Whether you've tried it or not, you've probably heard of CBD (or cannabidiol), the naturally occurring oil found in the cannabis flower. It's safe, non-addictive substance that has been increasingly linked to a myriad of therapeutic benefits—so much so that it's not only trending in the health and beauty sphere, but also in the food and drink world, too. In the past year, CBD has become popular in the cocktail world, and Sarah Turbett, head bartender at Oak Steakhouse in Nashville, Tennessee, thinks it will be around to stay. "Bartenders are always looking for different flavors and textures to utilize, and CBD provides a level of complexity that has previously been inaccessible," she says. "The flavor profile ranges from neutral, to earthy (think grassy, or chlorophyll), to full on jam band music festival and it can be accessed in many forms including oils, sprays and powders, and the ability to infuse, drop, shake or foam seems to be endless."
One of Turbett's favorite things about working with CBD is that it can pair with just about anything. "Most bartenders work with soluble tinctures (alcohol-based solutions), but I enjoy working with a neutral powdered isolate, or a flavored and more viscous CBD oil," she says. "The advantage to working with a tincture in a cocktail is that once shaken or stirred in, it dissolves and leaves no trace." She prefers oil because of the potential flavor pairings, or the powdered isolate because it works well in a protein based foam. "On my most recent menu, I am pairing CBD with several different kinds of liquor including rum, gin, and whiskey," she adds. "I would say that spirit-wise the choice is up to you and your personal preference, but I would recommend being aware of the ABV (alcohol by volume) percentage, versus the content of CBD in your cocktail."
Just like you would with any other drink, when creating CBD cocktails for your wedding menu it's important to make sure your guests are aware of what they're drinking. "I love providing cocktail cards at the bar highlighting all of my unusual ingredients, and I make sure everyone serving drinks is aware and knowledgeable as to what they are making," says Turbett. "That aside, the guest may or may not notice the flavors of CBD oils and tinctures in their cocktail." As far as physical effects go, she explains that CBD is most often associated with feelings of euphoria and calmness. "It can relieve anxiety, physical pain, and discomfort. It does affect everyone differently however, and the same cocktail may make one person feel relaxed and happy, while another will feel nothing different at all."
If you're selecting CBD-infused cocktails for your wedding, you might be wondering if you can (or should) also consider infusing some into your appetizers or entrées. Luckily, unlike THC, you don't have to worry about consuming too much CBD because it does not present the same intoxicating side effects. For this reason, there is no standard for dosing. However, if you are serving CBD to your guests at a wedding, Jamie Evans, founder of The Herb Somm, recommends starting on the lower side of the dosage range for both food and drink (between 5-15 milligrams CBD per drink or bite). "You'll also want to make sure everything is labeled and clearly marked because not everyone will want CBD—and, if you or any of your guests are taking medication, I do not recommend mixing it with CBD because it has the ability to either enhance or inhibit the way some medications interact with your body," she says. "That said, even though it doesn't make you feel stoned, serve CBD safely and responsibly."