California’s best weed drinks of summer 2021

To all my fellow hot girls yearning for an eponymous summer celebration: get ready.

We may have suffered incompatible stress and trauma over the last year, lost our sense of time, and maybe lost our jobs, but we will always be hot. You’re hot! So are you. And so is she. We are hot, and we deserve to revel in it. And we all know, hot girls love their cold beverages.

Last year, when hot girl summer had been all but cancelled in order to, you know, save lives, I wrote an article about the best marijuana drinks to sip in the sun, or just shotgun while coping with the uncertainty (and monotony) of life with nowhere to go. It was a lot of fun, and it kept both myself and many others away from the alcohol cabinet in a year with alarming liver damage rates, especially among young women. Hot girls need healthy livers!

So I’m back on the beat to bring you what many euphoric happy hours bright me: a definitive selection of hot girl-approved drinks, for hotties all across the libation spectrum. Need a spritzer? I got you. White Claw upgrade? Duh! Want to try different cannabinoids and different doses? It’s all here, girl! And I should add, to be a hot girl is a state of mind, so there’s no stopping you from having the best sip of your life.

As Robert Davis, co-founder of ALT put it, “beverages are the future of cannabis: the most approachable way to consume and connect.”

So hot girls, listen up!

Starting slow

Now, if you’ve ever walked into your neighborhood dispensary or perused, say, Sava’s delivery menu online, you may have noticed that most cannabis beverages often don’t exceed 10 milligrams of THC, weed’s main active ingredient that lifts mood. Compared to a packet of gummies, or a chocolate bar, that may seem less than cost-effective, but keep in mind cannabis beverages are formulated differently in the body, which metabolizes liquids differently than solid food items. It may not seem like a lot, but with 21st century extraction technology, a little goes a long way.

ReCreate elixir

ReCreate (Courtesy ReCreate)
ReCreate (Courtesy ReCreate)

The Stanley brothers will go down in history for breeding what is life-saving medicine for many children across the U.S. today: Charlotte’s Web, named after Charlotte Figi, whose life was unfortunately cut short last year, but who remains an indefinite symbol for cannabis medicine and activism.

Jesse Stanley tells Leafly, “The industry has labeled cannabis either medical or recreational, and we think that’s not indicative of its use as ALL use is therapeutic in one way or another. We want to reframe how we engage with cannabis every single day.”

Besides CBD, they also produce edibles and tinctures that combine cannabinoids with adaptogens and other botanicals, like turmeric and echinacea, to suit both medicinal needs and various lifestyles. And now they have a cute little drink!

The sparkling Blueberry Mint Acai elixir is on the lower end of the drink spectrum—with equally tiny amounts of THC, as well as cannabis’ calming secondary ingredient CBD. At only 2.5 mg THC and 2.5 mg CBD, ReCreate’s ideal for those who may have never had their cannabis in liquid form. It’s what we call a microdose, so you may have to drink two or three to actively feel high but it’s also caffeinated with yerba mate, so sip slowly unless you want to be bouncing off the walls. Additionally, ReCreate will donate a portion of proceeds to Equality California and One Colorado.

Where to buy:

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Artet mixed drinks

(Courtesy Artet)
(Courtesy Artet)

Last year, Artet sought to switch up the aperitif game with their inaugural product, a low-dose cannabis cocktail companion with a bevy of botanical ingredients like ginger, chamomile, and juniper. Now that it’s summer and people are getting jabbed left and right (at least, they are here in the Bay Area), they don’t want to waste any time making their drinks when there are events to attend and other hotties to beguile. That’s my agenda. Enter the pre-mixed drinks, which according to Artet’s website were created by chance at a barbecue, and should be at all your subsequent meat grilling parties. Rather than grabbing a Buzzball at the corner store, grab yourself a pack of Artet premade canna cocktails, available in a Tea & Tonic and my favorite, the Rosemary Jane, which features grapefruit juice and rosemary simple syrup. A 1:1 blend of THC and CBD means you’ll feel good after one, but not too good. Plus it’s pink, a hot girl’s signature color.

Where to buy:

House of Saka Spark

House of Saka Spark (Courtesy House of Saka)
House of Saka Spark (Courtesy House of Saka)

Live resin-based edibles have proved themselves this last year as the superior choice for both patients in need of intense relief and those of us from whom one 10 mg dose of distillate simply won’t satisfy anymore. House of Saka founder Tracey Mason transitioned to cannabis after decades in the wine and spirit industry because she wanted to do something different and innovate beyond what a drink could be. That latest innovation is the House of Saka Spark, a sparkling chardonnay infused with 5 mg of strain-specific live resin, called Mimosa. The drink evokes hot girl brunch, hot girl picnics, hot girl beach days…I could go on. It’s delicious, imparts the giggles, and looks cute as hell. House of Saka also offers 750ml bottles of their classic “Pink” and “White” infused wines, for those that want to share.

