On a recent wild mushroom forage in the foothills of the Canadian Rocky Mountains, I found myself walking amongst the tall pines, that were creaking and waving back and forth. While scanning the low laying forest floor for wild mushrooms I came across a wild juniper bush. It was a dense shrub with sharp evergreen needles; the berries or modified cones are often used in pâtés, terrines, and Autumn-style dishes, and is one of the main botanicals in the production of the alcohol spirit gin. This particular juniper bush was studded with berries in all stages of ripeness – when they are dark purple with blue hues, they’re at their ripest and will have the most flavor.
I picked a few of the berries (taking care not to get poked by the sharp protective spines) and rubbed them between my fingers to release their beautiful scented oils. In fact, the aroma was very similar to a freshly ground bud of cannabis! Juniper berries contain limonene, one of the more well-known terpenes because of its distinct citrus scent. I picked a few more berries from the shrub and placed them in my basket, ruminating on how I could use these in a cannabis-inspired recipe.
It wasn’t long before I had the idea for a refreshing summer drinkable made with a cannabis-infused juniper syrup along with a puree of watermelon, strawberry, and cucumber with the mint and citrus. This cannabis drinkable is easy to make and is the perfect way to relax after a long day of hiking or foraging.
If watermelon is not your favourite, you could try something a little spicier with this cannabis infused jalapeño ginger lemonade.
You will need:
1 tbsp fresh juniper berries – ½ tbsp if using dried berries from a spice shop
¼ cup white sugar
½ cup cold water
1 zest of lemon
1 zest and juice from a medium size navel orange
1 ml grape seed oil infused with a cannabis strain high in limonene = 30mg*
1/8 tsp xanthan gum
You will need:
1.5 cup watermelon
¾ hulled red ripe strawberries
1/3 cup peeled cucumber
2 leaves of mint
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 pinch sea salt
Orange sugar rim
You will need:
1 zest of orange
4 tbsp sugar
2 pinch salt
Zest orange into bowl, then add the sugar and salt, mixing until the sugar becomes orange from the zest.
To assemble the drinkable, you will need:
4 short cocktail glasses
4 cups crushed ice
Dip the edge of the short cocktail glass into the juniper syrup then dredge in the orange sugar. Rotate the glass to make an even layer around the entire rim. Repeat for all four glasses.
Fill each glass with ½ cup-crushed ice. Add 2 tbsp of juniper syrup to each cup, followed by 4 oz of watermelon base. Garnish with a juniper sprig, mint, or fresh cannabis leaves.
*Cannabis doses vary based on personal preference. This dose is not a recommendation on behalf of Zenabis. For more information on dosing, remember to “start low and go slow” and reference Health Canada for Guidance.