Terpene-Infused Cocktails & Gourmet Cooking? The Possibilities are Endless

Terpenes are rapidly gaining popularity as an ingredient among foodies and upscale establishments all over the West coast

Every year, chefs and enthusiasts around the world continue to experiment with new techniques and ingredients, taking the food and drink industry to new heights. Two such trailblazers are chefs Noah Tucker and Anthony Joseph. They’ve taken skills gained from working in Michelin star kitchens to put together a haute cuisine cookbook, with organic drugs and hallucinogens being used like regular ingredients. The results of their consultancy work can be experienced first hand in upper tier hotels and restaurants across Amsterdam.

In recent years, the concept of “high dining” has started to pick up on the West coast, primarily LA. It should come as no surprise, given the population’s growing interest in marijuana. A number of pop-up shops and restaurants are now incorporating different cannabis strains into their cooking, to give their food a twist of unique flavoring while providing their patrons with a good high post-meal.

THC Does the Job; Terpenes Shape the High

There are those who want to take high dining to the next level by incorporating isolated terpenes into drinks and gourmet dishes. According to Brent Borrow, CEO and owner of Terp Science Labs, “Without terpenes, there would be no difference between indices, hybrids, etc. — it would just be THC.” Terpenes are basically the essential oils of plants. They are what provide aroma and flavor, two factors that bartenders and chefs play to. Along with using terpenes for taste and scent, their health benefits being infused into meals and drinks are an added bonus!

Because our sense of smell heavily affects our ability to taste, terpene scents are a big indicator of the flavor you can expect from them. Limonene is terpene that can be found in orange and lemon peels. This is probably one of the easiest to throw into drinks and dishes because of how complementary citrus is. It is also an antioxidant and can benefit bowel motility and digestion.

On the other hand, Linalool is considerably more challenging to work into things. Prank Bar owner, Dave Whitton, says “Just one drop can completely overwhelm a dish” with its floral lavender flavor. This terpene can be found in coriander, jasmine, and other similar spices and flowers. It’s associated with stress reduction and can be used as an analgesic or sedative. For some perspective, keep in mind that there are over 100 different terpenes in cannabis alone. With how many varieties of plants exist, imagine the endless flavor possibilities!

Though are so many different terpenes available, difficulty isn’t limited to complementary pairings but also how and when you add them. Terpenes are usually available as oil distillates, which can be limited by temperature. Most terpene cooks add them in at the end of preparation. This is especially important for food because the health benefits of terpenes diminish when exposed to temperatures above 140 degrees. However, creative minds are sure to find new workarounds for greater diversity in execution.

As the food & drink industry continues to experiment with terpenes, we can look forward to creations that are sure to satisfy flavor and health preferences. Public awareness is growing and in many places, health is shifting back toward nature. The varieties and health benefits are so numerous that you’re sure to find a terpene-infused cocktail or dish you’ll love.

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