“Everyone is so joyful to be around each other again,” says Mason, who identifies as a lesbian. “Alcohlol is really intertwined in gay culture. Giving our community an alternative that is safe, predictable, and consistent is a great way to do something that’s less destructive.”

Where to buy:

Amping it Up

Ok, now you’ve got your bearings, and want to feel that buzz on the first drink. Makes sense, the days are getting shorter now and there’s no sunshine to waste. These drinks are a little stronger, a little more bold, but nothing a hot girl, even in training, can’t handle. Worst case? A hot girl siesta.

CANN Hi Boys

I know Ellen is, like, cancelled now, but she did have a pretty funny story on her show about taking an edible and drinking a CANN. CANN, which is also queer-owned, came on the scene last year at a weird time; co-founders Jake Bullock and Luke Anderson wanted to switch up the beverage game and get people like themselves off of alcohol, which only became a bigger problem as the pandemic dragged on. Now that bars are open again, it can be tempting to return to your boozy watering hole of choice.

“Now as bars and restaurants are reopening, we’re seeing frustration that these drinks aren’t more available,” says Bullock. “This was a real shift in how consumers want to socialize.”

They’re having a great 2021 so far, with some new offerings. For CANN fans who guzzled their way through all the original formulas, they’ve extended their seasonal Cranberry Sage flavor, and have an exclusive flavor with Sava delivery. For those of us who graduated from the 2 mg THC, 4 mg CBD dose, the same flavors are now available in a Hi Boy, a taller 12 oz drink with a whopping 5 mg of THC, and no CBD, to amp up a parade, a comedy show, whatever’s popping that night. And don’t worry, their “Roadies” emulsion packets are still available, and fit in your bag.

Where to buy:

Malus ciders

(Courtesy Malus)
(Courtesy Malus)

Sour Diesel is one of my favorite strains, and should be one of yours, too. It’s a resilient sativa with depth, and whose flavor can veer from a straight “sour” to gassy, herbaceous and even a little sweet. Ergo, it’s a hot girl-approved strain and the perfect companion to a cannabis cider, at least according to Austin Stevenson of Vertosa, who Harmony Craft Beverages partnered with for the infusion of their new drinkable offering. Made with Sour Diesel terpenes and live resin THC, the Malus ciders offer a distinctly sativa experience thanks to the synergy of terps and cannabinoids known as the entourage effect. And relax, anxious hot girls, there’s only 3 mg of THC, so you won’t risk a panic attack and ruining your makeup by cracking one open.

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Gem + Jane

(Courtesy Gem+Jane)
(Courtesy Gem+Jane)

Niche cannabinoids like CBN, delta-8 THC and THCV are having a moment. Granted, delta-8 has run into some controversy in a couple states and may no longer be legally available in cannabis products, but as the research piles up, it’s clear that THC and CBD are done hogging the spotlight. Gem + Jane, from the CannaCraft umbrella, are brand spankin new, but you wouldn’t be able to tell; these drinks don’t play. These seltzer-like drinks come in a handful of very, shall we say, millennial flavors like Strawberry Hibiscus and my favorite, Yuzu Raspberry Rose, and two distinct formulas. Some flavors feature THCV as the star, a cannabinoid known for its cerebral and energizing effects, while others have delta-8 THC at the center for a vibe that’s more subdued. As someone who can eat 50 mg of gummies without passing out, I was pleasantly surprised by how clearly I felt the high, particularly with the THCV-based drinks. Good things can come in low-dose packages!

Where to buy:

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Mad Lilly spritzers

(Courtesy Mad Lily)
(Courtesy Mad Lilly)

To be a hot girl is a vibe, a state of mind; your physical flesh prison is hot as long as you say so, no one else. However, hot girls are naturally drawn to hot aesthetics, aesthetics that compliment them, so to speak. And these are hot. Mad Lilly calls their line of fruity cannabis beverages “spritzers,” minus the white wine. The bottle, while the same shape as a brewski, are, as I would say “hella cute,” and color coordinated to each flavor, which include Ginger Pear, Raspberry Hibiscus and Passion Fruit Mango. Yum! At only 5 mg THC and 5 mg CBD, a cold Drink Lily won’t have you laid out or super amped, but you may feel just a little more like jelly than you did before you started sipping.

