Kava Mocktail Magic: Alcohol-Free Alternatives | Botanic Tonics

Kava Mocktail Magic: Alcohol-Free Alternatives | Botanic Tonics

Reviewed by Jamal Bouie

Crafting the Perfect Mocktail: An Alcohol-Free Recipe Guide

These days, you can saunter into almost any bar and stumble upon a list of mocktails that sound as exquisite as their spiked counterparts. Mixed with the likes of elderflower and thyme—as well as adaptogens and nootropics—mocktails answer the clarion call for superb taste and, in some cases, a sweet, alcohol-free hum.[1]

But, just as you might prefer to nurse a homemade libation at home, you may want to try your hand at crafting a zero-proof potion from the comfort of your kitchen—or, given the herb’s bounty of benefits, a kava mocktail that enhances your R&R.[2]

Get out your cocktail shaker as we offer our top tips and tricks for the ultimate kava mocktail—and explain why you should make room for this Polynesian herb in your backyard tiki bar.

The Rise of Kava Mocktails in Modern Mixology

Recently, sobriety has gone from a hush-hush topic to a lifestyle choice (and, for some, a life-saving measure) touted by everyone from Nicky Minaj to Bradley Cooper.[3]

And it’s not just above-marquee names who are embracing a booze-free way of being, either:

  • 15% of American adults participated in Dry January in 2023[4]
  • According to a recent survey, 34% of U.S. adults endeavored to curb their consumption of alcoholic beverages the same year[5]
  • Approximately 45% of people are intrigued by the notion of “sober bars,” and 39% report they wished they had an alcohol-free hotspot nearby

Kava bars are the indisputable leaders of the sober bar scene.[6] Whether you wander into one in Brooklyn or Honolulu, you’ll find tantalizing concoctions ranging from the “Blue Hawaiian”with kava, pineapple, and blue spirulina at Maui’s Aumakua Kava Lounge to the “Mint Chocolate Grog” with kava, peppermint, and hot chocolate at Austin’s Squarerut Kava Bar.

What’s the Appeal of Kava?

Even better than the mere flavor of a kava mocktail? The potential perks the Polynesian plant may offer, sans the hangover:[7]

  • Bolstered self-confidence in social environments
  • Enriched concentration
  • A greater sense of ease

Studies indicate that the main reason people are increasingly turning to mocktails and embracing a “sober curious” lifestyle is health. As the focus on holistic wellness grows, so do concerns about alcohol’s negative side effects, like poor sleep, dehydration, and digestive issues.[8] However, it’s important to note that researchers have debunked the kava liver damage myth over recent years, showing that high quality kava does not pose a liver risk when used properly.

Essential Ingredients for a Stellar Kava Mocktail

Interested in swapping your Sunday night G&T for a kava drink? It’s one of many possibilities when coming up with a kava mocktail recipe.

Certainly, some people love drinking traditional kava as it’s prepared in the South Pacific—with water or coconut milk. Others, however, prefer to use a kava recipe to temper its sharp, earthy taste with more vibrant flavors. Consider the following fundamentals:

  • Noble kava – The first and most vital ingredient to your beverage is, of course, kava. Whether you opt for a kava powder or a kava tonic is less important than ensuring it’s noble kava (which is rich in kavalactones—the chemical compounds responsible for the herb’s calming effect), manufactured by an equally noble company, and derived from the kava plant’s natural habitat like Vanuatu or Fiji.[9]
  • Fruit juice – Several fruit juices may mask the taste of kava entirely; others may draw out its complex notes. Your best bet is to experiment with a few to discover what pleases your palate, such as:
    • Pineapple
    • Coconut 
    • Citrus (lemon, grapefruit, orange, or lime juice)
  • Non-dairy milks – Coconut, almond, macadamia nut, soy—all can add a delectable creaminess to your kava mocktail and turn it into a treat that resembles a dessert.
  • Herbs – A handful of herbs may elevate kava’s possible effects on your brain and body, such as lavender and turmeric, which may promote a sounder night’s sleep and protection from free radicals, respectively.[10,11] Other top choices for the perfect kava mocktail recipe include:[12]
    • Rosemary
    • Basil
    • Ginger
    • Lemon balm

      The Best Kava Strains for Your Mocktail Creations

      It’s believed that there are more than 100 strains of kava—and each may have a different impact on how you feel.[13] So, when shopping for supplies for a killer kava mocktail, keep an eye out for these powerhouses:

      • Eva, which is thought to organically encourage creativity
      • Melo Melo, which is widely used for the mellow mood it might evoke
      • Mo’i, which may nurture amplified focus 
      • Ono, which has been linked to relaxation

      Step-by-Step: Mixing Your First Kava Mocktail

      Many of the most lauded cocktails and virgin tipples were “designed” through experimentation—which is another way of saying you should have fun when creating your own kava mocktail recipe. 

