Vanuatu leads push to make narcotic drink kava a worldwide favourite
Impoverished Pacific island nations aim to capitalise on famously potent spirit that can only be made from local plant – Eleanor Ainge Roy Tuesday 28 November 2017
The Pacific archipelago of Vanuatu is leading a push to standardise production of kava in a bid to increase exports of the narcotic drink and improve the quality for local drinkers.
The kava plant — Piper methysticum — only grows in the south Pacific islands, with each one producing different varieties according to growing conditions, soil and climate, much like the different varieties of tea, coffee or wine.
The sedative brew is made from the roots of the kava plant, a member of the pepper family. As a drink it looks like muddy water and has a bitter aftertaste, but it is popular in the islands for its relaxing, narcotic properties.