Cannabis-Infused Ice Cream Now Exists
BY: ADRIEN YOUNG
Just when we thought edible marijuana-tinged treats couldn’t get any better, we found a new pleasantly potent snack. Drip Sweets founder owner Andi Bixel operates with the mantra “It’s good to feel good.” Three years ago, she started Drip as an artisanal cannabis-infused ice cream brand in Portland, before weed was even legal, and she’s since been riding the legislative roller coaster to provide new sensory experiences.
We talked to Andi to get a glimpse into what it takes to start an alternative business.
What is Drip Sweets?
It’s a sweets company that opens up an opportunity for different experiences within us; getting people to a place where they can use their imagination more, create freely, or follow their intuition and allow themselves to know that it’s good to feel good.
Cannabis serves as a tool to get us to these places a bit faster. It opens up a space in our mind where we can shift our perception and play with the concept of reality.
What are people’s reactions when you tell them you work in the cannabis industry?
Everybody seems to have an opinion on cannabis, especially because it’s legalized now. I have some fairly conservative family members, and I notice that every year I stay in business, they open up and become more and more receptive to my journey with Drip. I don’t know if they’re going to be ready try some yet this year but maybe in the next couple of years [laughs].
You had to stop production for a bit this year. How do you keep up with the ever-changing legislation?
I have to be super involved with the politics and what’s going on. There are so many nuances in the ways the rules were written, I’ve learned that whatever is the harshest way you could interpret the law is the way you need to follow it.
You started Drip before weed was legal to the general public.
I started Drip when it was strictly medical and, for me, it was just a fun, cool thing to do–I didn’t think it would become the type of business it is now. Once I started to see how Drip was being received by friends and medical patients, I began to think that I could actually dedicate more time to this, and create a brand. I started thinking of all the things I wanted to encompass with it. I entered the rabbit hole and just kept going.
And through my exploration with Drip, I have realized that we can all use cannabis to become our own healers. We can explore with ourselves and push ourselves to other boundaries, reaching new levels of conversation and realness with other people as well. Other business owners often focus on physical and medicinal values only…and I’m like, “What about our SOULS?” There’s some serious soul-work that needs to happen in this time for humanity.
In the last year, you’ve created some other psychedelic experiences–can you describe them for us?
I built the Psychedelic Candy Shop for Wieden+Kennedy’s 10-year anniversary party. I created a whole world inside a shipping container, complete with optical illusions on the walls and a turquoise AstroTurf path winding towards the candy counter where I, the ‘Trip Doctor’, gave you your recommended dose of infused candy. A lovely lady was spinning CBD cotton candy clouds, and a dapper guy was rolling joints. It was packed the whole night. Probably 100 people tried their first edible that night.
The other one had nothing to do with weed. Yes, weed is a really unique way of getting people’s attention, but there are other ways of getting people into different head spaces.
I was contacted by Nike–they wanted me to do something cool to inspire their people. With another Andy, a killer sound designer from London, we set up a sounds and sweets journey. A surrealist office party with a cool, cheesy, glitching soundtrack so you could tell things were off — aesthetically on but also off. We’d pull people away to sign in for the night, then take them around the corner, blindfold them and lead them into a dome. I made them a series of sweets to lead them through a wild flavor journey — from a rich chocolate piece to a smoked rose ice cream to anise cotton candy. Andy complemented the sweets through sound, to either explode or contrast the flavor. The soundtrack to cotton candy, for example, sounded like what happens when it dissolves in your mouth. We played with the way tone and frequency affect different parts of your palate. We were sitting there watching their reaction. After taking off the blindfolds, the people would be like (wide-eyed) “Whoa, where did I just go?”
You’re working with the senses. It is a psychedelic experience without psychedelics.
What’s most important to me in the work I’m doing is creating moments for people to notice ‘now’ and to also then be able to feel like their imaginations are ignited so they can make other stuff themselves and just go for it. A constant play on what reality means. How to push your experience to different levels through many different mediums because I understand that not everyone is going to want to partake in cannabis. How can I speak to that through other ways?
How does giving people these experiences make you feel?
The reason why I do it is from what I get watching other people do it. That’s the whole point for me. Watching people have fun and get weird and their jokes get funnier or their confidence be raised because they just feel like they’re in this element of being able to just try.
It’s the best.