Jamie Evans, aka The Herb Somm, is a trained wine scholar turned cannabis connoisseur. She was in the beverage industry for over 10 years and used marijuana recreationally but never considered it as a career path until she witnessed a tragic car accident. The mental image of the accident kept her up at night, but Evans was averse to taking sleeping pills. It was cannabis that helped her get some rest. She gained a new respect for the plant and its functional applications.
This newfound admiration aligned with culturally pervasive women-in-weed conferences in the Bay Area, which eventually led to a career change. In 2017, Evans started her blog, theherbsomm.com, where she combined cannabis with gourmet food and drinks, interviewed famous cannabis chefs, and launched canna-infused dinner parties. She’s also a member of Crop-to-Kitchen, an advocacy group working to nationally legalize cannabis cuisine in bars and restaurants.
Transitioning into the professional world of cannabis wasn’t too much of a stretch for the Wine Enthusiast 40 Under 40 entrepreneur, who represents the classy, intellectual aspect of the industry that looks nothing like the crunchy stoner stereotype.
“The culinary, gourmet side of cannabis felt very natural,” she says. Evans mentions many people assume using cannabis in food and drinks is too complicated. It prevents people from trying it out, like a Baby Boomer’s trepidation to PowerPoint. Combining cannabis in a meal is done in the same way you combine wine into a meal,” she says.
You hear the terpene-terroir connection in the way aficionados discuss cannabis just like they would a bold Grenache. Only trained palates that studied a flavor wheel could capture the turf notes of dry hops or the citrus hints of bergamot from boutique strains.
“Even talking to cannabis farmers, they talk the same way as grape farmers,” she adds. “There are so many parallels.”
Evans recently released two books, Cannabis Drinks and The Ultimate Guide to CBD, back-to-back. While some of her recipes include alcohol, like her CBD-ellini, most of her beverages are spirit-free mixed drinks.
“Both are very intoxicating substances, so it’s all about taking a low dose approach,” she says. “I never want to encourage people to mix the two to get wasted. That’s not what it’s about. It’s more about combining flavors that enhance the cocktails.”
In her books, she teaches her readers how they can make their own cannabis bitters with flower. This way they can create drinks based on the terpene profiles.
Her main tip: “When you are crafting these cannabis drinks, always keep the sensory component in mind,” she says. “It’s just like crafting any recipe. You’re just adding cannabis as an additional flavor or aroma.”
Evans’ recipes are always low dose, no more than 5 milligrams for a weed infusion, and around 15 to 20 for a CBD infusion. When using a CBD tincture, she suggests blending, muddling, or using a shaker tin to emulsify the CBD into the drink.
“I prefer unflavored full spectrum CBD tinctures because that allows you to integrate CBD into the drink without having these overpowering lemon or lavender flavors,” she says. “The more neutral, the better when it comes to mixing it in with a drink.”
We asked Evans for a summer CBD cocktail recipe and she gave us the details on how to make one of her recent creations, a CBD-infused Mixed Berry Mule. Our inexperienced hands gave it a shot, which you can see in the video below. It may lack the grace and sophistication that it would have if Evans made it herself, but the bubbly cocktail still tasted fruity, juicy, spicy, and delicious. Here’s how to make it on your own.
CBD Tincture Mixed Berry Mule
1 large strawberry, cut into quarters
3 to 4 fresh raspberries
3 to 4 fresh blackberries
1-ounce fresh-squeezed lime juice
½-ounce simple syrup (optional, if you prefer a sweeter drink)
1-ounce premium vodka (optional)
1 dropperful (or your preferred dose) unflavored CBD tincture
Ginger beer, to top and fill mug (Evans recommends Q Ginger Beer)
Garnish with a lime round and fresh berries
- Combine the strawberries, raspberries, blackberries, fresh-squeezed lime juice, simple syrup (if using), vodka (if using), and CBD tincture in the bottom of a shaker tin.
- Muddle the ingredients together until the berry juices release, then add ice.
- Shake for 15 seconds, then fine strain over a copper mug, making sure to remove all solids and seeds.
- Fill the copper mug with crushed ice, then top with ginger beer, slowly pouring until the mug is full.
- Give the drink a few stirs using a bar spoon.
- Garnish with a lime round and fresh berries.