WTF Is Bhang and How Do You Make a Banging Cup of It?
One of the coolest ways to get lit is by drinking weed. When prepared correctly, cannabis-infused drinks taste amazing, and many people find that weed drinks kick in faster and more consistently than eating a full, rich dish infused with THC.
Bhang, which hails from India, is the oldest documented weed-infused edible known to historians. Its first mentions pop up in holy Hindu texts a thousand years ago, but the recipe has probably been around for much, much longer.
The word bhang is also synonymous with cannabis in India, and there are several twists on this time-honored recipe. For instance, the recipe we’ll cover here is the basic, brass-tacks version of bhang, an infused creamy drink with the consistency of hot chocolate. You can also find other variants of bhang, such as bhang lassi, which is basically a thicker, even creamier version with a yogurt and butter mix as the primary base instead of milk. There’s also bhang thandai, which is spicier and nuttier than the basic version.
So what, exactly, is bhang? It’s a drink made from marijuana mash, milk, spices, and a sweetener such as honey or sugar. And yes, if prepared right, you can get lit like a Holi festival off just one cup. You’ll find one of the simplest recipes for bhang below.
Note: Unlike the amazing writer for our “Baked to Perfection” series, Carly Fisher, I’m not attentive enough for specific measurements when I prepare any recipe. I’m one of those wing-it type kitchen chemists, so select your measurements (and ingredients) based on your own preferences, dietary restrictions, tastes, resource limitations… and local laws.
Step One: Gather Your Ingredients and Materials
To make bhang, you’ll need:
- A mortar and pestle (or something equivalent; get creative, MacGyver)
- A big mixing bowl (ceramic is preferred, but anything that can handle heat and friction will do)
- A fine but durable strainer such as muslin or cheesecloth (only barbarians would use paper coffee filters here)
For ingredients, you’ll need:
- Dried and cured weed flowers (the traditional recipe also uses weed leaves, but those aren’t usually available at dispensaries)
- Milk (whole milk is best, but even 1% is fine)
- Ground anise
- Ground cardamom
- Ground fennel
- Ground ginger
- Garam masala
- Powdered cinnamon (optional)
- Powdered cloves (optional)
- Honey (or sugar, if you don’t mind straying from tradition)
- Chopped almonds and/or pistachios (if you wanna be extra fancy)
Here’s How to Put It All Together to Make Some Magic Happen
- Bring enough water to a boil so you can submerge your weed flowers (and leaves, if you’re adding those). Once it’s boiling, remove the pot from heat and add the plant material.
- Let the weed soak in the water for about 5-10 minutes.
- Strain out the water from the weed with muslin or cheesecloth. Set the water aside; you’ll use it later.
- Transfer the wet weed to the mortar and pestle. Add a few teaspoons of warm milk to the wet weed. You don’t need to drown the weed in milk, you’re just adding enough so we can squeeze it out in a second.
- Grind the milk and cannabis together until it creates a paste.
- Strain the milk from the paste with your strainer.
- Keep adding small amounts of milk to the weed paste and straining until you’ve got about a half cup of strained milk. Set the strained milk aside, since you’ll need it later.
- If you’re including almonds and/or pistachios, toss those into the mortar and pestle’s mash. Grind it all up, and repeat Steps 5-7.
- Combine the strained water from the boiling steps with the strained milk. Add rosewater, spices, and honey to the liquid mix. (And be careful with some of these spices, as they can be incredibly potent, even in small half-teaspoon amounts.)
- Voila! You’ve got a hearty cup (or 10) of bhang to impress your friends and to keep you toasty during the holidaze season.
A Word on Decarboxylation!
You may have noticed that the traditional recipe listed here skips an important step — if you’re trying to get elevated, that is.
If you want your bhang to give you a buzz, you’ll need to activate the THC in your cannabis first. Water makes up the bulk of bhang, and since water can never get hotter than 212°F (100°C), it’ll never get hot enough to activate the THC by boiling alone.
To activate the THC in your cannabis, follow our handy decarboxylation guide here at MERRY JANE. The decarb step will be the very first step for making your bhang if you go this route. Once the weed is heat-activated, follow the rest of the recipe, and you should be good to go!
Just keep in mind that edibles take longer to kick in than smoking weed, and they usually hit much harder than smoking, too. So, as always: Start low, go slow, and sip responsibly.
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