What is Mamajuana?

All you need to know about the legendary Dominican drink


In one sentence:

Mamajuana is a Dominican naturally-spiced rum.

(If you go to Punta Cana, it’s probably the first drink the bartender will offer you at your resort’s swim-up bar).

Mamajuana’s History

“Shamans, dictators and playboys…”

Mamajuana is the product of the Taíno People shaman’s energizing tonic combined with alcohol brought in by the European settlers. It dates to the late 1400’s making Mamajuana 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 “epidemic” of the rumored aphrodisiac drink. He issued a decree requiring a medical license to sell Mamajuana. As a result, Mamajuana became the signature underground 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. Hence, the Candela tagline:

“We cannot confirm nor deny the rumors about Mamajuana”.

How Mamajuana is Made

Recipe:

Rum + Mamajuana Ingredients (native tree barks + herbs + spices) + Honey

*Some recipes also include wine.

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 infamously, as a sexual stimulant.


Types of Mamajuana

“Not all mamajuanas are created equal.”

There are 3 types of Mamajuana

  1. DIY Mamajuana: Dry Mamajuana ingredients in a bag. Add rum and honey to your liking. They usually look like this:
DIY mamajuana, dry base ingredients in a bag. You have to add alcohol and honey.

2. Ready-to-drink, with barks soaking in the bottle.

3. Ready-to-drink, filtered:

Candela, a ready-to-drink luxury Mamajuana. Buy here

How to Drink Mamajuana

The most common way to enjoy Mamajuana is to sip it neat. That’s how they drink it in the Dominican Republic.

We also recommend:

  • Shots: a room-temperature shot of Candela is our favorite way to drink Mamajuana. Your chest will feel nice and warm. Tastes like a smooth and sweet spiced rum.
  • Cocktails: while most Mamajuanas don’t mix in cocktails (the flavor can be overpowering), Candela mixes surprisingly well.

Try the “Punta Cana” cocktail (Candela, Passion Fruit Juice and Lemon Juice). You can also make classic cocktails using Candela, such as the Candela Old Fashioned, Dominican Mule and other cocktails.

For Mamajuana cocktail recipes, visit our Cocktails page.

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


One last thing…

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Sources:
Candela Mamajuana: www.drinkcandela.com
Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mama_Juana