I recently used a Groupon for a friend to join me as I initiated myself into the mysteries of Kava. Before arriving at the dimly-lit bar, I was so ignorant that I didn’t realize that drinking Kava was a Big Deal. I thought this place was a funky Starbucks. I had planned to sit around, sip our Kava and schmooz. That is not how you do Kava. The Bartender (?) Barista (?) Shaman (??) said that Kava is a Ceremony. He put three items in front of us: the cup of Kava, a slice of pineapple and something in a shot glass to kill the taste of the Kava which was described as “earthy”. Understatement of the year! You do not savor this stuff. It’s more like a Tequila shot: gulp the Kava and do not stop. You don’t stop because if you did it would be highly unlikely that you would put the cup back to your mouth, it truly tastes like dirt, I mean “earth”. Then, you bite into the pineapple to kill the nasty taste in your mouth and gulp the sweet liquid. Oh, but before you do this, you say some magical words in a foreign language and toast to each other. Then, you leave with the warning –AFTER you have consumed this concoction– that you may feel lightheaded, your mouth will feel numb and you will see fire-breathing dragons (I made that last part up, but I am sure that it is possible if you drink enough).
This was an experiment that I do not believe requires a repeat to confirm that this stuff sucks. Seriously.