What is kava and where can you try it in Austin?

Skip the java, get some kava

A mango juice shot, wooden cup, and glass bottle full of Kava on the table.

Squarerut Kava Bar has two locations: One along Barton Springs and another along North Lamar.

Photo by ATXtoday

Ever heard of kava?

Kava is a drink or extract made from the Piper methysticum plant, which is native to Fiji and other islands in the South Pacific and popularly used in ceremonies for relaxation.

And relax you it does. Chemicals from the plant called kavalactones help promote focus and leave you feeling calm. The nonintoxicating drink is encouraged to be had at any time of day, and is often used for stress and anxiety.

We tried it for ourselves at Squarerut Kava Bar at 1601 Barton Springs Rd. last week — here’s what we thought.

City Editor London cheers with a wooden cup of kava.

We tried the waka and aolani strains.

Photo by ATXtoday

Kava is named after the Polynesian word “awa,” which means bitter, well-named for its earthy taste. Kava Bar sells it in 12-16 ounce portions, with options such as coconut milk and caramel to brighten the taste.

After a few minutes, you’ll start to feel a slight numbing sensation in your mouth, which lets you know its working. We recommend drinking it straight with a cup of mango juice on the side.

Aside from the relaxation from the kava, our favorite part was the tropical open-air bar it is served in. If you stop by, make sure to cheer “Bula!” with your neighbor, as they do in the South Pacific.

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