A good host doesn’t sweat the small stuff and actually enjoys cooking for friends — but a bold host throws cannabis dinner party. Indeed, cannabis cuisine is not for the timid. You’re either going to be responsible for taking your guests on a smooth sail to outer space… or hurtling them headlong into a black hole of couch-lock and paranoia. But with the right approach and some extra prep work, the truth is that anyone can pull off a fabulous cannabis dinner party.
How to Host an Epic Cannabis-Infused Dinner Party
Test Your Batch
The most important thing you can do to ensure perfect cannabis cuisine is test your cannabutter beforehand for potency, using yourself as a subject. You can give your cannabutter a proper run-through by using your batch of cannabutter in a couple meals for yourself in the days leading up to your dinner party, starting with a ¼ tsp to ½ tsp per serving and working up to 1 tsp (or more) to see how you feel.
The following recipes assume that 1 tsp of cannabutter is enough for you to gently feel the effects of the course being served, with the idea that you’ll be high and satiated by the end of dinner. “Always remember that people like to eat and high people like to EAT, so making the whole batch really mild means you can really eat it all,” says Danielle Guercio, an experienced cannabis dinner party host based in Manhattan. If your cannabutter is more concentrated than you need it to be for these recipes, cut it accordingly.
Cannabis Dinner Party With Herbaceous Grapefruit Fizz, Cannabuttery Crab Crostini, One-Pot Dijon Chicken Thighs, and Dank Dark Chocolate Pudding
Here’s a game plan for a cannabis dinner party that’s easy on the host and decadent for the guests. You’ll need about a stick’s worth of cannabutter as well as a bottle of tincture to pull this cannabis dinner party together. Pro tip: Keep a kettle of CBD tea like High Tea on hand, or even CBD tincture, in case any of your guests are starting to feel the negative effects of THC; the CBD will help to moderate feelings of anxiety or paranoia.
The Aperitif: Herbaceous Grapefruit Fizz
This aperitif is adapted from a mocktail recipe from The Merrythought.
3 parts grapefruit juice
2 parts rosemary simple syrup*
2 parts lemon-lime soda
1 part lime juice
1 pull of tincture per serving
*To make the rosemary simple syrup, bring 6-8 rosemary springs and one cup each of sugar and water to a boil over medium heat until sugar dissolves completely, then remove from heat and allow rosemary to infuse into the syrup as it cools. Store refrigerated in a glass container for up to two to three weeks.
Combine everything except for the club soda in a large pitcher, stirring well to ensure even distribution of the ingredients. Upon serving, top with a splash of club soda and garnish with a twist of grapefruit zest.
For your aperitif, look to a vegetable glycerin-based tincture derived from an energizing, appetite-inducing strain like GSC, or better yet, Sour Kush; tinctures will hit your guests faster than edibles, so this is a nice way to offer your guests their first dose of cannabis for the evening. In addition to your mocktail, if you’d like to serve alcohol at your dinner party, Guercio advises sticking to wine and beer. “Alcohol is fine when you keep it chill, but it can magnify the effects of THC up to three times in some people.”
The Appetizer: Cannabuttery Crab Crostini
This appetizer recipe is adapted from The Spruce and serves 6 – 8.
2 tablespoons cannabutter
6 tablespoons regular butter
2 teaspoons minced garlic
8 ounces good quality crabmeat
2 tablespoons chopped parsley
8 thick slices Italian bread
Freshly-ground black pepper
Preheat broiler in oven. Melt butter over medium-low heat, then add garlic. Cook for about a minute until just aromatic, then remove from heat. Gently stir in crabmeat, parsley, and black pepper. Arrange bread on a baking sheet then toast both sides beneath the broiler. When toasted, top with crabmeat mixture and a light coat of freshly-grated parmesan, returning to oven for a minute or two until cheese begins to melt.
This dish works well because it integrates the flavor of cannabis into your meal without being overpowering. “A mild butter will taste incredible with garlicky dishes where it’s a background flavor like other herbs,” says Guercio.
The Main: One-Pot Dijon Chicken Thighs
This recipe is adapted from the New York Times and serves 6 – 8.
8 bone-in, free-range chicken thighs
2 tablespoons flour
1 tablespoon each salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons cannabutter
12-15 whole medium shallots, peeled
2 cups white wine
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
2 sprigs tarragon
Sprinkle both sides of chicken thighs with flour, salt, and pepper. Melt butter in large, heavy-bottomed pot over medium-high heat. When butter begins to foam, brown chicken thighs on all sides, working in batches if pot isn’t large enough for all the thighs to have ample contact with the hot butter. Remove chicken from pot when well-browned and set aside. Carefully add shallots into pot and cook for about 10 minutes until they begin to caramelize. Deglaze pot with wine, then add chicken and remaining ingredients into pot, stirring to combine mustard, wine, and juices from chicken. Reduce heat and simmer, covered with lid, for 30 minutes. Remove lid and cook for another 20 minutes, allowing liquid to reduce and thicken. Serve with rice, quinoa, or simply bread.
The Dessert: Dank Dark Chocolate Pudding
This recipe is adapted from the New York Times and serves 8.
5 cups half-and-half or whole milk
1 cup sugar
Big pinch of salt
2 tsp vanilla extract
6 tbsp cornstarch
4 oz bittersweet cocoa powder
2 tbsp cannabutter
Heat 4 cups of half-and-half or whole milk, sugar, and salt in large saucepan or pot over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally. In the meantime, whisk remaining cup of milk with cornstarch in a bowl until smooth. When mixture in pot just begins to steam, add in cornstarch mixture. Stir occasionally until mixture begins to simmer (about 5 minutes) and immediately reduce heat to the lowest it goes. From there, stir constantly as pudding reduces and thickens (about 5 minutes again). Before removing from heat, add vanilla extract, cocoa powder, and cannabutter. Divide evenly among eight serving-sized bowls or cups, then cover and refrigerate until chilled. Top with whipped cream.
Note: The aperitif can be batched out before your guests arrive, and the crab topping for the appetizer can be combined earlier in the day until you’re ready to toast the crostini. The dessert will need to be made earlier in the day or even the night before, as it will have to chill. As for the main dish, you’ll want to start that within an hour of your guests’ arrival so that you’ll have some time to brown the chicken in peace; once the rest of the dish is assembled, it can stay warming on the stove until you’re ready to serve.
“Treat the whole affair like a long, luxurious, outdoor lunch in Europe rather than a frenzied late New York Brunch that ends at the dive bar,” Guercio reminds all future cannabis dinner hosts. “It’s ok to indulge deeply from time to time as long as no one is getting hurt, including yourself!”
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