For most people, pairing cannabis with food and drinks probably constitutes hazy midnight rummages through the kitchen and going on wild rollercoasters of combinations.
But being a little more sophisticated and pickier under the influence of cannabis isn’t as hard as you might think. With just some basic knowledge in a few key categories, you can have a very decent starting point beyond which there’s still a lot of room for fun and experimentation.
Learn about Terpenes
Terpenes are the main culprits of aroma and flavor of both cannabis and wine. Learn to recognize them, you’ll almost instinctively know how to pair them. The idea is simple – make pairings with similar types of terpenes. Make a habit of giving your cannabis and wines a good sniff and sensing their terpenes.
If your sense of smell isn’t the sharpest, don’t get discouraged – some simple research of the products’ ingredients should do.
The main terpenes to look out for are the citrusy limonene, which is found in white wines; the herbal/tropical myrcene, found in whites and reds; the floral/lavender linalool, a common feature of the reds; and caryophyllene, which has distinctive spicy black pepper and clover notes which you may have sensed in some red wines.
Balance is a universally good thing, but it’s particularly important in food and drinks, and now cannabis, pairings.
Basically, the idea is similar to the one combining terpenes – combine elements which lie on the same spectrum flavor wise and texture wise, so they can synergize. With that being said, you shouldn’t over accentuate a certain type of flavor either as it can get overwhelming. Of course, like pineapple on pizza, there are weird exceptions to the similarity rule, but generally speaking, it’s best to keep things a little more traditional, at least in the beginning.
For example, rich, juicy meat goes great with a full-bodied red wine, dark chocolate and a more sedating strain like a nice Indica to get you feeling all-the-more relaxed and pleasantly replete. This kind of combinations are so layered with taste and bodily high, they can almost feel sensual.
Another classic lines along which to think of is citrusy and/or tangy white wine, fish, a mildly tart cheesecake, and a lighter, uplifting, fruity strain like Lemon Haze, for example. Just be careful not to go overboard with the tangy element.
Just like the choice of food alone often depends on the occasion and season, when cannabis comes in the picture, you should take a few things into consideration which go beyond the dinner table.
You’re doing something afterwards? Keep it light, in every sense of the word.
You’re making a night of it? Plan it out. Start out light with some appetizers and an uplifting strain, then slowly deepen the tastes and vibes to pleasantly sedating.
At the end of the day, sometimes all the guidelines fade when your palette takes over, so if you have a strong hunch, go for it, as long as you don’t forget the intoxicating element of your cooking adventures.