Aloha! Welcome to Kanaka Kava, the Hawaiian Awa Bar, where we induce the Aloha Spirit! We start by offering Kava to all the Kanaka. The Kanaka are “the people” so Kanaka Kava literally means “the People’s Kava.” (as opposed to the Chief’s kava or the Kahuna’s kava)
Kava, or Hawaiian Awa, is a natural antidepressant and relaxant. Made from the root of a species of pepper plant known as Awa (Piper methysticum, which is “intoxicating pepper”), Awa has been used by people indigenous to the South Pacific for over 3,000 years. The Kava beverage is a central part of Polynesian Society, and has been used for centuries as a ceremonial, medicinal and also recreational drink.
To make fresh kava (seen here) the root of the plant is harvested then washed and pulverized. The resulting mash is strained through a cloth and mixed with fresh water. Click here for details on how to prepare fresh awa.
With sufficient straining, the kava beverage takes on a somewhat thick, even oily texture as a result of the kavalactones extracting out into the water.
So it is important to keep stirring, mixing and splashing the kava, to keep it from separating and to keep it fresh.
When you come to the Bar, don’t sit too close to the bowl if you don’t want to get splashed!!!