How to Throw a Cannabis-Infused Dinner Party

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How to Throw a Cannabis-Infused Dinner Party

The waning ritual of a home-hosted communal meal, à la the classic dinner party, is back with a major revamp thanks to the growing legalization of cannabis. One of the women at the helm of this burgeoning movement is chef Andrea Drummer, Los Angeles’s go-to personal chef for cannabis-infused haute cuisine. After pursuing a long-held passion for cooking after years of working as a drug counselor for nonprofits like Planned Parenthood—an irony not lost on Drummer—the Le Cordon Bleu–trained chef now sings the praises of incorporating the herb in the kitchen: “I want to offer a different perspective. I was a staunch advocate against cannabis and now wholeheartedly, with every fiber of my being, believe it should be legalized globally. Consuming cannabis and dining are a perfect marriage to me. It’s a new way to engage the possibilities of alternative medicine and to engage with friends, really engage. That’s the beautiful thing: At every dinner I’ve hosted there’s no one on their phone. You may have a few people take Snapchats of the food at the beginning, and then away goes the phone. Everyone is engaged with each other and learning and having the greatest time.”

Guests lucky enough to procure a coveted invitation to the secret monthly tastings (it’s invite-only with a four-month wait list) enjoy a curated menu tailored around their individual palate and desired high. Craving something savory with the repose of an indica strain? Perhaps the lobster mac ‘n’ cheese with étouffée sauce and bacon bit garnishes will do the trick. Looking to satiate that sweet tooth and get the creative juices bubbling? Have some brûléed bread pudding with caramel sauce, Chantilly cream, and seasonal berries, infused with Girl Scout cookies. It’s a welcome reprieve from the limitations of potent hash brownies and shoddily rolled smokes while creating a new way for people to connect. Plus, all ingredients are organic and locally sourced through Drummer’s dispensary Elevation VIP Cooperative, offering diners all the fun without morning-after gluttonous guilt. Hosting dinners may be on the decline and the perpetual temptation of takeout looms strong, but as exemplified by Drummer’s gatherings and rave reviews to boot, there’s no elixir quite like the intimacy born from good company and freed inhibitions over a fine meal.

Here, the chef shares her ultimate tips for throwing a dinner sure to satisfy taste buds and simultaneously transport you to a comfortable high, as well as a few recipes to get you started.

Give Careful Thought to Your Guest List

“For me, food is communal, as is cannabis. So when I do a chef’s table I’m curating the experience. I’m bringing together a very select few people, but I’m also vetting them to see what their interests are, their perspectives, how open they are to different topics, whether it’s pop culture, science, entertainment, politics, whatever the matter. It’s very intentional. I start there, then I want to introduce conversation and dialogue. We’re not only coming together eating, we can come together on varied topics and just communicate, even if we have opposing views. Often we’re afraid to have these dialogues, but to move forward and grow and unify it’s necessary. That’s the intent, unity. It’s the perfect platform to do so.”

Everyone Loves a Theme

“One of the past themes was ‘Make America Great’ not ‘great again’ but making America great. The menu was in alignment with the theme. Every course was of a different ethnicity or culture. There was a representation of Mexican culture, Southern and Creole culture, my French training, and Asian culture. The cohesion was perfect, nothing was out of sync or out of balance, nothing was disruptive. All the dishes flowed together perfectly. We can all exist in harmony. If the food can do it, surely us free-thinking people can figure it out.”

Have a Few Talking Points

“Have some talking points just to engage. People will get giddy and more open, and freer, and that’s a good thing.”

Know What’s in Your Kitchen

“Whether you’re using an oil, a butter, or tinctures, understand your product—where it comes from, the levels of THC, and how to properly dose the food. It gets rather science based, but it’s a great importance. You want your friends to have a positive experience.”

Create a Menu

“Menus are provided with every dinner, of course. I start with a simple rundown of what a basic to mild dose is for the average person, which is anywhere from 10 to 25 mg, followed by the dosage of each course. It’s helpful for your guests to understand how much THC they’ll be consuming throughout the evening.”

Moderation Is Key

“I approach cannabis similarly to any strong seasoning or spice I’d put in food. In no case would you want to have a cup of soup that has way too much garlic or way too much rosemary. You want it to complement all the other components in the dish. Why would I want you to have this overtly pungent flavor that overwhelms the dish?”

Pair Dishes With the Appropriate Strain

“It goes back to treating cannabis like an ingredient. You want to pair strains with the food that complements it. If I use Lemon Haze, I want to pair it with something vibrant that may enhance the flavor, so I do that often with my dressings. You don’t want something pungent like a Sour Diesel or another loud strain with a delicate dessert or pastry. I’d instead use it on a mole or stew, or something with a bit more body. Blue Dream is one of my favorite strains because it’s a hybrid and a sativa dominant, so it offers a more euphoric feeling. It has some blueberry notes and citrus tones, so it pairs really well with dessert but also goes great with savory.”

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