True North rolls out S.D.’s first cannabis cocktail

Ingredients for "Prop. 64" drink by bartender Daniel Sutherland at True North in San Diego include Nolet's Dry Gin, Chareau Aloe Liqueur, CBD cannabis oil, house made mint amarillo dry hopped bitters, an egg white, lime juice, sugar. (Eduardo Contreras/U-T)
(Eduardo Contreras / San Diego Union-Tribune)

On Nov. 8, as Californians sparked up to celebrate the Golden State’s newfound freedom to consume cannabis legally, the minds behind True North Tavern decided it was high time to introduce San Diego to a brand-new type of beverage.

Dan Sutherland, True North’s in-house alchemist, recounts the hazy origin of Prop. 64, the first cannabis-infused cocktail in the city.

“The Prop. 64 story began with bartenders Christine Briggs, Amy Adams and myself at the drawing table ... the one with all the condensation circles, if you catch my drift,” Sutherland said. “We started talking about the election, then got into Prop. 64, legal mumbo-jumbo and, finally, CBD oil. Before I knew it, we were slamming our drinks on the table, demanding that we be the first in San Diego to use CBD in a drink. Then some stuff happened, I think, and now here we are. We couldn’t be more proud.”

CBD, or cannabidiol, is a chemical compound found in marijuana. Although it is similar to its cousin tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, in how it affects the body, CBD lacks psychoactive properties, so it doesn’t get you high. It’s similar to how decaffeinated coffee offers health benefits but doesn’t provide the jolt most java addicts crave.

To prepare a Prop. 64, Sutherland mixes Nolet’s Gin with his homemade Amarillo hop bitters in a shaker, then adds an egg white, lime simple syrup and Chareau aloe liqueur. He then shakes the drink well before adding ice, and then gives it another quick shake. Finally, he pours the concoction into a Champagne coupe and drizzles in a few drops of CBD. The finished product, which is a beauty to behold, also offers an unmistakable scent.

“The idea was to capture a natural and earthy smell,” Sutherland said. “Think Phish concert.”

Although it’s been available for only a few weeks, Prop. 64 has already created a devoted following. Sutherland admits, however, that the drink’s success wasn’t guaranteed.

“I was terrified at first about how the North Park community would receive this beverage,” he said. “But we made a promo video and, boy, did it go viral. Everyone and their stoney mom began sharing it.”

Get Mom to drop the bong, then head to True North for this uplifting new cocktail. And don’t forget to sip, sip, pass.

True North Tavern, 3815 30th St., North Park,