By Alheli Garcia
I first heard of kava when a friend of mine invited me out for drinks, “It’s like a tea on steroids”, he said. To my surprise, this drink was a tea that had the same effects as alcohol but without the part that seriously damages your liver. These facts were completely new to me. I had never heard of kava and was extremely curious to try it. As we entered Tropikava, the only kava bar in Chicago, the waiter handed us the menu which contained more in depth information about the origin of the drink.
Kava, also known as Piper Methysticum, is a crop from the Pacific Islands that has been cultivated for 3,000 years. It is a traditional drink that was originally served to royalty but now it is a common drink at special events, religious ceremonies and social events. The root is derived from a plant in pepper family and provides euphoric effect to the drinker. It is said to be a natural remedy for anxiety without the risk of addiction. Other effects include: subtle calmness, increased focus, muscle relaxation, reduced stress, mental clarity, nervous system support, and relief from insomnia. In addition, kava has reverse tolerance effects which means that your body will feel the effect sooner each time you drink it. As opposed to alcohol and other drugs, you would require a smaller dose of the strain in order to feel the effects.
To be honest, the taste of kava is not the best. It has a pasty structure which is hard to overcome. However, Tropikava offers a large selection of juices, teas, smoothies which can all be mixed with the kava strains. The menu will walk you through it if you are a first time drinker. Learn about the different strains including the Fijian, Tongan, Hawaiian, and the Vanuatuan. Mix these strains with your choice of fruit smoothies, vegetable juices, or just keep it simple and have the tea. If you’re a picky eater like me, I would highly recommend mixing the kava strain with a combination of citric fruits blended in a smoothie.
If it sounds too good to be true, go try it yourself. It is a great place to visit if you are having a stressful semester. The atmosphere is relaxing and tropical so consider it a mini vacation from your hectic life. Visit Tropikava located in Wicker Park near the Division blue line stop! The prices are pretty reasonable. The Kava drink is worth the cash after you have had a long stressful day. Break the routine to try something new and exotic in the city of Chicago.