WHAT IS MAMAJUANA RUM?

MamaJuana (or Mama juana) is a natural herbal spiced drink of the Dominican Republic, it is concocted by allowing dark rum soak in a bottle with tree bark, herbs, Honey and sometimes red wine is added for the balance.

The liquor acts like a concentrated base which pulls out the therapeutic properties of the herbs, it is said that the more the barks and herbs sit in the liquor the more powerful the curative properties.

Mamajuana is known for its medical and aphrodisiac qualities and was initially made as a remedy or prescription to fix a significant number of the various pains and illnesses of individuals, with a history that returns to the Taino Indians in Hispaniola. This makes the historical backdrop of Mamajuana, over 500 years. Today it is known as a drink you get served at a get-together and most bars really makes their own versions. Pretty much every Dominican family has their own versions and they invest wholeheartedly in their own items and making Mamajuana is a significant piece of Dominican culture. As a visitor to the Dominican Republic, you will most likely be offered to test it out so the majority of the 7-8 million visitors to the Dominican Republic will know what it is.

The traditional way to make Mamajuana is to buy the different ingredients and start mixing your own but the most common way now is to buy the herbs already on a bottle so you just need to add the different liquids. On every street corner in Santo Domingo or other Dominican cities with tourism, you will find vendors selling bottles with the herbs already mixed.

Mamajuana has for very long been a product for local private production without any plan to make it into a proper well-made product but lately, a few premium brands have popped up and have started the job to make Mamajuana into a drink not only for holidays in the Dominican Republic but for the world market and Anteroz is probably the most ambitious one out there with 2 types of Mamajuana and 2 types of regular rum.

HOW DOES MAMAJUANA TASTE?

Mamajuana is a naturally-spiced rum and must not be compared to the spiced rum you know from before, because all the spices come from the process with the herbs and it doesn’t have any artificial flavours or colours. It’s also a bit sweeter and smoother on the palate. 

When you drink the premium brands you should start by drinking it as a Whiskey or a Cognac by letting it linger on the tongue to make all the different herbal flavours present itself. 

Mamajuana is a category of its own. It's made with Dominican rum. Once you infuse the Mamajuana ingredients and add honey, it becomes a Mamajuana.

WHAT IS MAMAJUANA USED FOR?

There are no official claims as to the medicinal properties of the MamaJuana drink. Mamajuana, because of its alleged curative properties is often used as a natural remedy for a number of health issues such as aches and pains, flu remedy, digestion and circulation aid, blood cleanser, kidney and liver tonic, making it an all-inclusive healer. Among many of its health remedies, Mamajuana has been nicknamed the  “baby maker”, El Para Palo, which means “lift the stick”  and “viagra Dominica”, because of it’s rumoured aphrodisiac quality which has been documented and appreciate over the years; the most common way of drinking mamajuana is as a shot, at room temperature but the premium brands have started to experiment with making cocktails and long drinks as totally new drinks on twists of classics. A list you can find here: 

 

Mamajuana is deeply rooted in Dominican culture and every family has its own twist on the recipe and would normally have a batch under production at any given time and many bars make their own “back-room” production.

Recently we have seen brands like Anteroz making Mamajuana into a premium product ready to serve from the bottle and you can now get it off the shelf or in your local bar in many places in the world. 

THE HISTORY

Mamajuana was first prepared by the indigenous Taino Indians natives of Hispaniola, although at the time it was brewed as a herbal tea and the rum was added later as the main liquid in mamajuana. The herbs and tree barks used in the making of Mamajuana comes from the native Tainos. it has since evolved into a well-known drink.

 

When Christopher Columbus an Italian explorer arrived, he mixed the Taino herbal tea with rum, red wine, and honey to create the spicy-sweet shot (mamajuana), making him the proper maker of mamajuana.

 

The Mamajuana tradition is very old, how old we don’t know but the one that standardized it was Jesus Rodriguez in the 1950s when he started going through the tradition and the different herbs used and after many visits around in different places in the Dominican Republic to collect local herbs he came up with a list of herbs that has since been the Mamajuana standard but they are still mixed both for spices and volume of each herb so there are still a 1000 ways to make Mamajuana

ILLEGAL PRODUCTION AND THE FIRST INFLUENCER

The notorious dictator from President  Rafael Trujillo during his dictatorship, controlled the sale of Mamajuana after it turned out to be incredibly famous with the people, particularly after Jesus Rodriguez did his work. As per the law, just individuals with a medical licence were permitted to make and sell Mamajuana.