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Heavy Pour

I find most higher-dose (see: 100 mg) cannabis drinks a deplorable offense to my taste buds and impossible to dose, no matter what the label says. That being said, many of us can probably handle 10 mg or more, and there are a couple companies who’ve mastered how to make the strong stuff taste and feel good.

Tomato Jane

(Courtesy Van Doran)
(Courtesy Van Doran)

Yes, Bloody Mary hot girls, there is something savory here for your salty palates. Edibles as a whole tend to skew sweet, and the fats in baked goods and chocolates bind well with cannabutter or an oil-based infusion, but it can sometimes feel like you’re actively pursuing a cavity while trying to catch a buzz. Beverages fare a little better, but there’s only so many weed-infused White Claw alternatives, sodas and juices you can drink before they all start to taste like sweet, sweet bubbly water. If you prefer celery to strawberry, then Van Doran’s Tomato Jane is for you! It’s only 10 mg of THC, so it won’t have you any more sideways than a regular Bloody Mary, but you will likely feel much better the next day.

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Wunder Higher Vibes

(Courtesy Wunder)
(Courtesy Wunder)

Be warned: these thangs are carbonated. So if you, like me, picked one up from the local dispo and walked all the way home jangling it in your purse, it’s very likely it will explode upon opening. Luckily, the new higher-dose Wunders, known as Higher Vibes (love it) can still get you buzzed at only ⅔ capacity. They each contain 10 mg of both delta-9 and delta-8 THC for a body and brain buzz, available in the same flavors as the original line. The Blood Orange Bitters cans I’ve been sipping before my evening hot girl walk have been sneaking up on me, causing my stroll to feel more like floating, in the best way. They evoke a cooler, more stoned version of a San Pellegrino.

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Pure Beauty Little Strong Drink

OK, I lied! There is one hella strong cannadrink that I like, and my favorite thing about it is how little it is. Pure Beauty is known for its potent flower and sustainable growing methods (they use water collected from the air!), but they also created a drinkable grenade for those who seek a one-and-done kind of night. The Little Strong Drink is 100 mg of live resin THC in a 2oz bottle of what tastes like mulled grape juice, with cardamom and ashwagandha, a stress hormone-fighting plant that’s popular in Ayurvedic medicine. They have a cautious dosing guide and recommend using the cap for a specific milligram, but isn’t it fun to leave it up to chance sometimes?

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Honorable mentions:

ALT

(Courtesy ALT)
(Courtesy ALT)

Not seeing something you like here? No worries. If you have a beverage of choice but no one seems to be making the cannabis rendition, you can make your own. It may look like you’re just carrying a case of small vials of water with you, but this is special, nano-emulsion water. ALT, which stands for Advanced Liquid Technology, is a cut above the THC powders and mixables that popped up in shops and social media feeds last year. It’s a flavorless colorless liquid you can throw back like a shot or incorporate into your beverage (or for example, salad dressing) of choice hot or cold, morning brew to night cap. ALT is sold in singles or packs of five in either a 5 mg or 10 mg THC dose, with plans to start adding other botanicals and adaptogens, to curate specific experiences. So if you need an extra 30 mg, no judgement.

Leilo Kava drink

(Courtesy Leilo)
(Courtesy Leilo)

There’s no weed in Leilo’s Kava, but the effect can be analogous, and the hype is real. Cannabis isn’t the only thing people like to science into a consumer-ready product, and hot girls aren’t big on being tied to one option. Leilo’s founder Sol Broady was on vacation with his family in the Pacific Islands when he first tasted kava, a plant and drink popular in Tonga, Fiji and the Marquesas islands, known for its semi-intoxicating effects and medicinal value. Its name literally translates to bitter, so it can be tricky getting Kava to taste good, though my hot girl tastebuds were not disappointed. There is a little earthy aftertaste when sipping one of these sparkling, fruity bevs, but I’d say it actually suits the lemon ginger option. There’s definitely a little buzz going on after half a can, but while it’s not a weed feeling per se, it mellowed me out like some CBN-heavy indica. Worth a try if you love the power of plants and want something new.

Amelia Williams

Freelance cannabis journalist Amelia Williams is a long-time budtender and graduate of San Francisco State University’s journalism program. Williams has contributed to the San Francisco Chronicle’s GreenState, MG Magazine, Culture Magazine, Cannabis Now, and is the author of Barbary Coast dispensary’s Bud Blog.

View Amelia Williams’s articles