About The Brand: Jamie Evans is an entrepreneur, author, and sommelier specializing in cannabis, CBD, food, recipes, wine, and the canna-culinary world. Known as The Herb Somm, Jamie took a moment to chat with Etain about her unique background and her book Cannabis Drinks sold at Etain NYC.
How did you come up with the name The Herb Somm and the brand?
Crafting well-made beverages has always been a passion of mine. I fell in love with the gourmet world early on, including learning about drinks and the art of mixology. I’ve always been fascinated with beverages, so it was a natural fit to pursue a career in the wine industry, which I called home for over a decade. Eventually, my love for wine and beverages carried over to cannabis, primarily driven by the many similarities between the two. The name, “The Herb Somm” was a moniker, created to honor the correlation between wine and cannabis, as well as pay tribute to the concept of pairing cannabis with a dining experience. This was the inspiration behind my blog, pairing guide, and gourmet event series, which I launched in 2017.
Do you have a favorite drink in the Cannabis Drinks book?
While there are many delicious recipes found throughout the book, with summer ahead, one of my favorite warm-weather aperitifs is the Blood Orange Aperol Spritz. As a spin-off of the classic Aperol Spritz, this refreshing drink is microdosed with cannabis-infused Citrus Spice Bitters and mixed with fresh citrus juice. In Cannabis Drinks, the recipe includes blood orange juice, but you can easily swap for any citrus that’s in season, including fresh-squeezed pink grapefruit juice with the pulp removed. Make sure to add a slice of grapefruit to the glass for some extra flavor and aromatics.
I wanted to incorporate an Aperol drink in the book because it’s such a fantastic companion for cannabis’ aromas and flavors as Aperol presents a botanical blend of herbs, roots, and citrus. Because this drink contains a blend of alcohol, the Cannabis-Infused Citrus Spice Bitters is a perfect way to microdose this drink. When mixing cannabis and alcohol, you always want to take precautions and stick with a low-dose of CBD and THC. The bitters also add some lovely spice notes to the drink, which makes it complex and delicious.
Another favorite would be the Spicy Melon Margarita made with fresh watermelon juice, lime juice, infused rich simple syrup, jalapeño chiles, plus more. I’m also a big fan of Blood Mary’s, so I love mixing up the Feisty Mary, which is alcohol-free and infused with my homemade Feisty Sauce and Infused Celery Bitters (plus it includes candied bacon!)
Since starting the brand, what’s been the biggest lesson you’ve learned as a women owned business?
The community of women involved in this industry is one of the reasons why I wanted to come into this space. When I first launched my company, it seemed like there were a lot more companies run by women than what we are witnessing today, but regardless, I’ve learned a few key things along the way:
1. Never Stop Challenging Yourself — Throughout my career, I’ve had the opportunity to work in many different types of positions. As soon as I felt too comfortable, I would seek out a change to keep challenging myself. Always strive to learn more, to be stronger, and to keep growing, especially as a woman in business.
2. The Key to Success is Perseverance — As an entrepreneur, there will be many obstacles that arise, but to achieve your goals, you must be persistent and keep pushing onward. Only you can have the will power and passion to stick with it, even if you don’t make a profit right away.
3. Lead with Compassion — If you’re a leader in your company, be open to learning new things and accepting new ideas. Being compassionate is an essential aspect of creating a happy and healthy work environment, and the best leaders I’ve learned from do not dictate, but rather inspire those around them.
What’s your best advice for someone who wants to start to mix up their own infused drinks?
When crafting a cannabis-infused drink, every ingredient that goes into the beverage is meant to enhance the complexity, structure, mouthfeel, and backbone of the drink. The first thing I like to do when creating a recipe is to think of the concept. Next, I like to create tasting notes for the ingredients that are going into the drink, including the cannabis. I like to smell and taste each ingredient separately and write down tasting notes before combining them. This practice is incredibly helpful, especially when thinking about what characteristics I’d like to highlight. From there, I begin to build the drink and combine ingredients that accentuate the specific profile that I am aiming for.
I also recommend not trying to mask the flavors of cannabis but to complement it. One of the best ways to do this is by incorporating terpene-inspired ingredients that match the terpene profiles that are found in cannabis. Some of the best ingredients for this include citrus, tropical fruits, mint, lavender, cinnamon, black pepper, mixed herbs, fresh dill, and sometimes ingredients with savory, earthy flavors. All of the recipes that are found in my book, Cannabis Drinks, are terpene-inspired and are meant to play with and highlight cannabis’ natural aromas and flavors.
How do you Take A Moment?
Growing up in Lake Tahoe, California, I’ve always been inspired by nature and feel calm when surrounded by the great outdoors. When I need to take a moment, I love going on a walk to reset, while soaking in the sunshine. Luckily, I now reside in Marin County and have access to hundreds of hiking trails, which has greatly benefited my work/life balance. I also love enjoying a glass of wine or cannabis drink to relax and unwind. Pair this with a delicious meal and good company - that’s what life is all about!
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