Porfirio Rubirosa: the well known Dominican playboy who was a prominent consumer of Mamajuana, he was a follower of Trujillo, he was a race car driver, polo player, he was celebrated for his sexual ability in addition to other things.

Rubirosa is also famous for being the alleged inspiration for Ian Fleming’s James Bond, so maybe in the future Bond films, the main drink should not be Vodka Martini but Mamajuana.

HOW DO YOU MAKE MAMAJUANA IN TRADICIONAL WAY?

There are a lot of questions about how Mamajuana is made, questions like, What are the herbs in Mamajuana? What is Mamajuana made of?   

The process of making Mamajuana isn't as difficult as it might sound, it requires various tree coverings and herbs with a blend of alcohol and honey, and generally, recipes vary from person to person, below is a rundown of the most commonly recognized ingredients and recipes for making mamajuana and a guide on the most proficient method to blend them to make the spicy-sweet shot; the sticks, herbs, and barks used for making mamajuana are taken from different trees in the Dominican Republic.

Anam· (Petiveria alliacea)

Anis Estrellado (Illicium verum)

Bohuco Pega Palo (Cissus verticillata)

Albahaca (Ocimum basilicum)

Canelilla (Cinnamodendron ekmanii)

Bojuco Caro (Princess Vine)

Marabeli (Securidaca virgata)

Clavo Dulce (Whole Clove)

Maguey (Agave spp.) leaves

Timacle (Chiococca alba)

In addition to the above standard recipe, it is common for individuals to add other ingredients such as cinnamon, raisins, strawberries, molasses, and lemon or lime juice[1]. Some recipes are said to include grated tortoiseshell,] or sea turtle penis shaft for aphrodisiac effect however this, if it was ever a case, are no longer legal or possible.

Some people prefer to cure the woods when making Mamajuana for the first time. This implies that the twigs and sticks must be soaked in and

allowed to absorb liquor to expel harshness i.e bitterness, before including the rum. Numerous individuals use gin for this reason, curing  the wood is accomplished for at least a month (six weeks) and a half before pouring it out and including dark rum and other ingredients to be added.

HOW DOES MAMAJUANA TASTE?

Firstly, take the ingredients including roots and twigs and drop all of them into a blending of rum and red wine. Allow the ingredients to soak into the blended cocktail for a maximum of two weeks.

Secondly, take honey and dip 1-2 tablespoons of honey in a blended mixture of rum and wine. Adding red wine is important because rum only can make the prepared Mamajuana drink quite strong. Allow it for 2 weeks; the combination of the dark rum known in the Dominican as Gasoline mixed with wine and soaked in the bark and herb mixture makes this drink very potent.

Thirdly, blend both mixtures.

Lastly, Fill the prepared Mamajuana in a bottle or bottles.

HOW LONG DOES MAMAJUANA LAST

It is debatable how long a specific bottle of Mamajuana can last and how many times it can be reused; some say indefinitely, others ten years, others more specific from 2 – 6 times and Some people claim that the average bottle can be refilled 15 to 20 times.

 

The more times the herbs and bark are soaked in alcohol and honey mixture, the less bitter the combination tastes. Some versions include ginger, cinnamon, and vanilla; there is no right or wrong recipe; the recipes vary but some of the herbs are always present and it is important for the effect as a remedy and aphrodisiac.

IS MAMAJUANA ILLEGAL?

  1. (No Mamajuana isn’t illegal, Mamajuana used to be illegal a few decades ago but not anymore. MamaJuana is bottled in two ways. The first with just herbs and tree bark for you to take home and mix the rum and wine yourself and the second a ready to drink version which has been soaked and prepared for you; for personal use. 

When you transport Mamajuana to your home destination, it is best to have the bottle filled with the filtered liquid. Many times, not always, the customs at the airport will not let a bottle pass with the dry ingredients as it is considered to be an agricultural product (plant material), In some countries, it is not allowed to bring back the sticks, just the filtered liquid can be allowed through the airport.

Customs in some countries, do not permit the transport of Mama Juana if it is not in its liquid form

If you take dry Mamajuana ingredients home with you, be warned, Customs may confiscate it. Those with liquid versions are subject to the alcohol importing restrictions of their customs office, but those with dry ingredients may be confiscated on the spot. Mamajuana, in its dry form, is considered a plant or animal product (as customs told us that bugs could be in the bark and leaves of the dry version). However, the alcohol content and soaking of the leaves and bark kill any bugs that may be in the liquid version of the drink.

