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What is Mamajuana Dominican Republic Style
Mamajuana is a Dominican Republic alcoholic drink that originated from the herbal tea the Tainos Indians (original occupants of Hispaniola, the island that now makes up the Dominican Republic and Haiti) used to drink. Sometime in the 16th century rum was added to this classic herbal tea. Legend states this mixture can act as a medicinal drink that helps to cure what ails you, can purify your organs, and as an aphrodisiac for men. Mamajuana is a traditional drink to share with friends and family at gatherings.
Dominican mamajuana is a mixture of tree bark, herbs, spices, Dominican rum, red wine and honey. The base (herbs, spices and tree bark) can be used over and over again and all you need to do is add rum, wine and honey to the base.
How To Make Dominican Republic Mamajuana
Step 1. You will need to ferment the tree bark, spices and herbs in a mixture of 50% red wine and 50% honey. After one week of fermenting throw out the liquid in the bottle and you will be ready to make the mamajuana. We call it the fermenting process, but, along with fermenting the base you are also washing the tree bark, spices, and herbs one more time to ensure that they are properly cleansed in case this was not done by the people who sold you the mamajuana.
Step 2. Mamajuana is much like BBQ sauce in the United States. There are many different versions of the sauce -some are sweeter, and some are spicier, etc. This is the same for Dominican mamajuana, but a good base recipe is:
- Rum 50%
- Red wine 40%
- Honey 10%
In time you will figure out the perfect mixture for your taste buds. If you like it a little sweeter, you can add a little more honey, and, if you like it a little stronger, then add a little less wine and more rum. While most Dominicans don’t’ add anything other than the herbs, spices and tree bark with the rum, red wine and honey, there are people who like to add such things as ginger, cinnamon and vanilla, for example. I once had mamajuana where they had added coffee beans to the mixture and I really liked that mix. I know incorporate a little cinnamon and coffee beans.
Note: If you buy a bottle with the herbs and tree bark already inside the bottle and the bark looks a little wet, then in most cases the store where you bought the mamajuana has already fermented the tree bark and herbs for you. It never hurts to clean the herbs and tree bark one more time when you are back home just to give you that feeling of knowing that you cleaned them, but I have never known anyone to get sick from mamajuana other than from drinking too much of it.
Taking The Dominican Mamajuana Back Home
Because the tree bark and herbs could potentially have bugs, etc. that many countries don’t want to introduce into their eco-system, the customs’ officials will take the dry ingredients. However, if you have the rum in the bottle with the tree bark, spices and herbs, the customs officials will be able to tell there are no living bugs, etc. that could be accidently introduced into the eco-system of your country. You will have to transport this bottle of liquid in your checked baggage.
I have been drinking mamajuana for years, almost weekly, and I have made many, many bottles of mamajuana for weddings and other gatherings for here and not once have I ever found anything in the bag of tree bark, spices and herbs other than tree bark, spices and herbs.
If you are worried about this, buy the dry ingredients and in your hotel comb through the bark to make sure it is clean and then you can add the tree back, spices and herbs to a bottle with rum so you can transport it back to your country safely/legally.
Dominican Mamajuana Souvenir
The longer you use the base (herbs, spices and tree bark), the smoother in becomes. The base is known to last 10+ years. This makes a great memory of your time in the Dominican Republic for years to come. We have many past clients who for years have sent us pictures of them enjoying their mamajuana back home with friends. It makes for a great story for all your friends back home and they will for sure enjoy the experience alongside you.
Whether or not the claims of the medicinal benefits or that it acts as an aphrodisiac are true or not, this drink does have mystic powers. Open the bottle, poor a few glasses for your friends and yourself, then watch the power of this Dominican elixir come alive, ensuring you have a wonderful time in the present while filling your thoughts with special memories of the past -your time in the Dominican Republic.
This is one of our suggested souvenirs to take back with you from your visit in the Dominican Republic and you can read here for more Dominican Republic souvenir ideas.