Drink your greens! Exploring the world of liquid edibles
From root beer to fancy horchata, columnist Ryan Bradford tries a variety of cannabis-infused drinks
When cannabis became recreationally legal in California a few years ago, it served as a harsh reminder that I’m not the spring chicken that I used to be. Gone are the days when I could just fill my lungs without devolving into an old-man coughing fit. When it comes to smoking weed or eating spicy food, I want to warn every teenager —er... I mean, every young cannabis user of legal age! — to enjoy this time while you can.
The good news, though, is there are now so many ways one can do cannabis. Regardless of the fond memories I have smoking stale stuff from a cored apple in my friend’s basement, I have no desire to go back to that (unless you’re offering?).
Edible gummies (specifically, Smokies tropical sours) have been my go-to because they’re super easy to use, tasty and accessible, but it can take some time for you to feel their effects. This is all well and good for the casual weedhead, but let’s say you’re someone who wants to get down to business, and you don’t have time to wait for a pot-laced cookie to kick in.
Luckily, we now have cannabis-infused drinks, sometimes known as liquid edibles. Liquids pass through the digestive tract faster and are easily absorbed sublingually (under the tongue) — two characteristics that produce faster results.
But are they the real deal or just a novelty? I recently hopped down to ye olde weede shoppe (Hikei on Home Avenue, which offers an Early Bird Special between 7 and 9 a.m.) and picked up an assortment of liquid edibles.
Keef root beer: When was the last time you had a root beer? Like, regular, straight-up root beer? It used to be a staple of my childhood (root beer is huge in Mormon households due to the lack of caffeine), but looking at that richly dark bottle sitting in the fridge, I realized I hadn’t had that sweet, earthy taste on my tongue in years.
I poured the Keef over ice and took a sip. Hoo boy. This stuff was dangerous! It tasted like ... delicious root beer. Memories of forgotten birthday parties and Friday pizza nights with my family suddenly came flooding back. Nothing like a mind-altering substance to really get those childhood nostalgia gears going, amirite?
In what I now recognize as a stoner thought disguised as epiphany, I thought: Of course there should be a weed root beer! Weed = plant. Sassafras (root beer’s flavor) also = plant. Plant + plant = just makes sense! I definitely recommend Keef’s root beer if you want to have thoughts of this caliber.
I then watched “Waterworld” and was convinced it was the greatest movie of all time. From now on I want to implement the “How Good Is ‘Waterworld’ Right Now?” test to gauge how well the THC is working.
The Fizz grapefruit seltzer: Not gonna lie, the bright colors of the label are what attracted me to The Fizz’s grapefruit seltzer. Keep in mind that I wasn’t even high yet.
For better or worse, the grapefruit seltzer delivered on its promise of being a seltzer. Now, I’m a big fan of White Claw and La Croix (I will not apologize!), but I just couldn’t muster the enthusiasm for The Fizz. It tasted like a ghost of a drink — more tonic water than flavored seltzer. Perhaps I had been too infatuated with Keef’s root beer, or maybe I just expected something a little more vibrant based on the colorful label.
However, it did the job. After drinking The Fizz, I did a whole load of dishes without realizing it. I was washing plates and suddenly the kitchen was just clean. That ruled.
Rebel Coast mixed berry seltzer: Agh! Foiled again by another attractive can! Honestly, I didn’t even realize this one was a seltzer until I got home.
Between this and The Fizz, I prefer The Fizz because grapefruit flavor is just a natural fit in seltzers (I mean, it’s no surprise that Pamplemousse is the best flavor of La Croix). But the beautiful thing about liquid edibles is that no matter the taste, you’re still going to cash in. It’s not like craft beer where sometimes you have to suffer through a horrid grapefruit IPA and come out the other end just a little less sober, sadder and $8 poorer.
After drinking Rebel Coast, I put on some headphones and listened to Stephen King’s “The Stand” on audiobook for two hours straight, strangely at peace with the idea of living in a post-apocalyptic world.
Agua De Flor horchata: $20 a can!? What is this, a craft cocktail with artisanal garnish?
Agua De Flor’s horchata is the Cadillac of liquid edibles. With a truly elegant can, the whole thing just screamed class, and this appealed to me — a very classy guy buying Early Bird Special weed at 8 a.m.
Unlike all the other drinks I tried — which had 10 mg of THC per bottle — this horchata contained a whopping 100 mg, which I’m pretty sure would put me in a coma if I drank it all. If you’re just looking to lose your mind, this is the best deal.
The container had markings on the side, which were handy to measure out 10 mg servings. I poured a serving. It didn’t look like much — like the dregs of an almost-empty glass of milk. It certainly didn’t look appetizing.
But after one taste, I wondered if it was even legal to have a drink be this good. It was sweet and smooth, with hints of something floral. I tipped my glass all the way back, and instantly craved another.
Maybe just a little more, I thought. I poured another half serving and it was gone just as fast.
That night, I somehow made buffalo wings, and they were the best I ever had. As I methodically ate every wing under a single kitchen light — without a hint of sadness or shame — I thought: I could get used to these liquid edibles.
Sign up for the Pacific Insider newsletter
PACIFIC magazine delivers the latest restaurant and bar openings, festivals and top concerts, every Tuesday.
You may occasionally receive promotional content from the Pacific San Diego.