini or similarly “delicate” drink.
There’s still another option
Humboldt has beaten others to the punch with its green vodka. California’s Humboldt Distillery produces several spirits distilled from organically-raised produce. They have been marketing a well-received cannabis-infused vodka as Humboldt’s Finest®.
Their drink proved a Double Gold Medal Winner in the 2017 San Francisco World Spirits Competition. Infused with California-grown sativa, it is THC-free and legal in all 50 states. And, it won 93 points in Tasting Panel Magazine. Critics speak to its unique and attractive flavors and aromas. It comes in at 80 proof, and there is a small batch distilled from Oregon hemp.
Its tastes won’t overwhelm a Martini but will add a nice finish to a spicy Bloody Mary. I wouldn’t put in a Cosmopolitan, but it might add something to your Mule. However, since the cannabis presence does not inebriate, I am not sure why you use it except that it is something different. It might work in a Dirty Martini, but please don’t touch any drink calling for delicate ingredients like Chambord, Prosecco, St. Germaine, or Chartreuse.
A final heads-up
If you are going to spike your vodka already over 80 proof, you must weigh some issues. The vodka can pack a potent punch for starters. Infusing it with a potent cannabis strain should keep you from driving. If you are on your third, you had better get to bed.