Tell us a little bit about your background, and how you became known as the Cocktail Whisperer.
I was working unsuccessfully and unhappily in the corporate world for twenty or so years, trying to please my father and grandfather who were certain that I would never amount to anything in life. They were correct! It took six failures and a bankruptcy, plus divorce and being disowned to find that what I had to become successful was inside of me all along. I was in one of my incarnations a trained chef from dish sink to culinary school and into my own business. Unfortunately, my business was located in Charleston, South Carolina. I was the first and as of then, the only manufacturer of fresh pasta in South Carolina. I lost my business in Hurricane Hugo in 1989. Becoming a chef/saucier didn’t just go away for me. While I toiled in the corporate world of banking, I nurtured my craft as a chef on my days off and on holidays. When I lost my corporate job, no fault of my own- I reinvented myself yet again. This time in wine/spirits. The cocktail whisperer grew out of an alliance with an online magazine known at the time as Served RAW. They dubbed me their cocktail whisperer and the name stuck.
What was your first experience in the Cannabis industry?
Probably buying weed in Bermuda from a friendly and helpful bartender who worked at the Pink Beach Club, where we summered during my childhood. At least the last couple weeks of the summer. I learned how to buy weed and sell it too! That was back in the 1970’s. I was probably 13 or 14 at the time. My uncle was a hippie- I won’t blame anything on him, but the weed he grew up at Valleyvue was no more than ditch weed. It wasn’t until the mid-1970’s that I learned about California Cannabis and Hawaiian Cannabis. My grandfather was in the Motion Pictures industry. He was the vice-chairman of the board of Columbia Pictures. Movie industry people always had great cannabis. My grandfather was never happy about my use of it and in the end I was disowned because of it.
What’s the biggest misconception about Cannabis and CBD? (Can be two separate answers as they are distinct in their misconceptions as well)
CBD is fine as long as it comes from a strain that has some THC in it too. I’m leery of ‘pure’ CBD because is it from hemp or is it from something else? Is it a distillate or is it a whole plant extraction? I seem not to know what CBD is really. There are so many brands, like vitamins. Unregulated and in my opinion, snake oil. My grandfather that I mentioned above manufactured Geritol. Made for something that no one had, Iron Poor Blood. He was fined heavily by the FDA and the FTC for making snake oil. I find the CBD craze to be much of the same thing and it’s only a matter of time before the Feds come for the CBD industry. You cannot make health claims without the FDA disclaimer. This drug has not been evaluated by the FDA…. etc.. etc…
What’s your favorite spirit for summer 2019?
I’m not drinking distilled spirits any longer. Since I quit the liquor business as a full-time endeavor, I’ve lost about fifty pounds of sugar weight. It’s amazing what I look like now. At 58 I’ve been told that I look 35. That’s not too shabby! So my favorite spirit is the one I am not having. I am, however, still enjoying Belgian Beer in small quantities. They use a ton of candy sugar in making their ales, so I have to really watch my belly! It’s liquid bread!
To what do you attribute the rise of the “mocktail?” Is this a trend we’ve all been sleeping on, or is it a passing fad?
I LOVE mocktails, especially those with THC in them. I’m pretty sure my simplest MOCK-tail is still better than most bartender’s cocktails. I seek to ruin you for your bartender- even without alcohol!
Out of all of your many accolades, which is the one you’re most proud of and why?
I’m not sure I have that many accolades. I’m self-made, which also means self- destroying. I only have myself to blame for my lack of income. I would probably say that my most favorite accolade is the one I have not received yet. I tend not to want to shout about my achievements. That’s just not my style.
What’s the one thing you wish you could tell restaurant and bar owners who are thinking about integrating cannabis and CBD into their menus and craft cocktails?
If they are using cannabis-based CBD, make sure there is no THC in there, your liquor license is worth more than a passing trend. Also, CBD is NEGATED by alcohol if it’s hemp-based. Really it does nothing at all. Zero effect. And at fifty to one hundred dollars per bottle, isn’t that a waste of your guest’s money? You’d do better adding CBD to a MOCKtail.
Do you have a favorite, trusted CBD brand that you work with? Why?
Papa and Barkley. They are just the best in the business. Whole Plant science is at work here.
New Highs is another brand that offers high-quality oils from hemp sources. Not inexpensive, yet very efficient. Especially in a craft cocktail.
What’s next for cannabis and CBD in the hospitality industry?
I’d like to see fewer cocktails and mocktails and more products like CBD wellness and intimacy products, stressing wellness and healing with CBD over getting stoned with THC. Not that there is anything wrong with getting stoned!
What’s next for Warren Bobrow?
Ah, you should ask my gnome, Klaus for his next debut!