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The Chemistry of Nitrous-Powered, Pot-Infused Liquor (Green Dragon)the making of...

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#1 Phlogiston



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Posted 17 June 2013 - 10:17 PM

Ik wist niet zo goed waar ik dit topic moest plaatsten. Maar ik heb maar voor deze plek gekozen omdat het tenslotte toch een soort van tek is, vermomt als een berichtgeving.. ;)




The Chemistry of Nitrous-Powered, Pot-Infused Liquor
How one New York bartender fused alcohol and marijuana forever


Behind the bars of some of the nation's finest cocktail joints, there are secrets: secret recipes, secret bottles for friends only. One of these is the Green Dragon, a liquor potently infused with marijuana.

There've been alcohol-based tinctures of cannabis before, of course -- usually seen in turbid brown jars on windowsills, But one prominent New York bartender (I'll call him Jon) has been responsible for bringing the infusion up to date with modern, artisanal cocktail culture. Jon is a serious, technologically minded craftsman of beverages; he works as a cocktail consultant, and has designed the cocktail programs of more than one Manhattan bar.

He's refined a method that's quick, gives precise, predictable results, and reportedly maximizes the delicious herbal flavor of the drug, to provide a civilized sippable for the beverage connoisseur. Jon's nitrous-powered Green Dragon "just tastes good. We've dialed the strength back substantially, not because we can't make it stronger, but just because people want to be able to drink more of it, because they like it so much."

Jon can rattle off the exact date when (friend of PopSci) Dave Arnold published on his blog the "game-changing" nitrous infusion technique, a method for rapidly forcing new flavors into liquor using gas pressure inside a whipped-cream charger. And it was not very long at all after that date when Jon first had the notion to apply the technique to cannabis.

"If you don't want to smoke, you're left with edibles, but with edibles, there's no way to dose it. Someone hands you this thing, and you're like: who made it? how was it made? You eat a half or a quarter of it, and you wait and wait, and you either feel nothing, or you're destroyed."

But alcohol absorbs through the digestive tract in a faster, much more predictable way than solid edibles--and so does whatever's dissolved in that alcohol. Hence the precision-infused Green Dragon.

The rapid infusion works--the theory goes--because high pressure forces N2O and alcohol deep into the plant material. Then, when the gas pressure is suddenly released, it causes the nitrous oxide to come out of solution and violently bubble around the bits of plant material, agitating the mixture on a microscopic level.

Traditional infusion in alcohol takes days or weeks, and extracts a broader spectrum of compounds from the plant -- not just the more volatile molecules responsible for psychoactive effects and bright, pleasant flavors, but ones that dissolve over time and impart murky flavor and what some call a headachy effect.

"Ten years ago, I had gotten my hands on this ungodly amount of hash. We couldn't smoke it all. So we started putting it into neutral grain spirit, and it dissolved in, but the thing was, we couldn't get as high. So we gave up and forgot about it for a week, and meanwhile it sat in the car in the 120° sun for a week. The next time, we took a couple of drops and it destroyed us."

"What happened? THC [the main active ingredient in cannabis] normally has a carboxyl group that's attached to it. In order for it to fit into the lock-and-key mechanism of our bodies' cannabinoid receptors, you have to break off the carboxyl group. That takes 30 years--or heat."

The carboxyl group starts breaking off as the temperature gets higher, so Jon heats his Dragon as part of the infusing process. Toasting the cannabis before infusing can drive off some of the delicate aromatics, giving it a cooked flavor, and also runs the risk of vaporizing the THC itself. So Jon heats his only to 100°C (212°F), which gives the infusion a delicate flavor and just the strength he wants, no more.



"You can dial in the recipe to know exactly how many grams you're getting per serving."

The effect of the drug should remain steady for about four hours. One to one-and-a-half ounces is what Jon considers a single serving; six ounces is his maximum imaginable dose.

Nitrous Green Dragon

Here's how Jon does it:

- a one-liter heat-tolerant whipped-cream whipper
- two nitrous oxide chargers
- a double boiler large enough to accommodate the whipper bottle
- 750 ml mezcal at room temperature (Jon uses Vida or Sombra)
- 3.5 grams (1/8 ounce) of cannabis (Jon uses "indoor high-grade sativa")

1. Roughly break up the cannabis.
2. Put the cannabis and the mezcal in the whipper bottle.
3. Close the canister and charge it with two charges of N2O according to the instructions.
4. Let it sit for 5 minutes.
5. Vent out the pressurized gas. NOTE: you are venting aerosolized ethanol with THC dissolved in it, as well as laughing gas. Jon says "Probably nobody would want to inhale this."
6. Stir the liquid and let it sit until the gas boils off.
7. Place the sealed canister in a double boiler and let it simmer for an hour.
8. Strain the solids out of the liquid and discard them or dry them for other uses. The liquid is nitrous green dragon.

Jon developed his recipe using mezcal, whose smokiness complements the herbal flavor of the drug. And mezcal has another advantage -- its innate low pH keeps the color of the infusion vivid green, while more alkaline liquors let it become dingier. (See photo: mezcal, gin.) But other bartenders have perfected their own preferred recipes. A New Orleans bartender uses cognac; one in Seattle makes it with gin to which he adds a little green Chartreuse, and creates a heady variation on the Last Word cocktail (equal parts gin, green Chartreuse, maraschino liqueur, and lime juice) called the Last Dragon.

