Coffee and cocktails with the likeness of ’90s rappers are popping up in the region. It has all the appearances of a classic rap battle—East Coast vs. West Coast.
On the east side (of the Potomac River) is ChefKwame Onwuachifrom Kith and Kin; on the west side (of the Potomac River) bartender Jeremy Ross from Sense of Thai St. in Ashburn, Virginia. Both are channeling their inner Notorious B.I.G. and Tupac fandom and expressing it in what else—latte and cocktail art.
Except this isn’t your typical turf battle or any type of one-upmanship, it’s simply two creative minds at work, each with a new drinks that pay tribute to who they consider to be the greatest rappers that ever lived.
“I had no idea he [Kwame] was working on this,” Ross says. “It’s just coincidence. Great minds think alike.”
At Sense of Thai St., the rappers reveal themselves in egg-white foam in riffs on sour cocktails. Ross created one with tequila for the Tupac version and the other with brandy for the Biggie Smalls version. Both are $12 and new to the menu this week.
“My process is kind of like the edible sugar paper you see on cakes,” Ross says. “I found some rice paper and printed the image on that. As soon as you place that on top of the cocktail, it kind of dissolves into the egg white, leaving the printed image behind.”
It’s all part of a new rap-themed “hip-hop highballs” cocktail menu that matches the style and mood of the bar staff. “A lot of guys are huge fans of Biggie and Tupac,” Ross says. “We are just embracing that love for rap culture behind the bar.”
Back at The Wharf, Onwuachi is serving lattes in Tupac’s image and likeness using a high-tech coffee printer.
“What’s fun is that it can actually do any picture,”Onwuachi says. “Just come in and send us your picture, and we will put your face or pet on a cappuccino and even some cocktails.”
Onwuachi is serving Tupac lattes for breakfast, lunch, and dinner for just a $1 extra, and if you don’t know, now you know—Biggie lattes are next.