The majesty of the rooftop at the Petit Ermitage, a boutique hotel with a view of the Hollywood hills, feels all the more like a wonderland when you're high, sipping puerh while seated next to a dapper gentleman donning a top hat and a psychedelically embroidered Indian overcoat. He was, if you will, the Mad Hatter to my Alice, and my date for the afternoon affair: White Rabbit High Tea, hosted by Jessica Cole.
I can count on one hand the number of times I've been to a tea party — namely all throughout elementary school — before I "grew up," got into weed, and learned that medicinal plants were the key to rekindling that sense of childhood wonder.
"As adults, we don't get the time to play and we forget that by dressing up (with a costume box), being able to take yourself out of yourself for those three hours, and getting really high, you can be a different character, a different version of yourself," Cole told Civilized. "That can be cathartic in some ways, exploring different aspects of your own mental wonderland."
And weed can be especially conducive to just that. "The nature of the mad hatter tea party I think fits really well with cannabis," Cole said, noting that her new product line of tea cups, tea towels, cannabis art and lifestyle products is called Mimsy. "It's a made-up word by Lewis Carroll in the poem The Jabberwocky. It's a combination of whimsy and magic."
A White Rabbit High Tea truly is like stepping into a Lewis Carroll book with every delicate, dainty detail in place. At once theatrical and escapist (who in Los Angeles isn't game for a little escapism?), the tea party invites guests to step into a lost moment in time, a world that at best only lives today within the scope of fiction. The stuff of adult fairytales, this world is filled with floral, porcelain tea cups and doilies, miniature sandwiches and scones, and of course a wide sampling of cannabis products to enhance the experience altogether.
Every tea party is sponsored by different cannabis brands, providing guests with a snapshot of today's cannabis industry. At every given moment, there's a joint going around, or a new product on the table like OLO sublingual strips, for an easy way to microdose.
"I think, generally, White Rabbit High Tea is moving the industry out of the cliché stereotype," Thomas Giordonello - account director at RRPR Creative, which represents OLO - told Civilized. "This is one way to push the industry forward as a whole."
With a plan for 2019 to host seasonal tea parties, as well as with a book about "high tea" in the works, Cole is expanding on the stereotype of cannabis gatherings.
What do we think of when we think of a party that includes weed? That 420-friendly party doesn't necessarily have to revolve around cannabis (after all, this isn't a cannabis cup), but rather integrates cannabis as just another key element on par with the tea or the costumes or the food.
Just as parties that feature alcoholic drinks don't necessarily revolve around alcohol, "high tea" is another way to break out of old, tired stereotypes about cannabis events or cannabis consumer. The class and care put into the event helps augment our image of what cannabis culture is all about.
With an upcoming book about the craft of high tea, the idea of putting together a posh 420-friendly tea party may become commonplace in our mainstream conception of a gathering of friends, artists, entrepreneurs, and so forth, that may simply include cannabis.
"We're trying to integrate more art and culture and expand in that way," said Cole. With not only her book, but also Mimsy in the works, she says her mission is about "lifestyle goods for the modern cannabis connoisseur."
Photos courtesy of Anita Wilson