      However, you’ll still want to follow a few basic rules:

      1. If you’re using kava root powder, add one part kava to four parts water—cold or lukewarm for a kava mocktail, or hot water for a warm mocktail (such as kava tea with honey, ginger, and lemon balm). If you’re using instant kava powder, you can add it directly to your infusion.
      2. Measure out your kava base carefully. Two to four tablespoons of kava may be optimal, but you might want to start with a minimal amount and opt out of the strongest kava if you’re just embarking on your kava journey (and examine how you feel from there).
      3. For mixed drinks, combine your ingredients in a cocktail shaker, cover, shake, and pour on top of ice. For blended drinks, toss your ingredients into a blender and mix until smooth. 

      As for the best combinations for a kava mocktail? 

      That’s entirely up to your taste buds! However, the most mouthwatering mocktails boast depth, balance, and a hint of complexity—such as kava mixed with coconut juice, mango chunks, and fresh mint. Bula to health, indeed.

      Summon Your Inner Mixologist With Botanic Tonics

      Zero-proof beverages have skyrocketed in popularity and will only continue to rise as a growing part of the population searches for ways to unwind without the presence of alcohol.[14,15] Fold kava capsules into your made-from-scratch mocktail endeavors, and you’ll undoubtedly have a winner.

      Botanic Tonics simplifies the process for you. Our feel free kava mushroom drink, which features plant-based superstars like lion’s mane and rhodiola, can be woven into any mocktail you create—all while potentially offering you the magnified relaxation and cognitive prowess that made kava culture famous.

      Enjoy the fruits of quality kava with Botanic Tonics.


      1. Food & Wine. For a booze-free buzz, Americans are heading to kava bars. https://www.foodandwine.com/kava-bars-7500103
      2. Nutrients. Kava as a clinical nutrient: promises and challenges. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7600512/
      3. Cosmopolitan. 35 proudly sober celebrities who say quitting alcohol changed their lives. https://www.cosmopolitan.com/uk/body/health/a33323277/sober-celebrities/
      4. Morning Consult Pro. Dry January participation dips in 2023. https://pro.morningconsult.com/analysis/dry-january-participation-dips-2023
      5. NCS Solutions. Sober curious nation: one in three Americans are trying to drink less alcohol in 2023. https://ncsolutions.com/the-goods/sober-curious-nation-alcohol-survey/]
      6. The New York Times. Dry for January? New bars cater to the ‘sober curious.’ https://www.nytimes.com/2023/01/16/style/dry-january-nyc-sober-bars-alcohol-free.html
      7. Healthline. Kava kava: benefits, side effects and dosage. https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/kava-kava#TOC_TITLE_HDR_5
      8. American Addiction Centers. Risks, dangers, and effects of alcohol on the body. https://americanaddictioncenters.org/alcoholism-treatment/body-effects
      9. Botanic Tonics. 5 types of kava strains. https://botanictonics.com/blogs/botanic-secrets/5-types-of-kava-strains-botanic-tonics
      10. Healthline. The many benefits of lavender for mood, sleep, hair, and skin. https://www.healthline.com/health/what-lavender-can-do-for-you#benefits
      11. Johns Hopkins Medicine. Turmeric benefits.  https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/health/wellness-and-prevention/turmeric-benefits
      12. AARP. 10 fresh herbs that have surprising health benefits. https://www.aarp.org/health/healthy-living/info-2022/fresh-herb-health-benefits.html
      13. Well + Good. Destress and unwind in seconds with this delicious, non-alcoholic herbal cocktail. https://www.wellandgood.com/kava-drink-recipe/
      14. The New York Times. The new sobriety. https://www.nytimes.com/2019/06/15/style/sober-curious.html
      15. Penn State Extension. Alcoholic beverage consumption statistics and trends 2023. https://extension.psu.edu/alcoholic-beverage-consumption-statistics-and-trends-2023

      About The Author

      Jamal Bouie Botanic Tonic

      Jamal Bouie

      Jamal Bouie is an accomplished professional with a Bachelor’s Degree in Chemistry from Lemoyne-Owen College in Memphis. Currently, he is pursuing his PhD in Biomedicine at Salus University. Jamal has worked in several industries; he began his career in pharmaceutical manufacturing and transitioned to the cannabis industry, where he specialized in analytical testing and manufacturing, playing a vital role in ensuring product safety and compliance. Now, Jamal has turned his attention to the dietary supplement field, combining his scientific acumen with his passion for health and wellness.

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