True Terpenes is proud to work with names like award-winning chef and cannabis educator Chef Brandon Allen. Today, we've linked up with one of the country's most imaginative mixologists. Matt Chavez is one of the top bartenders in New York City today. His accolades include being a Bacardi Legacy Semi-Finalist as well as being a Semi-Finalist in the 2016 and 2017 United States Bartenders' Guild's Most Imaginative Bartender competitions.
Chavez is an ideal person to work with terpenes. Despite not having the cannabis understanding Chef Brandon possesses, Chavez was more than up for the challenge. In doing so, he reminds us all that you don’t need to be an expert to work with terpenes. You just have to be excited to work with some inventive new products.
"The terpenes are really interesting to work with," he explains, adding "they're basically an essence of a whole bunch of different flavors and not one specific flavor, as opposed to using a syrup or an actual full flavored ingredient."
With that said, we gave Matt some of our Banana Kush and asked him to make us a drink. He did not disappoint.
Using Banana Kush Terpenes to Make Cocktails
Among the numerous flavors and aromas inside Banana Kush, a sweet, pungent tropical experience dominates the others. The indica-dominated strain tends to give consumers a creative, uplifted mindset that has been known to get people chatting. With 22 total terpenes, Matt and others using Banana Kush have a variety of compounds to work with. Some of the more present terpenes in the profile include limonene, beta caryophyllene and myrcene.
In addition to the banana, Chavez picked up on notes including kaffir lime that gave off a lime popsicle sort of flavor. He also picked up on banana peel, green banana, limestone, purple basil and a bit of sorrel. After assessing the profile, Chavez knew he wanted to go with a bright, refreshing drink.
To achieve this outcome, Chavez reached for ingredients that highlight the flavors in Banana Kush’s profile - particularly the herbal, bright green lime flavor with the banana notes and flavors. When discussing the green aspects of the profile, Chavez mentioned that they “are asking for a little bit of acid - asking for a big, bright refreshing sort of boost.” Additionally, he opted for a creation that included "big herbal flavors, a lot of light green and easy, refreshing flavors as well."
Together, the refreshing cocktail's ingredients marry within the glass for an experience that rivals the tropics itself. Some of the elements Chavez worked with include green chartreuse, a little bit of lime and Velvet Falernum. Green Chartreuse is one of Chavez’s favorite ingredients to use, calling it “one of my first things to grab when making cocktails.” He loves the French liqueur’s prominent bright green herbal notes, adding that “ just a touch of that really enhances the terpene.”
Keeping things connected to the tropics, even more, he opted for Rhum Agricole. Chavez explained that it “has a lot of big, bright grassy kind of funk to it.” Plus, Chavez chose the rum for its abilities to marry to the Kaffir lime and banana in the terpene profile. To give the cocktail an extra bit of the tropics with a buttery note, he included coconut water as well.
To bring it all together, Chavez shook the cocktail, put it over ice and added just a few drops of Banana Kush over a Kaffir lime cocktail. While some may scoff at just a few drops, Matt assured us that’s all you need. “You definitely get all of the aromas, and just the delicate nature of the cocktail is really the perfect pairing with these terpenes”
Working with Banana Kush
Banana Kush is one of the first terpene profiles Matt Chavez has worked with in his career. Despite this point, there was little to no learning curve for the expert drink creator. However, he pointed out that terpenes are a different element from what he usually works with. "The flavors are super intense so you have to dance on the delicate side of creating a flavor profile. Nothing super, super aggressive, nothing strong and nothing that's going to bury the flavor of the terpene." He added "The product was a little bit surprising but I'm learning"
Chavez noted that working with a strain like Banana Kush allowed for an enjoyable experience. He explained that the strain “was really fun and easy to work with because you get these green, kind of funky notes and there's so many awesome ingredients that I love to play with personally that marry super well and just elevate those flavors.”
Those looking to make their own drinks from Banana Kush are sure to have an enjoyable experience. “There's just so many possibilities with banana,” he explains. Some future cocktails from Chavez could include a more dessert route or one that is a bit more experimental. We can’t wait to try out whatever is on the menu.
Want to give Matt’s recipe a shot? Grab some Banana Kush from us and get the rest from your go-to booze and/or produce stores.
2 Drops Banan Kush Terpene
.25 Green Chartreuse
.5 coconut water
.5 velvet falernum
.75 rhum Agricole (we used Rhum Clement)
.75 White Rum (we used Cana Brava)
Shake the drink and pour into a large rocks glass with a large ice cube
Garnish with two drops of Banana Kush