The good “ship” — rather, repurposed parcel truck — S.S. Bertha has come to peddle its South Pacific goods: kava. For those unfamiliar, kava is the name of both a plant (Piper methysticum) and a drink made with the root of that plant.

It’s mildly psychoactive, containing a class of chemicals called kavalactones that have sedative, anti-anxiety and euphoriant effects. Stateside, wellness types push it as an alternative for sober folks to enjoy and relax with, which tracks with how it’s been used by peoples of the South Pacific for at least 1,500 years.

Kava Works, which opened in February 2021, claims to be the first mobile kava bar. While we can’t say that with total certainty, we can confirm that the Sinful Granny they serve warrants our respect.

Traditionally squeezed kava mixed with apple juice and cinnamon bears an apple aroma. Flavor-wise, the earthy, woody taste of kava meets cinnamon and malic acid tartness, an acquired taste but far from bad. We got a double, which numbs our tongues instantly and provides a mellow, calming effect, free of any disorientation.

While we enjoy a faster effect from their kava extract-based Fruity Pebbles “kavtail,” which leads with cereal milk flavor to a highly bitter, tannic finish, the flavor’s less pleasant. Regardless, it’s a very different kind of buzz and worth looking into. 

Griffin Swartzell is a food reviewer and contributor for the Colorado Springs Indy. This Colorado Springs native joined as an intern in early 2014, freelancing until they joined the staff full-time in late 2015.