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Cannabis Drinks for Staying California Cool

Published on July 25, 2018 · Last updated July 28, 2020

Ed. note: The bevs in this article are all found in CA, but the advice herein is nationwide. Cheers!

Does the arrival of summer have you hankering for a refreshing beverage that’s non-alcoholic but still mind-bending?

Our official guide to California summertime cannabis-infused quenchers will give you plenty of alternatives. And if you bring a six pack of any of these beverages with you to a friend’s backyard BBQ, you’ll not only have your own needs covered, you’re pretty much guaranteed to make a few new friends.

Just don’t overdo it, which can be all-too-easy with edibles of any kind, and drinks especially.

Fortunately, there’s a wide variety of products available in a range of dosage levels, including single-serving drinks offering a total THC dose of 10 milligrams, and more potent potables that can run up to 100 milligrams per container.

So this summer, switch up your routine, avoid hangovers, and choose a new way to get lifted with these cannabis-infused beverages. And as always, know your limits, don’t drive after consuming cannabis, and don’t combine weed drinks with alcohol.

Please note: Cannabis-infused drinks can have a much quicker onset time than edibles. Some of the bev will absorb through the mucous membranes in your mouth, and the rest moves through your system more efficiently than solid food. Plan for 15-20 minute onset.

Manzanita & Madrone Ginger Beer

(Courtesy of Manzanita and Madrone)

10 mg of THC per bottle

We Love it With: A Backyard BBQ

Places to Buy It:Santa Cruz Mountain Naturals, Harvest on Gearyand Blum Oakland

Next time you’re casually socializing at a backyard BBQ, pop open a Manzanita & Madrone all-natural sodas and enjoy the spicy bite of real ginger instead of beer or wine. Manzanita & Madrone uses a supercritical CO2 extraction to process their ginger (much like how they distill their THC), which is then brewed with sugar, honey, citrus juices and quillaja bark into a truly craft (and truly “terpy”) beverage. The bold among us will likely be tempted to blend this into a Moscow Mule, but you should hold off on mixing in liquor at least until you’ve experienced this beverage on its own. You may find that Vodka is overkill.

Habit Crafted Sparkling Blood Orange

(Courtesy of Habit)

100 mg THC per bottle / 8 mg THC per 1 fluid ounce

We Love it With: Outdoor Movies

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Places to Buy It:Treehouse, Purple Lotus Patient Centerand Elevated San Francisco

Habit Crafted’s sophisticated soda bursts with real blood orange flavor while packing a potent THC punch. Sweetened with agave nectar, it’s delicious on its own, and perfect for mixing with other drinks (a good way to dilute its potency if you want a nice slow roll). The handsome glass bottle also comes with a handy resealable cap. Just use the graded lines on the side to measure out your dosage as a stand-alone treat, or pour one ounce of Habit into an 8 oz. glass of sparkling water mixed with lemon or lime juice to create a basic cannabis mocktail that’s micro dosed with THC.

Either way, it pairs very nicely with a DIY outdoor movie night at home. All you need is a carefully hung bedsheet and a digital projector to turn your backyard into a private, cannabis-friendly theater. And enough bottles to go around.

Mirth Provisions Legal Lemon Ginger

(Courtesy of Mirth Provisions)

20 mg THC per bottle

We Love it With: Floating Down a River

Places to Buy It:New Amsterdam, Airfield Supply, Elevated San Francisco

Floating slowly in an inner tube down a lazy river is already a beloved summer tradition, with popular destinations in California including the Eel, Russian, and American rivers. But how much nicer will that journey be if instead of drinking one (or two) too many beers, you stock your cooler with a few tasty legal THC beverages from Mirth Provisions instead?

With a helpful cap that measures out precise servings of 1.7 mg of THC per ounce, this is a drink that you can slowly sip on all day without worrying about going overboard. Combining lemon and ginger with CO2 extracted THC from an indica variety gives this crisp beverage a super relaxing effect that compliments a chill float session. Also available in Cherry, Pomegranate, or Cranberry flavors.