While some countries Customs may not ask you directly if you are carrying the dry ingredients, failing to report their transport, whether you are aware of the rules or not, is subject to confiscation and a possible penalty for not disclosing. Laws about Mamajuana varies from country to country, it is best to research your local law before bringing in any foreign goods.

HOW CAN I BUY MAMAJUANA

Mamajuana can be bought in various places but since the drink is native to the Dominican Republic, it is, without a doubt the best place to buy genuine products, the herbs can be bought in a box or already in a bottle ready to add the liquid (rum, wine, and honey) although if you buy just the herbs on the street in the Dominican Republic, you may end up with a product that is not according to safety and health regulations and studies. There have been studies of the dried herbs finding all sorts of extra and not wanted materials included like bird droppings, insects etc. So be sure to wash and clean them before you start making your own Mamajuana. The best option is to buy one of the premium brands like Anteroz.

Mamajuana is sold across many online sites but it is advisable to buy only from the most reliable suppliers of the most authentic products; When buying the concoction, be sure you are buying it from a reputable souvenir store or distillery, in a sealed bottle.

Recently, there has been a strong interest for natural drinks and Mamajuana fits right into this category and you can now buy Premium Mamajuana like Anteroz from a number of shops or the Anteroz web-page.  LINK

Is Mamajuana dangerous to drink?

NO!!! it is not dangerous to drink Mamajuana, it is basically made from herbs and roots with a blend of alcohol, which is good because, any harmful bacteria that may be present in the ingredients are killed by the strength of the rum that is added. The normal strength after mixing is done is 30% alcohol. So relax and enjoy the spicy-sweet shot.

IS MAMAJUANA AN APHRODISIAC?

Mamajuana can be bought in various places but since the drink is native to the Dominican Republic, it is, without a doubt the best place to buy genuine products, the herbs can be bought in a box or already in a bottle ready to add the liquid (rum, wine, and honey) although if you buy just the herbs on the street in the Dominican Republic, you may end up with a product that is not according to safety and health regulations and studies. There have been studies of the dried herbs finding all sorts of extra and not wanted materials included like bird droppings, insects etc. So be sure to wash and clean them before you start making your own Mamajuana. The best option is to buy one of the premium brands like Anteroz.

Mamajuana is sold across many online sites but it is advisable to buy only from the most reliable suppliers of the most authentic products; When buying the concoction, be sure you are buying it from a reputable souvenir store or distillery, in a sealed bottle.

Recently, there has been a strong interest for natural drinks and Mamajuana fits right into this category and you can now buy Premium Mamajuana like Anteroz from a number of shops or the Anteroz web-page.  LINK

Is Mamajuana dangerous to drink?

NO!!! it is not dangerous to drink Mamajuana, it is basically made from herbs and roots with a blend of alcohol, which is good because, any harmful bacteria that may be present in the ingredients are killed by the strength of the rum that is added. The normal strength after mixing is done is 30% alcohol. So relax and enjoy the spicy-sweet shot.

MAMAJUANA FUN-FACTS

Fun Fact 1

Porfirio Rubirosa was not only married 5 times, he was also linked romantically to Dolores del Río, Eartha Kitt, Marilyn Monroe,[9] Ava Gardner, Maria Montez, Rita Hayworth, Dorothy Dandridge, Lupe Velez, Soraya Esfandiary, Peggy Hopkins Joyce, Joan Crawford, Veronica Lake, Kim Novak, Judy Garland, and Eva Peron. When asked about how it was possible to keep up with all this women by a journalist he replied, “well you know in the Dominican Republic we have something called Mamajuana and that gives me all the power I need”.

Fun Fact 2

Rubirosa is said to be Ian Fleming<s inspiration for the James Bond character. ​

Fun Fact 3

After winning the 2018 World Series, Eduardo Nunez of Boston Red Sox explains how they prepared for the last game with Mamajuana, pure Dominican Style.  See video her

Fun Fact 4

Upon Columbus arrival in Hispaniola in 1492 it is said that the local Tino indians cared for a lot of sick sailors by giving them Mamajuana as a medicine. 

Fun Fact 4

Business Insider called Mamajuana “Secretly the best rum drink in the Caribbean” in an interesting presentation of traditional Mamajuana. See video here

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