You know the stress of the holidays.
Between scrambling to find the perfect gift, going into a cleaning frenzy, and navigating new holiday norms, a moment of rest and relaxation is just what the doctor ordered.
And let’s face it: after the year we’ve had, it’s time for a drink.
Spice up some holiday classics with a dash of CBD and you’ll feel the difference.
Sweet, sour, chocolatey, or with a touch of gooey caramel goodness, these 5 delicious drink recipes are sure to please.
Secure the perfect drink for your holiday celebration, and browse the benefits of mixing alcohol with CBD below.
Classic Eggnog + CBD
Upgrade this holiday classic with a few droplets of CBD for an ultra-relaxing evening.
Ingredients (yields 4-5 servings):
●2 cups milk
●½ teaspoon ground cinnamon, plus more for garnish
●½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
●½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
●6 large egg yolks
●½ cup granulated sugar
●1 cup heavy cream
●1 cup bourbon or rum (optional)
●Whipped cream, for serving
● *Try with ~67mg of CBD from a tincture, approx. 15mg per serving
Get the directions from Delish and have yours ready to serve in just under an hour and a half.
Whiskey Sour + CBD
This perfect balance of sweet and sour brings out the best of bourbon whiskey. Add in a dash of CBD and slip into a state of relaxation.
Ingredients (yields 3 servings):
●6 ounces (12 tablespoons) bourbon whiskey
●3 ounces (6 tablespoons) fresh lemon juice
●2 ¼ ounces (4 ½ tablespoons) pure maple syrup (or simple syrup)
●Garnish: orange peel and a cocktail cherry
●Ice, for serving
● *Try with ~45mg of CBD from a tincture, approx. 15mg per serving
Head to A Couple Cooksto grab the directions and conveniently adjust your serving size. This tasty treat can be created in just minutes.
Caramel Snickerdoodle Martini + CBD
Craving something sweet?
Enjoy all the tasty goodness of caramel snickerdoodle cookies with a touch of Smirnoff, sure to satisfy your sweet tooth.
Ingredients (yields 2 servings):
●¼ cup warmed caramel
●2 tablespoons cinnamon sugar
●1 cup heavy cream
●2 ounces Smirnoff Kissed Caramel
●Pinch of ground cinnamon
●Whipped cream, for garnish
●Cinnamon sticks, for garnish
● *Try with ~30mg of CBD from a tincture, approx. 15mg per serving
View the steps of this simple recipe from Delish to create this dreamy martini in minutes.
Boozy Grinch Punch + CBD
Channel everyone’s favorite grumpy green monster with this vibrant, boozy punch.
Ingredients (yields 12 servings):
●1 (0.13 oz.) packet Kool-Aid Lemon Lime mix
●4 cups water
●4 cups ice
●3 cups lemon-lime soda
●2 cups pineapple juice
●2 cups vodka
●1 cup ginger ale
●Lime wedges, for rimming
●Red sanding sugar, for rimming
● *Try with ~180mg of CBD from a tincture, approx. 15mg per serving
Get the directions here from Delish and have this crowd-pleaser ready in just 20 minutes.
Andes Mint HotChata + CBD
For when hot chocolate alone just isn’t enough, spice it up with a tasty cup of RumChata and a dash of peppermint schnapps.
Ingredients (yields 3 servings):
●2 cups whole milk
●2 tablespoons granulated sugar
●2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
●Pinch of kosher salt
●½ cup semisweet chocolate chips
●1 cup RumChata
●2 ounces of peppermint schnapps
● *Try with ~45mg of CBD from a tincture, approx. 15mg per serving
●Chocolate sauce for drizzle
Whip up this tasty, chocolatey treat in 10 minutes with the recipe from Delish.
Tips for Creating a CBD Cocktail
Maxwell Reis, a mixologist at Gracias Madre in West Hollywood, provides tips on how to create the best CBD cocktails in an interview with Goop.
Reis, who enjoys incorporating elements of cannabis into his culinary craft, describes why CBD is the perfect pairing for any cocktail:
“CBD is typically associated with feelings of euphoria and relaxation while alleviating nausea, anxiety, and other physical discomforts (for most, this is a welcomed addition to a cocktail).”
When it comes to mixing cocktails, Reis recommends using CBD tinctures.
“CBD tinctures are alcohol-based,” notes Reis, and “[integrate] into a cocktail seamlessly, just like any other alcohol, so you get every last drop!”
He recommends starting small in terms of dosage, sticking to about 15mg per drink.
Most brands recommend beginners dose at around 25mg and adjust from there, but Reis prefers to stay small to account for the effects of the alcohol.
See more of Reis’ insights, as well as his custom recipes for a CBD Mint Julep, Mezcal Margarita, Gin & Tonic, and Pimm’s Cup on Goop’s Guide to CBD-Spiked Cocktails.
Mixing CBD and Alcohol: What You Need to Know
It’s important to know how CBD interacts with alcohol before you try it.
Research suggests the relaxing, sedative effects are amplified when the two are taken together, so it's best to start with a small dosage.
Additionally, an antiquated study revealed when CBD was taken in large doses, there was an increase in impairment but a reduction in blood alcohol levels in participants.
Because CBD can reduce nausea, it’s wise to keep a tincture on your bedside table after a night of heavy drinking.
Several animal studies indicate CBD may protect cells from damage and disease due to excessive alcohol consumption.
CBD is safe to use, non-addictive, and may even reduce cravings and anxiety associated with addiction, suggesting it is a valid tool for addiction management.
CBD and Alcohol May Amplify Each Other
Alcohol and CBD are both often credited with promoting relaxation and reducing inhibitions.