VCC Cannabis QuencherCBD Hibiscus

(Courtesy of VCC)

100mg CBD + 25mg THC

We Love it With: Disc Golf

Places to Buy It:Green Door, Harvest Off Mission, Mellow

Flinging discs all day at a world-famous disc golf course like DeLaveaga in Santa Cruz can really wrench your shoulders out of whack, so be sure to stretch beforehand and bring one of VCC’s CBD quenchers along to preempt any aches or pains.

With a 4:1 ratio of CBD to THC, this blend of hibiscus and black raspberry juice is free of any added sweeteners, so you get a small dose of euphoria buffered by the calmness of cannabidiol, all without risking a “sugar rush.” Helpful in relieving anxiety as well as inflammation, CBD is great for pairing with a sport that allows you to go at your own pace. And dosing is easy, as the bottle provides a demarcation line down the side that precisely measures the amount of cannabinoids you’re ingesting. Also, each capful delivers 2mg of CBD and .5 mg of THC, so you can go for a micro dose, or down 5 capfuls at once for a standard dose.

Tinley “Margarita”

(Courtesy of Tinley)

10 mg of THC

We Love it With: Chillin’ at the Beach

Places to Buy It:BARC – Beverly Alternative Relief, via delivery thru NUGG, 420 Central

Ever mixed up a batch of margaritas and wished they were powered by weed instead of booze? Your dreams have come true with Tinley’s single-serving, alcohol-free, ready-to-drink THC-infused version of that classic cocktail. Take it to the beach and marvel at the crisp lime and tequila flavor, minus the headaches and spins. With just 10 milligrams of THC derived from Pineapple Jack sativa, one bottle is considered a single serving and provides an uplifting buzz that won’t leave you feeling lost at sea.

Now, obviously, nobody can stop you from adding some actual tequila, but that doesn’t mean you should.

Dixie Elixirs’ Berry Lemonade

(Courtesy of Dixie Elixir)

100 mg THC per bottle / 6 mg THC per serving

We Love it With: Camping

Places to Buy It:The Green Cross, CalivaMonterey Bay Alternative Medicine

Camping is one of those summertime highlights you just can’t miss out on! Getting off the grid and into nature, sitting around the campfire fire, and sharing songs and stories with good friends brings joy to the heart and clarity to the mind.  And since you’re not driving anywhere, it’s also a perfect setting for enjoying one of Dixie Elixer’s highly potent, easy drinking cannabis-infused beverages.

Already one of Colorado’s leading edibles brands, Dixie has recently expanded to California, bringing with them their Berry Lemonade, which is made with real cane sugar for a classic lemonade taste. Each capful delivers 6 mg of THC, and goes down smooth all on its own, or you can mix it with iced tea to create an out-of-this-world berry-flavored Arnold Palmer.

California Dreamin’ Sparkling Juice

(Courtesy of California Dreamin’)

10 mg per bottle

We Love it With: Watching a Baseball Game

Places to Buy It:MagnoliaWellness, Barbary Coast, 7 Stars Holistic Healing Center

Take me out to the ball game, take me out to the crowd. Buy me some peanuts and cracker jacks … Then wash it all down with a California Dreamin’ Sparkling Juice, which provides a refreshing alternative to the typically alcohol-fueled culture around sports—whether you’re watching the Big Leaguers in a giant stadium or just hanging out at the park cheering on a friend’s co-ed rec league.

A low-dose blend of fruit juice, cannabis, and carbonation, the juices come in Tangerine, Grapefruit, Cranberry Apple, or Pomegranate. And whatever the flavor, you’re in for a fun, light buzz that will put a smile on your face without making you lose track of the score (or the inning, or who’s playing). Just make sure you keep an eye out for foul balls. And if you’re actually playing in the game, maybe wait to indulge until after the last out.

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Elise McDonough
Elise McDonough
Elise McDonough is a cannabis edibles expert and author of the Bong Appétit cookbook and The Official High Times Cannabis Cookbook, and Leafly's Product Specialist for Northern California. A veteran of the cannabis industry since 2002, McDonough has sampled over 500 edibles as a judge for the Cannabis Cup.
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