Open every day from 10am to 2:30am, Kavasutra is New York City’s first kava bar. Located in the East Village, Kavasutra imports high quality kava directly from Vanuatu and believes it’s the best in the world. There are now six Kavasutra franchises across America.
A single shell of kava from Kavasutra costs US $6. It is the equivalent of a 50vt shell but is priced at 650vt. For those who don’t like the earthy taste, Kavasutra also offers a selection of shots made with powdered kava and flavors of coffee, coconut, banana, pineapple, caramel and cinnamon.
Most New Yorkers prefer to drink kava like a cocktail and the Kavasutra menu offers cocktail classics infused with a twist of kava such as the Frozen Kava Pina Colada and Frozen Strawberry Kava Daiquiri. For the more adventurous (as if it wasn’t adventurous enough trying a kava cocktail), the menu offers Jenna’s Lix Cocktail, a kava concoction mixed with a lix shot of your choice and Red Bull. There is also the Fish’s Kavachino – the Kavasutra version of a White Russian.
Ni-Vanuatu locals Tanya Long Wah and Alex Himford recently visited the Kavasutra Kava Bar in New York and tried the double shells (100vt equivalent but priced at US $11), which is served chilled with a slice of pineapple.
‘They serve it the same way as Last Flight Nakamal, which is chilled, but I tasted more water than actual kava,’ said Tanya, daughter of the late Charlot Long Wah, a well-known kava promoter who encouraged kava farmers in Vanuatu to realize the huge economic potential of local kava and believed it to be the best in the world. His vast contributions in the national economic and social development of Vanuatu since before Independence, particularly in the areas of agriculture and namely kava, saw him awarded the highest national award, the National Badge of Honor.
‘For my first time tasting powdered kava it wasn’t bad and you can’t really expect much from a place that does not go about the proper way of traditionally preparing or drinking kava,’ Tanya said. ‘Here it’s more of a social experiment for us but back at home it’s part of our culture.’
Tanya says they received strange looks from other patrons for not sipping their kava the way most New Yorkers do. Instead the couple drank their shell in traditional Ni-Vanuatu style – all in one go! With nowhere to spit, Tanya said, ‘It was a good experience but nothing beats the kava back home.’
FACEBOOK PHOTO CREDITS: ALEX HIMFORD