Underserved is a new recurring Y&H feature highlighting the best cocktails you’re not ordering.
What: Make it Happen with Vida mezcal, pineapple, lime, Kümmel, Hellfire bitters, egg white
Where: Kapnos, 2201 14th St. NW
What You Should Be Drinking
The “Make It Happen” at Kapnos gets its name from Mike Isabella’s mantra in the kitchen—a cousin of Tim Gunn’s slogan, “Make It Work.” It combines mezcal with fresh pineapple juice, lime, Kümmel, Hellfire bitters, and frothy egg white most commonly found in a flip. “People see mezcal and egg white and they hesitate, but this cocktail has been on the menu since day one, and it’s not coming off,” says Beverage Director Taha Ismail. Creating a racing stripe down the center is a trail of pink peppercorns, but that’s not the only kitchen spice that Ismail sneaks into the cocktail. French liqueur Kümmel is flavored with caraway, cumin, and fennel. Ismail says his Moroccan heritage attracted him to the exotic booze. “I grew up with food that was heavily seasoned, which is different than spicy,” he says. “My mom would grind some of these same spices into coffee.” On its own, a shot of Kümmel tastes a little like a late-night kebab you’d grab while studying abroad in Europe—not a far cry from Kapnos’ version of spit-roasted meat.
Why You Should be Drinking It
Make it Happen is basically a whiskey sour’s friend from south of the border, thanks to the inclusion of smoky mezcal. Like a sour or a flip, the egg white foam creates a rich feel that cuts through the sting of alcohol. The result is a beverage that beats margaritas at being refreshing, making it the perfect session cocktail to consume on Kapnos’ patio. Expect your first sip to startle you with its unique flavor profile, combining smoke, sourness, and spice.
Photo by Laura Hayes