Cannabis events are on trend this summer, so there’s no better time than to plan your own heightened dinner party. Use this pairing guide to host your own canna-style celebration with expert advice from Devika Maskey, co-founder of cannabis brand and event host TSO Sonoma [pronounced “SO”]. Whether you’re at the lake, in your backyard, or at a venue, exercise your freedom (within state regulations, of course!) and stack the terpenes in your flower on top of those in your food and beverages for an unmatched sensory experience.
Devika brings wine sommelier expertise to the cannabis industry while highlighting the plant’s partnership with the culinary world, creating an unforgettable dinner experience. She has combined her knowledge from both fields in the creation of TSO Sonoma, launching a line of delectable products and pioneering high-end dinner pop-ups in collaboration with Michelin-star chefs and talented winemakers in Sonoma County.
“We want to show people how cannabis can be experienced the same way we experience wine and wine tastings. We want to show an elevated side of cannabis in order to de-stigmatize the plant and provide education.”
As you plan your events and gatherings for the 4th, follow Devika’s lead and try pairing your menu with a diverse cannabis terpene profile your guests will adore!
Here are 6 tips for throwing the perfect cannabis pairing dinner party!
While everyone’s enjoying that daytime sunshine, treat guests to a CBD or microdosed 1:1 blend infused beverage. Starting low and slow during the day will inspire your guests without impairing them. Devika curates the event experience by gradually leading people through a journey, beginning with something that uplifts and energizes. For drink ideas, try Personal Plants’ herbal elixir kit—available in the marketplace!
A fun way to engage your guests is to interact with the aromas of your bud like you would at a wine tasting. Before the meal, fill empty wine glasses with cannabis flower and pass them around the group. Use separate glasses for each cultivar you intend on serving during dinner, and see what notes and aromas your guests can pick up from the plant’s intricate terpene profile. Turn this activity into a guessing game with notecards or even prizes!
Devika prefers pairing flower on the side of the meal rather than infusing the food, that way people will have more control over the dosage and resulting experience. Devika offers a variety of products at her events, including individual vape pens and Flowersticks, meaning the most common ingestion methods are smoking and vaping flower or concentrates. When you eat infused food or edibles, it’s hard to know when and for how long the effects will last, or how they will metabolize in your unique body. That said, you could offer a clearly labeled and accurately measured infused olive oil on the side for more experienced guests to dose themselves with.
During her events, Devika offers a complex trinity of sensory experiences, but she cautions that if you are going to consume both cannabis and alcohol, always start with the cannabis to avoid getting the spins. Also, when you pair cannabis and wine, you should do so based on weight — as in the body of wine or the effect of cannabis. It might be as simple as pairing white wine to the lighter floral or citrus notes in cannabis, and red wine to the more pungent, earthy cultivars.
Now that we’re onto the meat, so to speak, it’s time to progress into the bigger and bolder pairings based on terpenes. Terpenes are the fragrant oils in plants found in food and herbs, and they can be paired with the terpenes in cannabis.
The limonene terpene found in lemons is the same terpene found in the cannabis strains with a citrus aroma. Try pairing a cannabis cultivar with a high limonene content to a fresh citrus salad.
Pair a pungent pinene strain to a savory rosemary-infused dish.
Myrcene is another terpene found in cannabis that possesses an earthy, mushroom, forest-floor aroma. Use it to complement your pinot noir and gamier meats during the main course.
Try the lavender terpene linalool paired with a lavender honey dessert or lavender lemonade.
Honestly, who doesn’t love swag? Aside from being a nice gesture, a goodie bag is a great way to ensure that your guests stay positively lifted long after the party is over. Some of your guests may also be new to cannabis, so a goodie bag helps them explore that new relationship in the privacy of their home. At the end of the night, provide a curated bag of all the products that were offered at your event. You could also include some alternative ingestion methods and new strains of cannabis for people to enjoy at their leisure.
Devika’s number one tip for hosting cannabis-paired dinner parties is to always have a CBD tincture at the ready in case somebody overdoses themselves. CBD will counteract the effects of too much THC as well as too much alcohol. Alcohol enhances the effects of THC, so be mindful when mixing the two, and as mentioned before, start with the cannabis first.
You began the day with a CBD-infused beverage, and now it’s time to conclude with one as well. Bookend your event with a calming CBD beverage for your guests, and wind down the evening with this final note of a memorable journey.
Devika is the founder of TSO Sonoma, a craft cannabis brand and tourism company that hosts high-end cannabis dinners in wine country. With over twelve years of experience designing events and tastings in the wine business, Devika has shifted her focus to create similar quality experiences in the emerging cannabis industry.