Kava is an earthy drink made from a root known for its relaxing properties. It's been popping up in cafes across the country, including Kansas City. People interested in trying it, or who've already fallen in love with it, can head to Mana Bar in Westport for a warm cup on a frigid day.
There were a few other eccentric additions among the classics when Central Standard’s food critics reported on the best places in town for warm, toasty drinks as temperatures remain frigid.
Mary Bloch, Around the Block:
- Parisi Coffee — Cioccolato is a rich, molten chocolate that comes with house-made, flavored marshmallow. You will need a spoon for this — think chocolate soup.
- Hi Hat — Aztec hot chocolate at this tiny coffeehouse in Westwood Hills is spicy and rich, using bark from the Aztec dark chocolate sold next door at Annedore's Fine Chocolates. Just make sure to call ahead; it's a winter special that's not always on the menu.
- Julep — traditional Irish coffee here is Paddy Irish Whiskey, Messenger Coffee, turbinado and soft whipped cream.
- The Restaurant at 1900 — I Am Root! is a cocktail with aged aquavit, root vegetable mushroom stock and celery bitters.
- Monarch Bar — Stand Alone, made with Germain Robin Antique Brandy, Laird’s bonded Apple Brandy, Plantation pineapple rum, Becherovka (an herbal bitter) and oolong tea, is served in the Parlour Room.
- Libations & Company — Classic hot toddy. At this handsome bartending supply shop located in downtown Lee’s Summit, the timeless drink is made with Four Roses Bourbon, vanilla allspice, hot water and lemon. If you have a winter cold, this is the cure.
- Pirate’s Bone — Bowl of Soul is black tea brewed with steamed milk and sweetened with house simple syrup. And the Otono is a hot espresso-based drink that has house spiced pumpkin seed milk that is garnished with star anise.
- Yum, a Boutique Bakery — This retro-inspired bake shop makes its own hot chocolate mix, from premium cocoa powder in original, salted caramel and Mexican cocoa and is happy to sell you a mug with a dollop of whipped cream. My favorite is the salted caramel.
- Korma Sutra — Sweetened masala chai is one of the final complimentary treats at this family business. With warming exotic spices, black tea and real milk, it's just the right amount of sweet to serve as dessert.
- Ça Va — Bubble Back. Managing partner Caitlin Corcoran started bringing customers who ordered the steamed moules or mussels a small glass of the remaining broth and a small glass of champagne, which is the reason to order the steamed mussels. You enjoy the last of the flavor-packed broth in your bowl and clean your palate with a few bubbles afterwards.
- Monarch Coffee — Strawberry rose hip tea latte is a light pink, frothy wonder made with strawberry beetroot syrup, rosehip tea, steamed milk and a crushed rose petal on top. It looks like strawberry milk and tastes like the color millennial pink.
Q Dyer, tea enthusiast
- Anna Marie’s Teas — Pineapple upside-down cake tea is a wonderfully fragrant black tea at this full-scale yet relaxed tea shop, where customers find lovely tableware and tiered snack stands with all the little nibbles.
- Tea Market — Sencha Claus tea has a base of Japanese Sencha, with sliced almonds, cinnamon, orange slices, vanilla, safflowers and pink peppercorns. Just ask owner Stacie Robertson for a recommendation. She won’t steer you wrong at this shop, where the wall of tea reaches to the ceiling.
- Shang Tea — Wild white tea cake comes in at a modest $350 but makes more than 300 cups of tea. You can also stop by for lunch, have a mooncake and at lease contemplate the tea cake.
- Mildred's — Soy cortado is roughly equal amounts of steamed milk cut with an equal amount of espresso, served in quite a small glass. Sometimes called a gibraltar, a cortado is small, simple and delicious (its name comes from the Portuguese cut). I have one at least four times a week.
- Monarch — Figment of Your Imagination is made with Emmesery Espresso, turkish figs, aquafaba, simple syrup and black walnut bitters. And if you’ve never have black walnut bitters, it tastes like nut, cocoa and cola.
- Mana Bar — Kombucha and kava. These are great caffeine-free alternatives to tea that can also produce beverages with sedative, anesthetic and euphoric properties. Mana Bar also does local kombuchas.
Celisa Calacal is an intern at KCUR 89.3. You can reach her at @celisa_mia.