For example, research supports the use of CBD for managing symptoms of anxiety and improving sleep quantity and quality, even at small doses.
When CBD and alcohol are taken together, these effects may be amplified.
Rachel Link, who possesses a master of science (MS) and is a registered dietitian (RD), details the possible effects in an article published by Healthline.
“Mixing CBD and alcohol can intensify each other’s effects, resulting in changes in mood and behavior,” reveals Link.
Other possible symptoms may include sleepiness or drowsiness, and sedation.
Start small and exercise caution when mixing alcohol and CBD, as the effect may be stronger than you anticipate.
CBD May Reduce Blood Alcohol Levels
While research is still limited, there is some evidence to support that CBD may lower your blood alcohol concentration (BAC), or the percent of alcohol in your bloodstream.
In a 1979 study, ten volunteers were given either placebo, 200mg CBD, alcohol, or 200mg CBD and alcohol to measure the effects on the mind and body.
They were then subjected to several tests, such as a finger tap test to measure motor performance, an aptitude test to measure psychomotor performance, a 1-minute timed production task, and a breathalyzer to assess their BAC.
“Compared to placebo, alcohol and alcohol plus CBD, but not CBD alone, produced significant impairments of motor and psychomotor performances,” solidifying the compounding effect of taking CBD with alcohol.
Additionally, “the combination of alcohol plus CBD resulted in significantly lower blood alcohol levels compared to alcohol given alone,” concluded the study.
It is important to note that this outdated study used a significantly large dosage of CBD, and used a small sample size, so more research is needed to further explore the link between CBD and BAC.
CBD May Help with Your Hangover
One of the many benefits of CBD is that it can relieve feelings of nausea, a common symptom felt by many the morning after a night of drinking.
Justin Cooke reveals for DailyCBD, a global informational CBD resource, how CBD may be the secret to stifling your hangover symptoms.
“The vomiting center is regulated in part by the endocannabinoid system (specifically, the CB1 receptors)--It’s the primary mechanism of action CBD uses to exert its effects,” explains Cooke.
The endocannabinoid system is a body-wide signaling system discovered in the 90’s, which is responsible for a variety of functions to help the body maintain homeostasis. Cannabinoids like CBD bind with these receptors, which are found all over the body.
“Research suggests that CBD exerts its anti-nausea effects indirectly by activating the 5HT-1A receptors in the brain stem [...] which blocks the sensation of nausea and the urge to vomit,” reports Cooke.
While CBD may help with nausea, Cooke also suggests hydrating, getting ample rest, and taking B vitamins and magnesium supplements to alleviate other symptoms and help you recover from your hangover more quickly.
CBD May Protect Cells from Drinking Damage
The powerful anti-inflammatory effects and antioxidant status of CBD may protect cells from damage and disease associated with frequent heavy drinking.
“Excessive alcohol consumption can cause damage to cells, increasing the risk of inflammation and chronic disease such as pancreatitis, liver disease, and certain types of cancer,” asserts Link.
Additionally, excessive alcohol consumption can result in neurodegeneration, or the damage or loss of neuron function, as well as behavioral and cognitive impairments.
In 2014, researchers examined the relationship between CBD and brain cell damage attributed to alcoholism by applying a topical CBD gel to rats.
They discovered applying CBD “resulted in a 48.8% reduction in neurodegeneration,” revealing CBD has a neuro-protective effect.
Based on these findings, authors of the study believe CBD is a feasible option “for the treatment of alcohol-induced neurodegeneration.”
Link describes another study, in which “injecting mice with CBD helped protect against alcohol-induced fatty liver disease by increasing autophagy, a process that promotes the turnover of new cells and leads to tissue regeneration.”
Researchers are hopeful these promising animal study findings will translate into similar effects for humans in future studies.
CBD Is an Emerging Tool for Addiction Management
There are several studies to support the use of CBD as a tool for addiction management.
For example, cigarette smokers given a CBD-inhaler were able to cut down their cigarette use by 40%, and still showed a reduction in use in a 2-week follow-up.
Furthermore, another study revealed CBD can aid in curbing cravings and anxiety associated with addiction, even when participants were shown triggering videos and objects.
The World Health Organization (WHO) asserted in a 2018 report that CBD is safe to use, and poses no potential for dependence or addiction.
Also, CBD doesn’t induce its users with the psychoactive “high” associated with marijuana; unlike THC, the arrangement of the CBD molecule does not allow it to bond directly with CB1 receptors in the brain.
The existing evidence suggests CBD is a safe and effective tool for addiction management worth further exploration.
The Bottom Line
When creating a CBD cocktail, use a tincture for best results, and start with a low dose to account for amplified effects when consumed with alcohol.
There are many benefits to pairing CBD with alcohol, although more research on the topic is needed.
At high doses, CBD reduces blood alcohol levels, according to a 1979 study.
CBD can combat nausea associated with hangovers by activating serotonin receptors in the brain.
When topical CBD was applied to rats, it significantly reduced damage to brain cells from alcohol-induced neurodegeneration by nearly 50%.
Additionally, mice injected with CBD were protected from fatty liver disease due to an increase in cell turnover.
Not only is CBD non-addictive, it has been shown to curb cravings and anxiety related to addiction, and can help those who take it reduce their use.
Try a CBD cocktail or delicious CBD-infused holiday-themed drink to serve up some much-needed relaxation this holiday season.
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About the Author
Lily Kiepke is a freelance writer and blogger based in the Denver metropolitan area. She enjoys using CBD to relieve anxiety and improve sleep. When she is not writing about cannabis, she can be found hiking in the Rocky Mountains or curled up with a good true crime book.