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Mamajuana: a Taste of the Dominican Republic

Ready for a cocktail and a history lesson? Keep reading for the history of Mamajuana and a recipe for a Mamajuana Mojito!

Nothing can give you a sense of place and spark memories of recent travel more than a local cocktail. While many of the Caribbean islands produce their own spirits and liqueurs, if you're looking to try something truly unique and exotic, then look no further than mamajuana — the traditional drink of the Dominican Republic (lovingly called the DR). With its rich history and tantalizing flavors, mamajuana is a must-try for any adventurous foodie. In this blog post, we will not only share a delicious recipe featuring mamajuana but also delve into how this intriguing beverage is made.

The Origins of Mamajuana

Mamajuana has been enjoyed in the Dominican Republic for centuries, with its roots dating back to the indigenous Taíno people, the original inhabitants of the Caribbean islands. This traditional herbal drink is made by infusing rum, red wine, and honey with a combination of herbs, tree barks, and roots. The exact ingredients used can vary, as many families and regions have their own secret recipe, which is passed down through generations.

Kristen Heitman, an STG advisor, was recently on an educational trip to the DR and got to try Mamajuana during a mixology class. The blend she tried tasted of cinnamon and clove and reminded her of a Christmas cocktail or Goldschlager without the bite!

The Making of Mamajuana

To make your own batch of mamajuana, you'll need the following ingredients:

  • 1 bottle of dark rum (preferably Dominican, such as Bercelo or Brugal)

  • 1 bottle of red table wine

  • 1 cup of honey

  • A mixture of herbs, tree barks, and roots (commonly used ingredients include anamu, marabeli, timacle, and cinnamon; you can even order a mix from Amazon here)

Here's a step-by-step guide on how to prepare mamajuana:

  1. Start by thoroughly cleaning a glass jar or bottle that has a tight-fitting lid.

  2. Add the herbs, tree barks, and roots to the jar, filling it about one-third full.

  3. Pour in the rum until it covers the herbs completely.

  4. Seal the jar tightly and let it sit for at least two weeks, allowing the flavors to meld together.

  5. After two weeks, strain the liquid into another clean container, discarding the used herbs.

  6. Next, add the red wine to the strained liquid.

  7. Finally, stir in the honey until it dissolves completely.

Congratulations! You have now successfully made your own mamajuana. It's important to note that mamajuana is typically served at room temperature or chilled, and it can be enjoyed straight or used as a base for cocktails. The longer you let it age, the more complex and smooth the flavors will become, so feel free to experiment with different aging times to find your preferred taste. Fair warning: mamajuana is a potent drink, so enjoy responsibly!

A Delicious Mamajuana Recipe: Mamajuana Mojito

Now that you have your homemade mamajuana ready, let's explore a delightful recipe that puts a unique twist on a classic cocktail - the Mamajuana Mojito. Here's what you'll need:

  • 2 ounces of mamajuana

  • 1 ounce of fresh lime juice

  • 1 tablespoon of sugar

  • Fresh mint leaves

  • Soda water

  • Ice cubes

To make the Mamajuana Mojito:

  1. In a glass, muddle the mint leaves with the sugar and lime juice until fragrant.

  2. Fill the glass with ice cubes.

  3. Pour in the mamajuana and give it a good stir.

  4. Top it off with soda water.

  5. Garnish with a sprig of mint.

  6. Now close your eyes, take a sip, and you can almost hear the waves!

The Mamajuana Mojito combines the earthy and herbal flavors of mamajuana with the refreshing zest of lime and mint, creating a truly unique and unforgettable drinking experience. Salud!

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