Restaurants / Bars

James Beard Award-Winning Houston Chef Enters the Wild World of Hemp With Special CBD Cocktails

Chris Shepherd Keeps It Local With Farm-Friendly Bayou City Partnership

BY // 06.02.21

With his finger in everything from those famed Korean braised goat dumplings to Georgia James’ acclaimed steaks to his lauded bacon sausage, we shouldn’t be too surprised that Chef Chris Shepherd is further expanding his reach by embracing the CBD (cannabidiol) explosion.

Shepherd, in partnership with Bayou City Hemp Company, is introducing a series of signature CBD cocktails at each of the four restaurants in his Underbelly Hospitality stable.

“Partnering with Bayou City Hemp was an easy decision as soon as I toured their headquarters facility in Houston,” Shepherd says in a statement. “They produce the finest quality ingredients from seed to shelf, are local to Houston, and source from Texas farmers; qualities I am passionate about for all Underbelly Hospitality concepts.”

With that partnership on the table Underbelly Hospitality’s director of bars and spirits Westin Galleymore began conjuring up a handful of cocktails incorporating Bayou City Hemp’s Mixer Elixir. According to a release, the Underbelly team assisted Bayou City Hemp in perfecting the taste of the distillate so that it would “blend and amplify the notes of each cocktail ingredient.”

At One/Fifth restaurant, diners can sample the “Cooler,” which is composed of lemon, mixed fruit, Mixer Elixer and ginger beer. At Georgia James, the “Grass Snake” will tickle the tastebuds with its salted grapefruit tonic, lemon, passion fruit, gin, Mixer Elixer and soda. The “Swashbuckle” at Hay Merchant features lemon, elderflower, prickly pear, Mixer Elixir and tonic water. The “Streetcar” (not to be confused with the Sidecar) combines blood orange, lemon, mint, Jamaican run, Mixer Elixir and tonic water.

The “Swashbuckle,” you will note is alcohol free. The other three cocktails can be ordered without liquor.

The Swashbuckle CBD-infused cocktail is on the menu at Underbelly Hospitality’ Hay Merchant.

In addition to having a pleasing taste, Bayou City Hemp boasts, “Unlike most oil-based CBD products with an absorption rate of between 15 to 20 percent the Mixer Elixer utilizes proprietary nano-emulsion technology that is absorbed as much as 90 percent in the human body so the benefits are felt faster and more effectively.”

So, if all the raves about CBD are valid, we can perch on a bar stool, order a CBD specialty cocktail and count on the delivery of stress relief, recovery from inflammation and improved rest. Those are jus some of the touted benefits.

“We could not have asked for a better partner as we enter the food and beverage market,” says Ben Meggs, Bayou City Hemp co-founder and co-CEO. “Whether working with hemp farmers, entrepreneurs developing white-label products, or partnering with established brands like Underbelly Hospitality, we share what we know about hemp.

“But we learn just as much about each industry to tailor to their specific needs in the process.”

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