Expert tips for serving cannabis mocktails at your summer soirée

Cannabis mocktails: Flat lay photo of cannabis lime gimlets

Grabbing a coffee to catch up with an old friend, going for a beer after work, and cracking open a seltzer at the barbecue, are cornerstone moments for many people. That’s why cannabis brands continue innovating in the dispensary drink fridge, and mixologists continue exploring the world of cannabis mocktails.

Dispensaries carry anything from low-dose cans of seltzer to energy shots containing 100 milligrams (mg) of THC. Now that summer gatherings are underway, some hosts may opt to serve weed libations–and others may decide to make their own. Once the liquid cannabis product is acquired, it’s time to explore the next steps to serving cannabis mocktails at a party.

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Cannabis mocktails: Bartender holds drink while other hands reach into frame with colorful drinks.
A mixologist pours a cannabis-infused MAISON BLOOM drink. Photo credit: MAISON BLOOM Photo: MAISON BLOOM

How to craft cannabis mocktails

Making cannabis mocktails can be a fun way to bring guests together, but layering the flavors takes a mindful touch. Even a master mixologist needs to adjust their recipes when working with cannabis in place of alcohol. GreenState reached out to Warren Bobrow, the cocktail whisperer himself, to learn more about layering flavors.

“Balance is the key,” said Warren Bobrow, co-founder of Klaus infused libations. “I love using fresh juices, balanced by proxy spirits (non-alcoholic), like the fine products from Monday’s, and, of course, I always use bitters to add depth and a sense of place in my drinks. You’ll find that you don’t miss the booze. Come for the flavor.”

Bobrow highlights bitters as handy for replicating alcohol, which Jake Wall, Chief Innovation Officer for MAISON BLOOM, doubled down on. But Wall also questioned why we want to recreate the alcohol flavor so badly anyways.

“I think there is so much more to be done with the world of drinkable weed if you simply start thinking of cannabis more as an herb that can add flavor when treated right, not just get you high,” Wall told GreenState. “So, instead of desperately trying to mimic the taste of alcohol, why not unleash your inner mixologist and get a little adventurous?”

What is the drink of the summer?

Cannabis doesn’t have a flavor that needs to be covered—it has a profile that deserves to be paired. Cocktail recipes that call for gin or mezcal will often play up the herbaceous flavor cannabis is known for, so consider those recipes adapting a cocktail into a cannabis drink.

“The trick is to look to the garden and let freshness serve to balance your sensational summertime sips,” Wall shared.

The highly Instagrammable Aperol Spritz had a real moment last summer, so GreenState asked these beverage experts what cold drinks would be hot this season.

“Now, spritzes are here to stay,” Wall declared. “There is no getting around that. But mark my words: this summer is going to unleash a whirlwind of creative twists on classics. Brace yourself for the ‘fritz’ – a frozen, modified spritz that takes a nod from all that we love about frozé and then does it one better, ensuring your taste buds tingle with excitement.”

People will continue to opt for low-processed, seasonal ingredients in cocktails this season. Bobrow, who authored a book on cannabis drinks, has some secrets for using natural sugars in recipes.

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“I roast my citrus fruits to add caramelization that brings the sweetness without adding sugar,” Bobrow revealed. “You can use roasted citrus juices in many tiki-style craft cocktails. It takes them to another level entirely!”

When probed about the cocktail of the summer, he continued, “Remember the margarita is the most popular drink in California, and for good measure. I make mine with roasted lime juice and nonalcoholic orange liquor. No need to add more sugar.”

When planning the cocktail menu, take note from the experts and think seasonal, all-natural, and garden fresh.

How to dose out a beverage for party guests

It is crucial to dial in dosing before serving a cannabis mocktail to party guests. A drink with too many cannabinoids may lead to overmedicated guests who could be uncomfortable, get sick, or have to stay the night to sleep it off. Avoid this by planning the cannabinoid content per drink.

“You want a concoction that’s sessionable – meaning it’s dosed just right to give you a delightful mind and body buzz that isn’t overwhelming and affects you in a manner similar to the buzzy timeframe you’d get from your alcohol options,” Wall suggested.

That rules out serving guests pitchers of infused drinks. It’s hard to know that each guest would pour the desired quantity of cannabinoids out of the pitcher each time. Consider having someone available to prepare cannabis mocktails to order or have a few pre-made ahead of time.

Cannabis mocktails: Cocktail being poured from a metal cocktail shaker into a stylish glass
A cocktail shaker pours a cannabis mocktail. Photo credit: Getty Photo: Catherine Falls Commercial / Getty Images

It’s also wise to serve full-spectrum bevvies. Seek out a base liquid marijuana drink that has other cannabinoids. CBD, CBG, terpenes, and other common compounds can round out the experience, whereas the effects of THC-only can feel one-note.

Serving cannabis drinks this summer can be fun and be the catalyst for a raucous good time. But a misstep with dosing could lead to overconsumption, and on the other side, a misstep in flavor pairing could lead to underconsumption. To get it just right, use these tips from the experts before crafting a summer cannabis cocktail for your guests.

Cara Wietstock is Senior Content Producer of and has been working in the cannabis space since 2011. She has covered the cannabis business beat for Ganjapreneur and The Spokesman Review. You can find her living in Bellingham, Washington with her husband, son, and a small zoo of pets.