I’ve posted an article or two about Mamajuana, that mystical drink you’ll see at every Dominican bar. It’s not pretty, but it is a local favorite, and has been the catalyst for many a wonderful evening here on our island. And if you’re interested in making it, there are couple things you should know. First, Mamajuana, if cured incorrectly or not at all is very bitter. Second, drink with caution; this isn’t Smirnoff Ice. Here are some tips on making your own Mamajuana. You’re going to want to get rid of that strong bitterness. here are some recipes that expedite the curing process.
Mix rum or gin (50%), red wine (40%) and Honey (10%- 3ozfor 750ML, 6oz for 1/2 Gal., 12oz for 1 Gal).
Mix rum or gin with red wine equal parts. Fill bottle about 3/5 of the way.
Use rum or gin. Fill bottle to the neck.
With both recipes, you’ll need to let the mixture soak for at least five days, and get rid of the mixture before starting the maceration process. More on that next.
The Maceration Process
Wikipedia recommends the following leaves:
- namú (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 layman’s terms, those exotic-sounding leaves are effectively agave leaves, star anise, pokeweed, woody grape vines, clove, and milkberry. There are some other ingredients that purportedly boost its aphrodisiac qualities as well. Probably want to skip those, but if you’re interested, check the wikipedia link above.
The maceration process is very similar to the curing process, meaning you fill your bottle up with any of the above mentioned recipes, and add any of the leaves listed above, then let it soak for five days. But the maceration process can last for as long as you want. You keep the leaves in the concoction. The longer you let it sit, the lighter and smoother it gets.
The end result is incomparable. Some call it floral. Others call it awful. Whatever you’re opinion of this traditional Dominican beverage, you’ll remember the experience, and you may go back for more.