"It's not on the menu. No one is selling it. You can't ask for it. But if you're a regular, an insider, your bartender just might pull out a bottle and offer you a taste."




En hier meer over de infusie techniek zelf:




Infusion Profusion: Game-Changing Fast ‘N Cheap Technique

You can infuse flavors into liquor (and water based things, too) almost instantly with nothing more than an iSi Cream Whipper . You can use seeds, herbs, spiced, fruits, cocoa nibs, etc. Here’s how:

Put room-temperature booze into the cream whipper. Add herbs, seeds, whatever. Close the whipper and charge it with nitrous oxide (N2O –the regular whipped cream chargers). Swirl gently 30 seconds and let stand 30 seconds more. Quickly vent the N2O out of the whipper, open it, and strain out the infusion. Done.






I did a 5-minute knee-slapping song-singing jig around the school when I figured out this technique.  It’s really good. I like it better than vacuum infusion for some products. Plus, a vacuum machine will set you back 2 grand.

I got the idea from a technique emailed to me by Mister Fizz. Mister Fizz does rapid marination using pressurized CO2.   He gets chicken strips to soak up a heap of marinade real quick.  Pretty nifty.  Here is a YouTube video.  I figured if you could force liquid into foods using pressure, maybe you could also force flavor out.

Here is what I think is happening:

When you charge your whipper with nitrous oxide, high pressure forces liquid and nitrous oxide into the pores of your flavorful food (your seeds or herbs or what-have-you.)  When you suddenly release the pressure inside the whipper, the nitrous forms bubbles and escapes from the food quickly, bringing flavor and liquid out with it.

Some pointers:

Use room temperature food and liquid.  In our tests, cold liquid made for weaker infusions. The cold infusions were slightly clearer than warm ones, but I think that’s because they were weaker.  I suspect the bubbling of the N2O is less violent in colder products;  the violent bubbling is what brings out the flavor.


Use N2O, not CO2. CO2 can leave some residual carbonation and flavor in your liquor, N2O won’t (there might be a slight sweetness from the N2O, but it will flash off pretty quick in room temperature liquid).

In our tests it didn’t seem to matter whether we vented the whipper quickly or slowly, although I persist in believing that quicker venting is better because of the violent bubbling effect.

We tested infusing a mixture of orange peel, Thai basil and cilantro into rum for 30 seconds, one minute, two minutes and three minutes.  We swirled the containers every 30 seconds during the tests. The one-minute batch tasted best, 30 seconds was weak, two minutes was a little bitter, and three minutes was bitter and grassy. I suppose the optimum infusion time is different from product to product, but we know for sure that infusion time matters.


The amount of liquid in the whipper and the number of N2O chargers you use also makes a difference. Our standard batch was 120 mls of liquor in a one-liter whipper using one N2O cartridge.  Tripling the amount of liquor to 360 mls resulted in better balanced, but weaker, infusion. We boosted flavor in the 360 ml batch with a second N20 charger.  Using 2 chargers in the standard 120 ml batch made a harsh infusion.

Cream whippers are better for this technique than soda bottles, even if you have a large N20 tank like we do.  The large mouth of the whippers is extremely useful.

If you crush green herbs before they are infused, the infusion might turn brown over time.  Ascorbic acid might help but will also alter flavor.


The standard recipe:

120 mls white rum
3 grams cilantro leaves
8 grams Thai basil leaves
8.5 grams orange peel

Charge with N20, swirl for 30 seconds.  Allow to infuse for 1 minute total, then vent and strain.

Other flavors we tried, using a 1 minute infusion into vodka:

Star anise made a strong infusion with a smoky note and lots of color.

Sliced jalapenos made a very spicy infusion that also captured the green notes of the jalapeno.  It had much more actual jalapeno character than traditional infusions we have tried.

Sliced ginger produced an infusion that was light in flavor but clean, similar to ginger ale.  Our slices were somewhat thick; thin slices might produce a stronger infusion.


Fresh bay leaves didn’t taste great, but might be good with something else.  Bay leaves didn’t infuse well till they were crushed.

Sliced carrot infusion picked up a lot of color but not a lot of flavor. The flavor the infusion did pick up wasn’t great.

The best we saved for last.  This little gem was Nils’ idea:

Cocoa nibs made a cloudy but very flavorful infusion. If you let it settle for a half hour, it clears up substantially. A miraculous thing about the nibs infusion — it’s not bitter, just chocolate-y.  Apparently, it takes longer to extract the bitter flavors than the chocolate ones.





En laat vooral jullie geslaagde 'cocktails' weten! Welke alcoholen werkten/smaakten het beste met cannabis? Wie gaat het als eerste met hash proberen? The sky is the limit!! :D

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#2 Spec87


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Posted 17 June 2013 - 11:24 PM

  NOTE: you are venting aerosolized ethanol with THC dissolved in it, as well as laughing gas. Jon says "Probably nobody would want to inhale this."


Ik durf te wedden dat er genoeg mensen zijn die daar wel benieuwd naar zijn  :kidd0:

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#3 macaco


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Posted 28 June 2013 - 05:21 PM

Heb nog een fles wodka met cannabis infuus thuis staan. Die heb ik meer dan een maand laten staan en het kleurde uiteindelijk donkergroen. De smaak van cannabis zat er daarna goed in.


Werd er echter intens misselijk van de keren dat ik het heb genomen. Echt niet mijn ding. Wat er nog resteert gebruik ik het als desinfectie middel voor wondjes etc.

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