Wine & Weed Dinner Tasting Party: Create an Exceptional Event With Our Guide
Even though pot is still illegal nationally, its cachet has soared. Pot went from sloppy joints and smelly bongs to Rodeo Drive-style weed stores and Tiffany-imaged products.
Cannabis sommeliers and connoisseurs are even a thing, fashioned after the wine industry. Pairing wine, cannabis and cuisine is the newest trend.
But pulling it off isn’t as simple as a can of wine, a joint, and a box of Krispy Kreme donuts. Before starting down this road, you should get educated about how these elements best work together. Mixing alcohol and marijuana can create some interesting interactions.
Think about getting some expert advice when first starting out. A good rule to remember is to be in the know, start low, and go slow. And, whatever you do, know the laws surrounding cannabis in your state and jurisdiction.
With education and preparation, you can create an amazing wine, weed, and cuisine experience. Here’s a guide to get you started including a suggested menu.
The World of Weed
Pot has grown up, becoming as sophisticated as wine. Wine and marijuana connoisseurs discuss terroir, clones, cultivation, production methods, and more.
New lingo includes such terms as ganjier and cannasseur. A ganjier is a cannabis expert with production expertise. A cannasseur consumer knows all about weed’s flavors. Interpeners and weed somms teach about terpenes, the compounds that create the plant’s aromas and flavors.
Some winemakers are getting into the pot business by producing their own weed. Others add it to their wine. CBD and THC wines tend to have little or no alcohol and low doses of active ingredients.
Wine sommeliers, cannabis professionals, and chefs are banding together to combine these specialties into new experiences. Many elite restaurants craft expensive private pairing dinners.
If you want to create your own experience, the only limit is your imagination (well, and the law.)
Be in the Know
- Understand the law. Pot is still illegal federally and states have different restrictions. You don’t want you and your guests to end up in jail.
- Serve only properly tested products. Look for the Certificate of Analysis (COA) or third-party testing results.
- Educate your guests. Set expectations and explain dosages. Most people don’t know much about pot or the interaction with alcohol. Prioritize moderation.
Start the evening with weed first to allow time for your guests to experience the effects. Smoking and vaping have more rapid onset than consuming cannabis in food.
Marijuana consumed as edibles or infused in food passes through the digestive system. Onset takes 1-2 hours and lasts up to 3 hours or more.
Smoking and vaping work through the bloodstream. The effect is faster (almost immediate) but not as a long lasting. But smoking can depress the palate so it impacts the flavors of wine and food.
Interactions depend on each person’s body chemistry, sensitivity, and experience level, plus the type of meal and the wines served. Wines with higher alcohol can multiply the effects of pot.
Guests should know what type and variety of pot you’ll be serving and its impact, which is determined by the phytocannabinoid and terpene profile of the strain.
- Indica strains generate calm and relaxation in mind and body
- Sativa strains energize, stimulate, enhance mood
- Hybrids combine both
Choosing which strain depends on the environment you want to create. High or low energy? Laid back or more engaged? Overdoing it could have people falling asleep or bouncing around your living room.
Watch out for what is called a “crossfade” high. This is when someone is drunk + stoned. Be prepared by keeping some high CBD on-hand, which can lessen or offset some of the high.
Prepare a Comfortable Environment
The perfect tasting dinner party showcases how these three elements elevate the experience together. Provide guests the right environment and guide them.
Tell them what to expect:
- People: who and how many people
- Wine: grape varietals, styles, and alcohol levels
- Marijuana: strains, dosages, how served (inhaled, infused, etc.)
- Meal: what will be served and how
When they arrive, let them know you have a separate space available if someone starts feeling uncomfortable.
Marrying wine, weed, and cuisine can be magical when done with care. The potential for pairings is literally unlimited. Both wine and weed have wide ranging aromas and flavors that engage all the senses.
According to Jamie Evans, founder of The Herb Somm and Certified Specialist of both wine and weed, the most important factor when pairing cannabis and wine together is to focus on the terpene profiles. Her amazing pairing guide will help anyone put together a successful wine and weed dinner. She developed the BITE philosophy of Balance, Intention, Taste, and Enjoy to craft the perfect experience.
A simple rule is to match the terpenes in the cannabis with the aromas and flavors in the wine and food.
- White and lighter bodied wines and seafood with energizing cannabis strains rich in limonene, ocimene, or other uplifting terpenes
- Heavier red wine and meats with relaxing or bold cannabis strains rich in myrcene, beta-caryophyllene, or other relaxing terpenes
- Sparkling wines and Rosé offer the most versatility.
Consider hiring a chef for your first event. But, if you are going to cook, learn how cannabis works under heat because you could change the impact of the THC without knowing.
Jamie suggests treating cannabis as a gourmet ingredient to enhance the dinner party experience.
If you want to infuse the food, consider dips, sauces, oils, dressings, and other condiments instead of the main dish so people can control how much they take. If someone doesn’t want to imbibe, they don’t have to. Karli Warner, co-founder and CMO of The Garden Society, suggests using tinctures for infusing.
You can buy already infused products such as olive oil, honey, sugar, or butter and remove some of the guesswork.
With wine, low tannin, easy drinking reds work well when smoking. Think carbonic maceration Cru Beaujolais or partial whole cluster Syrah or Gamay. Stronger strains can take on bigger reds like Cabernet Sauvignon, Zinfandel, or Nebbiolo.
Sweet desserts pair well with Riesling or Ice wine and sweeter cultivars of pot. Infused desserts or edibles with chocolate are great with Bordeaux-style red blends.
The Perfect Wine & Weed Dinner Party
For a dinner party you’ll never forget, this four-course menu has it all. Appetizing and irresistible, this menu will make your wine, weed, and cuisine experience sing.
Hybrid Lemon Kush cannabis infused citrus vinaigrette over lemon-thyme roasted golden beets paired with Sancerre or Albariño.
The richness of the beets paired with the citrusy vinaigrette lifts your palate. The Sancerre blends it all together and sets your dinner on the right track.
Caramelized mixed mushrooms and shallots sauteed in indica White Widow cannabis infused olive oil or butter, served with an old-world Pinot Noir or Grenache.
The sweet richness of the caramelized mushrooms and shallots are enhanced by earthy White Widow cannabis. Adding an earthy old-world Grenache elevates the dish while the pot puts you in a mellow state to enjoy.
Szechuan Ribeye Steaks made with hybrid Stir Fry cannabis infused olive oil and infused honey served with a peppery Zinfandel or Syrah.
Flavor, flavor, flavor. Wake up your taste buds with a bit of Asian spice. Stir Fry is the perfect match, bringing spicy black pepper and Chinese five-spice flavors to your steak. Your mellow high will keep going.
DessertCannabis infused chocolate. Try Kiva Confections Terra Blueberry Bites with a red blend or, for something more soothing, Garden Society Milk Chocolates with Sea Saltwith Riesling to prepare for a good night’s rest.
This dinner will leave you happy, satisfied, oh so relaxed, yet clear enough to make your way home and prepare the coffee pot before bed.