Gracias Madre introduces the Honeydew Melon CBD Refresher for Cinco de Mayo
Legendary vegan Mexican restaurant Gracias Madre in West Hollywood introduced today the VYBES Honeydew Melon with Mexican Holy Basil CBD refresher. It's a mouthful to say, but dang is it refreshing.
We sat down with Maxwell Reis, beverage director and mixologist for Gracias Madre who invented the Honeydew Refresher to explain what to expect when you add our fast-acting CBD to an Aqua Fresca.
VYBES: Tell us a little bit about your background being a mixologist.
MAX: Yeah. I've been bartending since literally the day I was able to. For a long time I served, hosted, bussed, all that stuff. Eventually I decided I wanted to do something a bit more creative in the kitchen. At that time, I had the perception of it that people had been doing for years and years and years, and there was no way I could kind of catch up, which is not the case.
I was like, well, I like the idea of cocktails at the time because I was about to turn 21, so nobody is going to be more advanced than I am for my age. I'm starting right at the right point. So I decided to start making that transition. I started bar-backing and took a big pay cut. And then the day I turned 21, when the bartenders didn't show up, so they just brought me over and started bartending. So I've been running programs in La for a while now. I'm 33 now. So it's been twelve years of cocktailing here.
I've run wine programs, I've run beer programs, cocktail programs. And as time has gone on, I've shifted more and more towards basically ethical spirit production, things like that. So basically, I don't think we should expect a chef to make something delicious out of terrible ingredients. And I don't think we should expect the same from the bar side of things. We try to get people to focus on what they're putting in their bodies that is beyond shitty alcohol being advertised. Well, instead it's going to be supporting the little guy. We're doing the research for you. So I'm a bit of a spirits and cocktail dork.
VYBES: I love it. Okay. So for the VYBES collab, tell me what to expect when I drink the VYBES agua fresca.
MAX: Yeah. So this is actually a fun little callback for us as a restaurant. One of the main reasons I have my job here is because I assisted with them when they were launching their CBD cocktail menu years and years ago when it was just budding and hitting the people's radar. So that was very popular for us for a very long time. Although we initially mixed it more, it was the fireball in the past. So we're excited to bring it back now and kind of bring it back into the modern drinking culture, which I think a lot of people are looking for, not CBD in their cocktail, I think more so looking for an alternative for if they don't particularly want to enjoy alcohol that day. So we decided to basically make it. We don't overly complicate it. We want to make it something that isn't fussy, but it's a beautiful agua fresca. The flavors that will complement, I think what people associate with cannabis even though this is a flavorless powder or CBD extract that we're adding so it's honeydew melon which is delicious and then ojasanta which is a Holy Mexican leaf. It's also called Luke beer leaf.
It has a very botanical interesting flavor so it really adds this kind of interesting nuance and I think creates something memorable while refreshing and not confronting. You can mix with the CBD awesome.
VYBES: I've got two more questions. One is really quick what dishes would you pair with the new VYBES drink?
MAX: I mean, that's kind of one of the fun things is we did kind of create it to go with basically anything but I think it would go really well with anything kind of fun and citrusy like our coconut ceviche I think would be my top pairing with that.
VYBES: Sounds like a summer day.
MAX: Yeah, exactly.
VYBES: And then the last one is for the trends for non alcoholic/sober curious: where do you think this trend is going? What do you think is impacting it?
MAX: I think that more and more people are appreciating an alternative and on a public alternative they want the ritual they want all the things you would associate with a cocktail outside of the alcohol and I think anything we can do to aid in that is our responsibility in the beverage and hospitality field to heed that call. Yeah. Which I think is great. So for me it's a lot of our non alcoholic opportunities that are hitting the menu I find them kind of inexpensive replacement so something like a CBD that actually has a use, I think and it can be implemented to provide an alternative experience for our guests.