The legal cannabis industry has made such large strides in the past few years that it now has its own beverage trade show. That’s right, the Cannabis Drinks Expo; debuted in 2019 with a show in San Francisco and has continued every year since across the country. Just like many other aspects of the legal market, cannabis beverages are big business. According to food service group Zenith Global, the cannabis beverage market worth is expected to reach $1.4 billion by 2023, up from $89 million in 2018.

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Beverage producers have been adding two of the most well-known cannabis compounds – the intoxicating THC and the non-intoxicating CBD – into all kinds of drinks, from coffee and tea, to water, soda, and wine. But any drink that comes infused with cannabis is also bound to be “infused” with extra cost. Compare it to a night on the town consisting of cocktails, which have been going up in price. In fact, the average (non-cannabis-infused) cocktail can cost anywhere from $14-23. Yikes.

DIY Cannabis Infused Cocktails and Mocktails

But why pony up all that cash when you can craft your own cannabis-infused cocktails or mocktails at home? For the sake of simplicity, think of a mocktail as a beverage infused with a low-THC strain, and cocktails as those that will unleash a bit of THC. Whether you want to make the drink virgin – with low THC and no alcohol – is up to you. And to make the most of your home bartending experience, consider investing in a few tools like a muddler, cocktail shaker, and strainer.

Old fashion cocktails with twists of orange peels and cherry garnish rest on black stone coasters on a wooden table with oranges, a small bowl of red cherries and a small antique silver spoon. Infused cocktails and mocktails are a great way to enjoy cannabis in a subtle but very tasty manner.

Really, the simplest way to make a cannabis-infused cocktail is to find a company who has already crafted an infused spirit like vodka, whiskey, or gin. But unless you live in a canna-legal state, those will be hard to come by, in which case, you’ll have to do your own infusing.

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Another option to keep in mind is checking out your local dispensary for a THC or CBD distillate. These are generally water-soluble odorless and flavorless, thus simplifying any cocktail-making attempts. However, it’s important to keep in mind that dosing properly will be a bit trickier with a distillate. Just like with edibles, consider the rule, “start low and go slow.”

Decarboxylating Cannabis

The first step on this journey is to decarboxylate your weed, necessary to activate the cannabinoids in raw cannabis. This is a must if you want your cocktail to have any cannabis kick:

  • Grind your strain of choice. Keep in mind that you may want to decarb a couple of different strains with varying ratios of THC and CBD to give the desired effect
  • In the oven: preheat to 225-235 degrees Fahrenheit, and place cannabis in a single layer on a foil or parchment covered baking sheet. Bake for 20-30 minutes.
  • WARNING: Your humble abode will definitely take on a dank, skunky smell during this process, so if that’s problematic for your neighbors (or your landlord), take necessary precautions

You could also make a simple syrup, a foundational cocktail ingredient along with alcohol and bitters, so  a cannabis-infused simple syrup should be at the top of your list. Here’s what you’ll need and how to make it:

  • 4 grams of decarbed flower
  • 2 cups Agave syrup
  • 2 tablespoons liquid lecithin
  • 2 cups water

Put all the ingredients in a saucepan and bring to a simmer. Cover, then continue to simmer for 30 more minutes. Last but not least, strain the cannabis.

Cannabis Drink Recipes

Now, to the drinks!


A brightly lit red cosmopolitan with an orange peel and a sugared rim rests on a wooden table with berries and oranges in the background. Making this classic cocktail with infused ingredients gives it a greater twist than just the orange peel.

Here’s a time-honored beverage that will give you all the Sex and the City feels. Here’s how to make a classic Cosmopolitan:

  • 2 oz. vodka
  • 1 oz. cranberry juice
  • ¼ oz. cannabis-infused simple syrup
  • ¾ oz. fresh lime juice
  • ¾ oz. Triple sec
  • Orange twist for garnish

In a cocktail shaker, mix all the ingredients except the orange twist in a cocktail shaker, then add ice. Shake vigorously for about 20 seconds, or until the shaker becomes very cold. Pour into a martini glass, using a cocktail strainer or slotted spoon. Garnish with orange twist.

Hot Toddy

This cocktail is a vodka-based take on the hot toddy featuring THC-infused honey, making it a warm and comforting treat for the cold winter months. You’ll need:

  • ½ oz decarbed weed
  • 3 oz vodka
  • 3 tablespoons honey
  • 1 tsp grated ginger
  • 1 tsp orange zest

In a small saucepan, heat the honey on low (be sure it doesn’t foam). Now, take your finely ground, decarbed weed and add to the honey. Stir for 20 minutes. Strain the honey and add back into the pan. Next, add ginger and the orange zest, then slowly add the vodka. Keep the heat low and stir occasionally for about 30 minutes. Let it cool before imbibing.


A mojito sits in the foreground on a black cloth napkin surrounded by cut limes, leaves of mint and chips of ice. MA refreshing and minty cocktail for the upcoming summer months just made greener.

Next up are Mojitos, a refreshing summer favorite. But with the hat trick combination of rum, lime, and mint, this beverage can be enjoyed all year round! The recipe below is for a mojito mocktail, but simply add your desired amount of rum if you want to spice it up. You’ll need:

  • .5 oz lime juice
  • .5 oz cannabis-infused simple syrup
  • .5 oz blood orange puree
  • 4 fresh mint leaves
  • Soda water

In a Collins glass, muddle the mint, lime juice, and simple syrup. Next, add ice and blood orange puree, and top with soda water. Garnish with more fresh mint.

Thai-spiced Ginger Beer

Another tool you’ll want to add to your bartending kit is the book Cannabis Cocktails, Mocktails, and Tonics by “Cocktail Whisperer” Warren Bobrow. Speaking of the Cocktail Whisperer, here’s a recipe for Thai-spiced ginger beer from his book. Gather these ingredients:

  • 2 oz brewed spearmint tea, cooled
  • 1 oz cannabis-infused simple syrup
  • 6 oz non-alcoholic ginger beer (sugar-cane based)
  • 1 oz Art in the Age ROOT
  • Lemon zest ice cubes (check out a recipe here)

Put the lemon zest ice cubes in a Collins glass, add the ginger beer, then the Art in the Age Root. Next, add the iced tea and the simple syrup. Stir gently before adding two drops of bitters. Garnish with basil or a cannabis leaf.

Wrap Up

Bobrow offers up a few handy tips; for those making their own cannabis-infused drinks. He warns that until you learn how cannabis and alcohol work together for your particular physiology, stay at home and DO NOT DRIVE. Bobrow also suggests starting with non-alcoholic beverages or small doses of cannabis until you get the hang of it. And last but not least, drink mindfully, and wait 30-60 minutes before drinking more. Happy mixing!