The most common way to use kava is to prepare a tea from the dried roots yourself. But for many, the process of making kava root tea is too much effort.
The easiest solution is to order ready-made kava drinks instead.
You can order fresh kava root drinks, instant kava drinks, or kava cocktail mixers.
Here’s everything you need to know about using kava drinks, what to look for while you shop, and where to buy the best kava drinks in 2020.
Table of Contents
Best Kava Drinks & Shots For 2020
- Kava Drink Mix Root of Happiness
- Kava Shot by Root of Happiness
- Pacific Roots Fresh Green Kava Beverage by Kalm With Kava
- Kava Beverage by Nakmal At Home
- Kava Shots by Amazing Botanicals
Kava Drinks vs. Kava Shots: What Are They?
We need to clear up some of the terminologies around kava beverages because it can get a bit confusing.
- Kava Drinks — refers to any form of kava that comes pre-prepared in a liquid form. They’re ready to drink right out of the bottle. There’s no need for any preparation of kava whatsoever.
- Kava Shots — a subcategory of kava drinks. They come in small bottles that resemble those 5-hour energy shots you often see on the cashier counter at your local gas station. Kava shots come premixed with various flavors (usually fruity flavors), kava extract, and a few other ingredients.
- Kava Cocktail Mixers (Drink Mix) — a fruity base with kava extract added. They’re designed for making various kava cocktails. I should note that it’s not wise to mix kava with alcohol — these cocktails use the kava as the main “active ingredient” rather than alcohol. Kava is often used in this way as an alternative to alcohol.
- Fresh Kava Beverages — a fresh-squeezed “juice” of the kava roots. These are hard to find and have a short shelf life. The only fresh green kava beverage I’ve found so far is made by Kalm With Kava.
Kava Drink Recipes To Try (Alcohol Alternatives)
One of the best ways to use kava is to mix it up in a cocktail of your choice.
You can order kava drink mixers from companies like Root of Happiness, which come as a ready-made mixture of kava extract and mild fruity flavor. They’re used to replace the alcohol in a conventional cocktail, which means you can use it in just about any drink recipes.
The Root of Happiness drink mix comes with a pump top — so you just need to count the number of pumps to determine the dose of kava. Most people find one pump is enough, but you can also use two for a “double” shot.
Kava naturally has a bitter taste, which means it goes best with fruity “tropical” drink formulas like piña coladas, mai tais, or margaritas.
Here are some recommended kava cocktail recipes to get you started:
1. Painkiller Piña Colada
This is one of my favorite recipes of all time. It’s a classic piña colada, but with the alcohol swapped out with kava instead. I like to add a dose of CBD oil to the mix prior to blending to give it some additional painkiller support.
- 1 – 2 oz kava drink mix
- 3 oz pineapple juice
- 2 oz coconut cream
- 1 oz heavy cream
- Dash of angostura bitters
- 30 drops CBD oil (30 mg dose)
Instructions: Mix all the ingredients together in a blender and blend for 15 seconds. Garnish with a pineapple slice.
2. Kava Mai Tai
This is a simple mai tai recipe to save for hot summer days. I like to add a couple of drops of bitter orange essential oil to the mix to simulate the orange curacao you would typically add to this drink.
This one works as both a slushie-style beverage or as a standalone cocktail.
- 1 – 2 oz kava Drink mix
- 2 oz 100% Pineapple Juice
- 2 oz Orange Juice
- 2 oz Guava Juice
- 3 drops bitter orange essential oil
Instructions: Mix all the ingredients in a blender or shaker cup. If making the slushie version, blend with ice for 15 seconds; otherwise, give it a good shake and serve over ice.
3. Muscle-Relaxant Margarita
The simplest margarita mix combines tequila with lime juice and agave — but there’s so much more you can do with this classic drink.
I like to take the conventional formula and add a twist. A dash of sriracha gives it a spicy kick, prickly pear puree adds a unique sweet flavor, or some pink peppercorns give the drink a mild tingling sensation while you drink.
I’ve included ginger syrup as the extra ingredient to give this mix an extra muscle-relaxant kick in the recipe below — but feel free to swap it out with another ingredient of your choice.
- 1 – 2 oz kava drink mix
- 1 oz fresh lime juice
- ½ oz agave nectar
- Pinch of Volcanic or Himalayan salt
- ½ oz ginger syrup
Instructions: Mix all the ingredients in a blender or shaker cup and mix for 15 seconds. Serve over ice and garnish with a lime wedge.
4. Kava Hypnotic
This is a kava cocktail made to look like the turquoise Hpnotiq with its vibrant blue color. In order to get the blue color, we’ll need to add a soda with a similar blue look. I like the bubble gum soda from Jones and find it has a nice taste when mixed with lemon and pineapple juice.
- 1 – 2 oz kava drink mix
- 1 oz pineapple juice
- 2 oz Jones bubble gum soda
- ½ lemon (juiced)
Instructions: Using a pint glass, pour the kava drink mix and lemon juice into a cup over ice, followed by the pineapple juice. Top the rest of the glass up with the jones soda. Garnish with a lemon wedge and serve.
5. Kava Lime Shot
This is a quick kava shooter recipe. The lime juice does an excellent job of masking the bitterness of the kava extract. You can also use lemon juice for the same effect.
- 1 oz kava drink mix
- 1 oz lime juice
- ½ oz simple syrup
- Lime wedge
Instructions: Mix all ingredients into a 3 or 4 oz shot glass.
What Are Kava Shots?
Kava shots are another popular kava beverage. They come in small (2 – 4 oz) bottles premixed with kava extract and a sweet liquid base. They usually have a fruity flavor and may contain other calming or sedative ingredients like L-theanine or passionflower.
You can also find a few kava shots that contain other relaxing or painkilling ingredients like CBD.
Compared to other forms of kava, shots are more expensive for the same dose, but the convenience factor and added ingredients may make them worth the money.
How To Use Kava Shots
This form of kava is super simple to use — you just open the bottle and knock it back. Most are designed to drink in one sitting, but you can also split them into halves for a lower dose.
Kava shots will last a long time unopened, but once you’ve cracked the seal, you should finish it within 24 hours. Keep it refrigerated if you’re going to save it for more than 6 hours.
Key Takeaways: What Are Kava Drinks & How Are They Used?
Kava drinks are a class of kava products that come in ready-made, drinkable liquids.
They come in the form of drink mixes to make alcohol-free cocktails, shots for on-the-go kava dosing, or as fresh cold-pressed kava root extracts.
Most kava beverages are made from a concentrated kavalactone extract rather than the fresh root. They may have slightly different effects than you may be used to if you normally prepare kava tea from dried roots.
If you’re interested in getting started with kava drinks, I recommend you check out brands like Root of Happiness and Kalm With Kava — both companies offer a few options in this category.