During the Covid-19 lockdown, alcohol sales in the U. S. increased by 24 percent, and I know this figure is true, because I am responsible for 15 of those percentage points. Over the months, Martini Mondays begat ’Tini Tuesdays, which bled into Whydon’twehaveamartini Wednesdays. Then it was the weekend! My partner and I were drinking a lot, a day of low-key shame exchanged for maybe 45 minutes of chill.
But I live in California, where the horticultural know-how of Humboldt County has mingled with the capitalist spirit of Silicon Valley and has been launched into hyperdrive by L. A.’s insatiable demand for luxury shit. The result is groundbreaking new weed products. Among them, THC-infused beers, wines, and spirits, nonalcoholic drinks that offer anxiety relief without the uneasy aftermath (or the calories). I proposed it to my partner: What if, for one week, we swapped the happy-hour cocktails and dinnertime bottle of wine for their weed counterparts? A 21st-century Folgers Switch! He said no, but luckily for both of us I wasn’t listening, so we dived in.
The cocktails would center on Artet, the world’s first nonalcoholic THC aperitif. We went in at the entry level: the old ’Tet and tonic. The unmistakable whiff of weed was there but buried deep under citrus and ginger top notes. At a sensible THC microdose of 2.5mg per serving, these cocktails hit easy. They also hit quickly. Artet kicks in within 15 minutes, much like a cocktail cocktail, but it doesn’t loosen your lips the way booze does. It’s a more subtle, introspective kind of feeling, and then you’re back to normal in about 90 minutes. If you’ve been scarred by an edible that slapped you too hard too late, pick up a highball glass.
Cocktails out of the way, it was time to pair our dinner with a wine, so we opted for a red: Viv & Oak’s Shimmering Scarlett, a nonalcoholic wine from fermented grapes that packs an imposing 10mg of THC per serving. We each poured a half portion and sipped cautiously. The complexity of a good California wine was absent, and when we paired it with our soy-based Beyond Burger meat, the entire meal carried an overall tasting note of “almost.” But at 16 calories per serving, it’s close enough for the jazz you will begin to understand on a deeper level after one glass. And I do mean one glass. We simply stayed there for fear of getting a tiny bit too high and contemplating eternity.
We became more adventurous as the week went on, pairing Artet with kombucha and mint, with…
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