On social justice, her playlist, and the power of Jazzy Jeff.
Kapri Robinson is just a fun and inspiring human to sit down with for a chat. She’s a tireless champion for the rights of others, founding the first cocktail competition series focused on the BIPOC community in our industry. Today, it’s a full platform, and her work now includes an event series centered on guest empowerment, with black, women-led food and beverage experiences.
“It’s focused on owning your own palate,” the Washington D.C.-based tender says. “What’s being taught in the industry tends to be very Euro-centric and Colonizer-centric. We are hoping to break down racist and sexist norms.”
For someone who is clearly as busy as Robinson, stopping to take a break doesn’t come easily. She, like so many others, noticed that the pandemic really obliterated a sense of timing when it came to mapping out a day or a week.
When work is done at home, alone, it’s tough to realize when quitting time is and decompression is something you have to actively seek out.
“I was so excited to be asked to make this playlist,” she says. “I didn’t think about not being able to now separate myself from now getting off of work. Decompression time is huge.
We are talking about mental health and wellness in our industry, and I think that’s so important to give people back that time. The playlists that have come out so far are awesome.
Who else to give great music suggestions than bartenders?”
She’s right among them, and starts us off with The Way We Cool, by none other than DJ Jazzy Jeff.
“It’s relaxing and you want to groove,” she says, of this track which is the namesake of her cocktail too, with Legent bourbon.
“It’s based on a Buck, which is a favorite cocktail of mine. I infused the ginger with lemongrass and added lime. It’s got those big, ginger-y spice notes.”
DJ Jazzy Jeff stays with us in the second song, 2 Step, and by the time you move into the mix, you are getting some possibly newer vibes and a little dose of travel to the islands.
Ms. Carnival is a fantastic song.
“Riddims are something they do down in the Caribbean,” offers Robinson. “Four artists will make a song to the same rhythm. And they loop into the next song. It’s a sharing thing between artists, and you’re in the sun having a great time. That’s what this track is all about.”
She added in December by IDK and also Turnin’ Me Up by BJ The Chicago Kid––which appear back-to-back.
For Robinson, the overall idea was to build a playlist where you could find a sofa or your favorite chair, mix a drink and just decompress. You don’t need to add anything to the moment other than yourself. Put down your phone, roll your shoulders and just chill out. However, you could also put this one on for a perfect sunny day, over a socially distant backyard drink with a few friends and move your body a bit.
“These are all songs that make me want to dance, but in a smooth way,” she says.
There’s a nod to her childhood on there too, with We Need a Resolution, by Aaliyah, as the finishing song.
“It’s a dope song. But, also, we all need a resolution to so many things right now,” she admits. “It felt right.”
Title and Cocktail Photo By Rey Lopez