What is Mamajuana?

All you need to know about the legendary Dominican drink

Alejandro Russo
Apr 13, 2017 · 3 min read

In one sentence:

Mamajuana is a naturally-spiced rum from the Dominican Republic.

If you go to Punta Cana, it’s probably the first drink you will be offered at your resort’s bar.

Mamajuana’s History

“Shamans, dictators and playboys…”

Mamajuana was originally a health tonic used by shamans to invigorate and energize. The recipe is credited to the Taíno People, which inhabited most of the Caribbean. Mamajuana dates to the late 1400’s making it the first liqueur in the Americas.

Mamajuana gained popularity, becoming a staple in most Dominican homes. Most households made their own recipes, and some even began selling their libations.

That was, until the brutal Dominican dictator, Rafael Trujillo (aka El Jefe), caught on to the rising popularity of the rumored aphrodisiac drink. He issued a decree requiring a medical license to sell Mamajuana. As a result, Mamajuana became the signature folk drink of the Dominican Republic.

It’s commonly known in the Dominican Republic for its rumored “energizing” effects. Mamajuana has many nicknames, such as baby maker, bed breaker, the sticks that raise ‘the stick’ and even “Dominican Viagra”. These are, of course, mostly rumors.


Mamajuana Recipe

Mamajuana is made with:

Rum + Mamajuana mix (tree barks, herbs, spices) + Honey

Let the ingredients infuse in rum for a few months and voilà… you have Mamajuana.

Typical Mamajuana Preparation. Mamajuana ingredients soaking in rum and honey.

The blend of tree barks, herbs, and spices used in Mamajuana is credited to the shamans of the native Taíno People.

These ingredients are said to have health benefits. When infused in alcohol (which extracts the medicinal properties), Mamajuana is reported to have curative effects.

Mamajuana has been used as a cold and flu remedy, a digestive aid, and most famously, as a sexual stimulant.


Types of Mamajuana

“Not all Mamajuanas are created equal.”

There are 3 varieties of Mamajuana

  1. DIY Mamajuana: Dry Mamajuana sticks in a bag. Add rum and honey to your liking. Wait for 1–2 months until the concoction is ready. It usually looks like this:
DIY mamajuana, dry base ingredients in a bag. You have to add alcohol and honey.

2. Ready-to-drink, with sticks soaking inside the bottle.

3. Ready-to-drink, filtered:

Candela, premium Mamajuana. You can order it online here.

How to Drink Mamajuana

The most common way to enjoy Mamajuana is to sip it neat or also: on the rocks.

  • On the rocks: our favorite way to drink Mamajuana. Tastes like spiced rum, but smoother and sweeter.
  • Cocktails: most Mamajuanas will not mix well in your cocktail (the flavor can be too overpowering). Candela, on the other hand, was designed for cocktail-making. Try a Mojito, Daiquiri, Piña Colada and Old Fashioned with Mamajuana. You will be surprised. For more Mamajuana cocktail recipes, visit Candela’s Cocktail Recipes page.
  • Shots: a room-temperature shot is how most Dominican drink it. Your chest will feel nice and warm.

See some of America’s leading bartenders playing with Mamajuana:


One last thing…

If you enjoyed this article, please make it clap 👏👏👏 below to help others find it on Medium.

Sources:

Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mama_Juana

Grub Street: http://www.grubstreet.com/2018/07/mamajuana-dominican-republic.html

Uncommon Caribbean https://www.uncommoncaribbean.com/dominican-republic/friday-happy-hour-mamajuana-the-taste-of-advenuture/

Candela Mamajuana: www.drinkcandela.com

Order Mamajuana Online: https://shop-candela.com/

Mamajuana

Candela! Stories about life, mamajuana and latin culture.

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