Thursdays, with their it’s-not-Friday-yet-and-still-there’s-so-much-to-do energy, often need a little help in the unwinding department. With this week proving no exception, I meandered over to the Gustine Market, my neighborhood corner shop, after work to see what goodies it had on offer in its chill-out department.
Passing over my usual selections — Australian licorice and wine — I landed by the cannabidiol (better known as CBD) seltzers, which includes a decent selection of standbys such as St. Louis’ own Mighty Kind. A few varieties of a sleek, modern can designed with a nod to the minimalist aesthetic caught my eye: Dram. With “Adaptogenic Sparkling Water” and 25 mg Hemp stamped on its front, I felt sure I’d spotted tonight’s champion.
Like so many products nowadays, the Dram seltzers appear to lean hard into wellness culture, and I decided on the Beauty Bubbles variety, as I can always use a little more beauty in my life. In addition to CBD, this one includes nine adaptogens, or plants thought to have health benefits. This brew has everything from Coenzyme Q10 (antioxidant) to silver ear mushroom (collagen production) to amla berry (hair benefits).
Though not a true believer in adaptogens, I’m not above the appeal of, “Hey, this might do something.” Nor am I above enjoying some good smack talk, as in Dram’s shade toward the “so-called ‘natural flavors’” widely included in other seltzers. (I think that side-eye is pointed at you, LaCroix.) Still, the claim on Dram’s website that flower essences, “are the vibrational magic of a flower that has been transferred and stabilized in water” made my eyebrows rise into my hairline.
I thought I was just getting a drink to unwind. Turns out I’d bought some magic.
That said, the only thing that matters with a CBD seltzer is taste and effect.
Dram flavors Beauty Bubbles with a housemade rosewater and bilberry, the latter of which I could not discern. Its carbonation level could only be described as standard, rather than having, say, a Topo Chico mini-bubble type of effervescence. The overt taste is floral, though not overwhelmingly rose. It’s slightly fruity and has a strong but not overwhelming bitter, herbal undertone. It reminded me of bitters, which makes sense after learning that Dram started out in that sphere, and Beauty Bubbles tastes like it would make a good mixer.
Overall, it all comes off sophisticated, and I felt like a real grown up drinking my non-alcoholic beverage on the couch and reading a book that was definitely more literary than a popular murder mystery, later made into a TV show, about an anthropologist who solves crimes by examining bones.
I’ve never had much luck with the oil-based CBD tinctures, but there’s definitely something about a CBD seltzer, and Dram’s 25 mg of full-spectrum CBD delivered. CBD isn’t going to get you high but, for me, it does seem to alter reality slightly. I feel just enough. I’m separated from any anxiety; I get calm; I have a good shot at sleeping through the night.
Under Dram’s influence I was all those things but also invigorated. Probably that was the flower magic! It was a novel experience that I’m looking forward to repeating with a taste test of the remaining Dram flavors — Lemongrass, Gingergrass and North American Sweetgrass — alone or as a cocktail mixer.
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