Buzz: Elevated Spirits

The days of searching for a well-made cocktail in the sky or on a cruise are over—at least if these three are setting the tone for what’s to come.

Published: 9/01/2019

Spirit in the Sky

The days of searching for a well-made cocktail in the sky or on a cruise are over—at least if these three are setting the tone for what’s to come.


Hawaiian Airlines

The spirits of the islands arrive on the spirited Hawaiian airline, accompanied by tropical flavors like coconut, guava, ginger, and preserved plum. 

Mai Tais, Li Hing Gimlets, and Tropical Landings come pre-mixed with top-shelf Cruzan rums and Larios gin with On The Rocks (OTR) Premium Cocktails.


Holland America

Wheels up. Famed bartender Dale DeGroff is known as King Cocktail. Now, he’s Captain Cocktail, unveiling 7 boozy wonders to enjoy.

Degroff partners with Milk & Honey startender Enzo Enrico to offer cutting-edge drinks like Strange Brew, Penicillin, Red Hook, and other craft cocktails


Virgin Atlantic

It’s not quite virgin, but close: a new batch of delicious, low-alcohol vermouth-based drinks to sip mid-flight.

The stars of the NoLo (no- and low-alcohol) menu are Seedlip, the first distilled nonalcohol spirit, and Real Rouge vermouth


A Port of Call

Portugal continues to capture attention of the wine-drinking public, from the lively Vinho Verdes to the full-bodied Touriga Nacional. Particularly alluring in the fall and winter is the UNESCO-listed Douro Valley, a favorite for its rivers, ancient stone-walled vine terraces, and the ultimate fortified accompaniment to dessert, Port. Author J.K. Rowling once taught English in Porto, the launching point for port-hopping and for the unusual architecture at Quinta da Pacheca in Cambres village. The 18th-century estate-turned-hotel opened standalone wine-barrel rooms made of pine and large enough to sleep, shower, and get toasty in.


The Green Party

The Herb Somm lets guests experience a new kind of dining.


Jamie Evans is tall, blond, and gregarious. She floats around a San Francisco Victorian mansion greeting arrivals with an Orange Blossom and Berry Spritzer. The cocktail is spiked with 1 milligram of THC, the psychoactive compound in cannabis. Evans is exactly the type, on the face of it, that you’d never suspect of inhaling. Yet, here she is, Herb Somm, hosting buzzy get-togethers like “Thursday Infused” and “Feast of the Flower,” a wine-food-cannabis pairing meant to introduce foodies to the flavors of the flower. With 10 states and the District of Columbia passing laws legalizing recreational marijuana use, it’s people like Evans—fresh, articulate—who are needed to change the stoner-reputation of cannabis. A wine industry veteran, Evans created these parties to draw parallels between wine, food, and marijuana, thereby elevating that last component. She calls it “the new era of dining.”


Any advice for people trying cannabis for the first time at a hosted dinner?  

Jamie: In general, the saying is go low, start slow. 2.5 mg of THC is a good starting level. That will give you some euphoria without being overwhelming. Also know that CBD can enhance or inhibit some prescribed medications. THC can as well but not to the extent of CBD. 


Why dinner parties?

J: I think there’s a good synergy between food, wine, and cannabis because they all have terpenes (aromatic plant oils). At these dinners, we use wine as an accent piece. We find that people understand cannabis better when it is compared to wine and food. 


We keep hearing that pot isn’t the same as it was. Has it really changed over the past 20 years? 

J: It has. You know what you’re getting in edibles. Cannabis brands are intensely tested. We also are getting to know the people who grow the plants. It’s more transparent.


What do you see as the future of cannabis tourism?

J: It will get bigger. Cannabis tourism boards are trying to develop licenses to bring visitors to farms. It’s the same concept as visiting a winery. You’ll get to explore the romance, the process. There will be a rise of cannabis restaurants. We’re a couple years from seeing “tasting centers,” but when we do, it’ll happen in Sonoma or Mendocino first. Flow Kana in Mendocino is working on a type of visitor center, the Flow Kana Institute. It used to be an old winery, and it’s not open to the public yet. 


Dip into cannabis:

1. In her newsletter, The Herb Somm announces canna-culinary parties that sell out in a blink.

2. Pick the right dispensary to learn. Some may be intimidated by dispensaries. Truly, though, everyone is friendly. Evans recommends Solful in Sebastopol (Sonoma County). It is outstanding and educational.

3. Take a tour of the farms. Sonoma Valley’s Happy Travelers Tours introduces participants to the growers. The Weed-and-Wine diversion includes lunch.

4. At the chic Farmhouse Inn in Sonoma County, cannabis education is now an amenity, with interested guests paired with a Solful consultant. Farmhouse also sells CBD-infused bath bombs to use in soaking tubs, offers a CBD massage, and will customize spa treatments.

As seen in the issue Harvest 2019 of Touring & Tasting Magazine.