With less than six months until recreational marijuana becomes fully legal in California, Aaron Silverman and Terrance Alan are getting a head start on their plans to transform the Castro's iconic Cafe Flore into San Francisco's first cannabis cafe, having recently introduced the city's first menu of cannabis-infused cocktails.
At their already-rebranded Flore, the pair intends to someday serve cannabis-infused foods, drinks and even allow smoking on site. But the dream may be months (or even years) in the making as statewide policies and regulations around rec consumption are still being ironed out. For now, they're testing the waters with a menu of cannabis-infused cocktails and mocktails; happy hour begins at 4:20pm, naturally.
This spring, Silverman and Alan tapped 1760 bar manager Chris Longoria to come up with a totally original menu of drinks, each infused with a five-milligram microdose of hemp-derived cannabidiol (CBD) and terpenes (the cannabis plant's fragrant oils that give each strain its distinctive aroma and flavor profile). The group also teamed with chemist Chris Emerson, cofounder of Level Blends vape cartridges, to create a CBD formula that is lab-tested for pesticides and pathogens—and potency..
If you're familiar with CBD, then you know these drinks won't get you high (that is, not from the cannabis anyway), but you may reap some of the many other benefits of CBD—it may brighten your mood by easing anxiety and depression, calm inflammation and joint pain, and soften sore muscles. (Here are some of our favorite California-made CBD goods.) Plus, you can say you had a cannabis cocktail, and we're sure you'll enjoy it too.
"We've carefully paired each cocktail with a strain-specific terpene," Silverman explains. "We wanted to pick up on some of those subtle flavor notes, as well as the scent. You can smell the drinks before you taste them, just like wine, to really get the entire bouquet."
Flore's happy hour menu has a whopping 11 CBD-infused cocktails, as well as four non-alcoholic mocktails, all infused with such favorite strains as Jack Herer, Sour Diesel, Gorilla Grape, Lemon Cookie, and OG Kush.
The Cinnamon Kissed Cherry (cinnamon-infused whiskey, Cherry Heering, Angostura bitters, cherry bitters, pineapple juice and lemon juice) infused with OG Kush is bright and fresh with a spicy sweetness balanced by the cherry bitters. The Sour Diesel-spiked Castro Cup (cucumber-infused whiskey, Pimm's No. 1, lemon juice and soda) is a pretty marigold color and tastes earthy and light. The blood orange mojito, Bloody Mary, and the non-alcoholic Thai tea were also standouts.
While bars and eateries in L.A. and beyond have been experimenting with weed-infused drinks for a while now, Flore's is the first menu of crafted cannabis cocktails in San Francisco (that we know of). "With legalization underway, it was important to us to become a part of the conversation when it comes to the intersection of food, alcohol and cannabis," Silverman says. "We chose to start easing our way in with drinks, but there's much more to come."
// Flore's happy hour is 4:20pm to 7:20pm weekdays; 2298 Market St. (Castro), flore415.com