Artisanally extract and infuse the botanical herb’s aromas, flavors and effects into wine. Plus a recipe for my mold-breaking red wine cannabis gelee.
BY ED MURRIETA
Cannabis wine is civilization’s original intoxicating collision: two great buzzes that buzz great together.
Evidence of cannabis wine — aka green wine — has been found in ancient writings and historic digs. A timeless tincture, cannabis wine’s uses have ranged from spiritual to medicinal to bacchanalian.
In modern culture — eg: California, circa 2018 — cannabis wine is a holy grail that got away.
Legalization outlawed commercially combining cannabis and alcohol, just as some boutique West Coast vintners were producing $400 bud-bouquetted bottles slowly fermented from grape juice and cannabis, artisanally extracting and infusing the botanical herb’s aromas, flavors and effects into fine wine.
Feel free to toast underground winemakers in Sonoma, Mendocino and Mesopotamia — or anywhere grapes and cannabis grow — and invest in a home wine-making rig so you can ferment your own potent potables.
Or you can kitchen-hack cannabis wine at home using a simple, if less elegant, infusion of weed, wine and time.
Although it’s called green wine (which is different from Portuguese vinho verde, aka young wine), you can use white wine or red wine. Some green wine connoisseurs prefer whites’ fruitier, floral flavors and aromas that marry easily with similar qualities in cannabis terpenes. Use red if you like jammy, leggy body and grassy, woodsy backnotes.
Box wine, jug wine or something special from the cellar? That’s your call, just as it’s up to you whether to use bud, trim or shake. With wine, pot or any other ingredient, always heed this recipe adage: Use the best quality possible. That means use what you like and can afford. Heed this one too: Garbage in, garbage out. Which means: If you wouldn’t drink it or smoke it, don’t use it.
Red wines are generally higher in alcohol than white wines and have slightly more extracting power. But Chardonnay, Viognier and Pinot Grigio can rival Cabernets, Zinfandels and Sirahs, ranging from 14 percent up to 15.5 percent ABV. Above that, you’re into ports — stronger, sweeter and complex in their own ways.
Compared with other alcohol-cannabis tinctures, cannabis wine is relatively low in THC potency. Wine is about one-fourth as strong as the distilled grape and grain alcohols commercial tincture manufacturers use to extract cannabinoids from cannabis flowers.
How strong is green wine? That depends. How strong is your pot? What amount of active cannabinoids were extracted? Like wine-making itself, making green wine at home is craft, not science. Absent lab testing, figure one glass of green wine will be about twice as potent as one glass of higher-alcohol red or white.
Alcohol amplifies and hijacks the effects of cannabis — a boilermaker of sorts, combining competing intoxicants in one drink. That odd feeling you might get from too much green wine? It’s called crossfading, a tricky, if pleasurable, state of being drunk and stoned simultaneously.
Enjoy green wine on its own. Steep with fruit and spices to make sangria or mulled wine. Or make cannabis wine gelee, an audiciously sweet, tart, boozy and stony dessert that breaks the Jell-O mold.
- Digital scale
- Sheet pan or cookie sheet
- Sealable glass or plastic container large enough to hold 1 750-ml wine bottle plus ground cannabis
- Measuring cup (optional)
- Fine mesh strainer
- Clean wine bottle and cork or cap
- 1 750-ml bottle medium-to-high alcohol white or red wine
- 28 grams cannabis trim (including stems and leafs) or 14 grams cannabis flower
- Pre-heat oven to 240 degrees.
- Weigh and roughly grind cannabis. Spread cannabis on clean sheet pan and place pan in oven for 30 minutes, stirring cannabis every 10 minutes to ensure even baking.
- Remove from oven. Set aside and cool.
- Place decarboxylated cannabis in sealable glass or plastic container.
- Pour 750 ml of wine into container. Stir. Seal.
- Store in a cool dark place.
- Shake container gently once a day for 14 days.
- Using funnel and strainer line with cheesecloth, transfer wine into clean bottle.
- Seal bottle.
- Enjoy as you wish.
Cannabis-Infused Red Wine Gelee
- Medium-sized sauce pan
- Fine mesh strainer
- 1 8-cup gelatin mold or 8 1-cup individual molds
- Stand or hand mixer fitted with whip or beater attachments
- 1 750-ml bottle of cannabis-infuse red wine
- Grated zest of 1 orange
- Juice of 1 orange
- Grated zest of 1 lemon
- Juice of 1 lemon
- 6 tablespoons brandy
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 cup red currant jelly
- 4 tablespoons (4 packets) powdered gelatin
- 2 cups very cold heavy cream whipped
- 2 tablespoons sugar
For the gelee
- Whisk together everything except the gelatin and the whipped cream/2 tablespoons sugar in a medium-sized saucepan.
- Sprinkle the gelatin over the top of the mixture and whisk it in.
- Bring the mixture to a boil and boil over medium heat for 5 minutes.
- Strain through a sieve into a rinsed and damp 8-cup mold and refrigerate until cold and set, at least 4 hours.
- Unmold and serve with whipped cream.
For the whipped cream
- Affix whisk to stand mixer, or beaters to hand-held mixer.
- Pour cold cream into chilled mixing bowl.
- Whip cream at low speed for a few seconds, sprinkling in 2 tablespoons of sugar.
- Gradually increase mixer speed to high and whip until the cream forms soft peaks, about 3 minutes.
- Turn off mixer and dollop whipped cream onto individual servings of cannabis-infused red wine gelee.