“The Kick” from Lulu Carpenter’s at the Octagon

“The Kick”was the brainchild of a few guys at Lulus who wanted to do something special with peppers. “The Kick” as it is today is the result of many hours of trial and error. Rather than resorting to prepackaged or processed ingredients, Sam wanted to rely on real, wholesome, fresh ingredients. Sam cooks a lot and is definitely a foodie, in my personal opinion. So, it seemed natural that he was given the job of creating the recipe.

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Sam is a master barista, whether or not he is willing to admit it. He is also a chef of the coffee world in some ways. One afternoon, he plopped down a bag of peppers from the Farmer’s Market, stating, “I’m experimenting.” He had talked about something with chili and spices in a chocolate drink before, and finally he was going to do it. Every few mornings or so, I would come into Lulus and he would be in the back cooking up different varieties testing them out. A few weeks later he came up with his now famous local concoction: the Kick. It is essentially a mixture of peppers and spices combined with chocolate to make an amazing ganache. The result is a deliciously sweet and slightly spicy rich chocolate sauce that can be used in Cacao, Mochas, or chocolate milk.

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Sam has told me he had another motive for creating “The Kick.” He believes in utilizing coffee as a variable ingredient in drinks and cooking rather than taking a “purist ” standpoint and leaving the coffee untouched. Rather than avoid the of distinction of doing “food+coffee,”  he wanted to showcase a high level of culinary skill to demonstrate that there is room in the industry for versatility and growth. Coffee can be a micro-cosim within the cooking world rather than something separate. I really applaud him for his passion and stance on coffee; not only is it a wise way to interpret coffee, something everyone can meditate upon, he also succeeded in creating a great beverage. Bringing coffee and culinary art together was always his intention with “The Kick,” and I think he is just getting started.

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As it stands, “The Kick” is a unique drink that everyone should try. It is dynamic, delicious, and different. There are many ways to prepare it and personally, I like it with cold milk and a dollop of whip. The level of quality and creativity with this drink hints at potential new directions for certain enclaves of the industry and the places Lulus and Sam may take coffee in the future. Or, maybe not. In any case, congratulations on a great invention.

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