You don’t have to be a member of the cannabis culture to know that 420 is slang for smoking marijuana. And when April 20th rolls around, many people celebrate with their favorite herb. At BigFish, of course, we deal in craft spirits, not the world’s most popular plant. But we are interested in the growing trend that marries marijuana and alcohol: the production of cannabis-infused spirits, many of which are THC-free and legal in all 50 states. We are proud to carry one such spirit, Humboldt’s Finest from Humboldt Distillery.
Humboldt’s Finest is a vodka infused with cannabis sativa hemp seed. The hemp seed hails from America’s multi-billion-dollar marijuana cultivation mecca, Humboldt County.
“…Redwood trees and a counter-culture…”
You’ve heard of Humboldt County before. It’s known for Redwood trees and a counter-culture that migrated from the Bay Area in the 70s and 80s. Since then, it has become part of a regional trifecta that produces the most cannabis in the United States. Leafly.com claims the region grows 1.7 million pounds of cannabis every year.
“Humboldt County is becoming for weed what Napa Valley is for wine.”
There’s a sentiment out there that Humboldt County is becoming for weed what Napa Valley is for wine. Weed connoisseurs claim Humboldt’s rich soil, topography, and fog that rolls in off the 110 miles of coastline make for perfect growing conditions, just as wine connoisseurs say similar things about Napa Valley. Of course, just like Napa Valley, Humboldt County draws visitors for its natural beauty. Humboldt is home to over 2 million acres of land, 80% of which is forest and protected redwoods.
Whether you go for the herbs or the natural beauty, local enthusiasts are generating experiences that express the culture of the region. One such experience is to infuse alcohol with cannabis. Humboldt Distillery has pioneered this trend with its Humboldt’s Finest and the results have been spectacular.
Humboldt’s Finest won Double Gold at the San Francisco World Spirits Competition in 2017, one of the highest honors in the world. The Tasting Panel Magazine gave it 93 points out of 100, saying the “herb-y perfumed, 80-proof vodka can definitely replace your gin. On the nose, fresh greenery is far forward along with softer floral tones like jasmine and orange blossom. The brisk fennell, thyme, lime and black pepper on the palate are well integrated for a slide-across-the-tongue texture.” In its story, “Under-The-Radar Vodkas That You Need To Know”, Liquor.com not only featured Humboldt’s Finest, but wrote that it’s “...a fragrant, botanical spirit that’s one of the first of its kind. Nodding to the local community’s recent marijuana boom, the vodka offers a distinct aroma of cannabis with a smooth finish that’s reminiscent of a light gin. Stir it into a Martini or use it as a stand-in for your favorite gin cocktail recipes.” Humboldt’s Finest has also received international press coverage from Playboy, Huffington Post, Uncrate, Mashable, Buzzfeed, and NBC.
We recommend ringing in America’s favorite counter-culture holiday the legal way: with a bottle of Humboldt’s Finest. BigFish is proud to be the only purveyor of this spirit in Illinois. Buy it here.
We also recommend checking out Jewell Distillery, another distillery partner of ours from Humboldt County. Founded by a couple who lived off the grid in the mountains of Humboldt County for over 15 years, they don’t yet make a cannabis-infused spirit, but they make a gin that honors Humboldt County like few possibly could.
Here are a few recipes made with Humboldt’s Finest.
To prepare honey syrup, dissolve 2 parts honey in 1 part hot water, allow to cool. At bottom of cocktail shaker, add 1 sprig thyme, give a quick muddle, add Humboldt’s Finest, lime juice and honey syrup. Shake vigorously, strain into double old-fashioned glass with ice, garnish with a hearty thyme sprig.
Jasmine Simple Syrup: Create a strong tea using jasmine green tea bags at twice the suggested rate. Combine 1 part hot tea with 1 part sugar, mixing until dissolved. Combine ingredients in a highball glass with ice, top with seltzer water, garnish with a slice of cucumber, and enjoy.
Add 1 heaping tbsp of chopped pepper to shaker and muddle well. Then add 3 slightly smashed (use fingers, to release oils) oregano leaves, Humboldt’s Finest, Green Chartreuse, lime and simple syrup. Add ice and shake vigorously. Strain into a cocktail coupe. Garnish with oregano sprig and cut pepper wedge.