When the weather outside is cold, snowy and blustery there is nothing better than curling up in front of the fire place with a nice cup of hot cocoa to keep you toasty from the inside out. I found the kava kava cocoa recipe from Rosalee de la Foret's website. I adapted it slightly for my own tastes so you can see the original recipe here: Kava Hot Cocoa. I really found this an enjoyable drink. When you're stuck inside with the rest of the family or roommates, it's best to keep spirits lifted and everyone cheerful to avoid any reenactments of "The Shining." This recipe is easy, simple and contains ingredients and tastes that everyone can find comfort in.
Why did a I choose Kava? I myself was feeling a bit down and my stomach a bit restless due to some recent stressors. I have a gut that likes to let me know when I need to relax. Kava is just one of those things that helps me step back and take a deep breath and have a good laugh without the need for alcohol. Kava kava (Piper methysticum) has a long history in the Pacific Islands as an intoxicating ceremonial drink. It is often drunk during social gatherings and prior to important discussions or negotions in order to relieve in pre-existing tension before conversation begins.
I find instead of getting the "buzz" one might get from alcohol, Kava actually helps alleviate anxiety that may prevent some of us from truly enjoying the moment. The slightly numbing effect on the tongue from the kavalactones gives a glimpse of how this herb functions within our body, causing the muscles to just relax. I think Jim McDonald sums it up well in this statement:
"Think of kava after a crazy day at work, traffic all the way home with honking horns, people cutting you off, and an inability to physically let go when you do finally get home (with every bit of your body screaming Yikes!”). It is a perfect replacement for (and a much better option to) the archetypal "after work drink". Kava kava puts the body at peace."
There are a couple options here for the chocolate part and I've found it delicious both ways. You can use cacoa powder or carob powder depending on your preference. Both have a similar nutritional profile being high in fiber, antioxidants and minerals. If you are sensitive to caffeine then carob offers you a caffeine free alternative along with a slightly more bitter and lighter flavor. If you don't care for how kava tastes then cacoa might be a better option since it is a bit stronger in flavor. I also used full fat coconut milk as my base for the hot chocolate part since it offers a more dense drink that is pleasing and filling to prevent snacking on whatever other foods may be lying around the house.
Kava kava cocoa (vegan):
The traditional way of preparing the kava powder requires first placing it in a muslin bag. Place the muslin bag in 4 cups of luke warm water and massage for 20 minutes. The water should be murky and almost resemble a weak coffee color. If you are like me and this sounds too daunting, you can cheat with the amazing machine called the Vitamix. I placed the kava powder in 4 cups warm water in my Vitamix and blended on low for several minutes until the liquid resembled that light coffee color.
While the kava is blending you can prepare the cocoa. On medium/low heat mix the cocoa, milk and cinnamon in a pot until warm and completely blended. Remove from heat once you reach the desired temperature. Add in the vanilla. Then mix the kava and cocoa in a one-to-one ratio. I usually start with 1/2 cup of each and add just a few drops of maple syrup to sweeten it a touch. You can play with the ratios and adjust as needed. Drink and enjoy!!!