Skip to main content

What Is Mamajuana? Only the Best Drink from the Dominican Republic.

It’s easy to assume that a trip to the Caribbean will be filled with rum. This assumption, of course, is not wrong. However, when you make friends with locals or pay attention to random people yelling at the bar, you learn about a certain treat.

On a recent adventure in the Dominican Republic, a simple conversation with the concierge at the airport —“What and where should I eat and drink?” — led to an excited response of “Mamajuana.”

If you’ve been to the island nation, you probably already know Mamajuana. If not, you should.

mamajuana candela
Candela/Instagram

Dating back to pre-European discovery and the native Taino population, Mamajuana is a concoction made with rum, red wine, and honey soaked with a collection of barks, herbs, and roots.It is delicious — sweet and viscous, like a dessert wine — and can be aided by any number of flavors like cinnamon, raisins, and molasses. (Alcohol, it should be noted, probably wasn’t added until after Christopher Columbus’ arrival.)

mamajuana cibao
Anna Cervova/Wikimedia

Sure, Mamajuana can be a bit sketchy. While packaged versions are available at many of the gift shops, including the airports, behind the bar, the packaging is not consistent. The bouquets of additions are in anything from crushed plastic bottles to growlers and topped off with eyeballed measures of wine and rum. Bartenders seem to have their own proprietary mixture for an ideal Mamajuana. They’re also quick to offer it up most of the time.

Locals are excited to tout Mamajuana’s medicinal values and its promise to increase vitality, often accompanied by a strong-armed hand gesture. It’s also supposedly a great digestion aid, flu medicine, and organ tonic.

mamajuana kalembu
Mamajuana Kalembu/Facebook

While those health properties are questionable, at best, the true benefit is the way it brings people together. Most often served as a shot, bartenders can be seen pouring shots for everyone nearby (and themselves) and are excited to share the island’s beverage.

Bottled and filtered versions are becoming more popular, like Candela and Kalembu, so it wouldn’t be a complete surprise to start seeing Mamajuana become a staple behind bars in this age of growing demand for obscure spirits from around the globe. While a swanky bar’s use of it in a cocktail is certainly welcome, there’s nothing like walking up to a beachside bar and shooting a warm tipple of Mamajuana as the ocean breeze rushes by your sand-crusted skin.

Pat Evans
Former Digital Trends Contributor
Pat Evans is a writer based in Grand Rapids, Michigan, focusing on food and beer, spirits, business, and sports. His full…
We love these blanco tequilas for sipping and summer cocktails
Blanco tequila is the versatile tequila you need
Refreshing Paloma Cocktail with clear ice, Tequila and Grapefruit

 

If you didn’t know it already, tequila doesn’t have age statements like whiskey or rum. Instead, tequila is labeled in different categories. They are joven (a blend of aged and unaged tequilas), reposado (aged for more than two months), añejo (aged for at least a year), extra añejo (aged for at least three years), cristalino (aged tequila that’s filtered to be clear), and the most bargain-friendly, mixable tequila: blanco.

Read more
This ThermoPro meat thermometer is $70 off as an early Prime Day deal
ThermoPro Twin TempSpike truly wireless meat thermometer in hand

A smart thermometer can really eliminate the guesswork of grilling and cooking. How? In addition to showing the exact temperature of your meat and food, they come with smart app controls to enhance the experience. For example, you can use your phone to track and monitor cooking times, select from preset temperatures for optimal cooking conditions, and more. That is precisely what the ThermoPro Twin TempSpike wireless meat thermometer offers. It comes with two Bluetooth-enabled meat probes, which you can use to monitor and keep an eye on your grilling sessions. It also comes with a booster and standalone display that you can use if you don't want to connect your phone. But right now, for Prime Day, it's $70 off, down from $180 to $110 as a limited-time discount. If you love grilling, you'll want to check this out. After you grab one of the best Blackstone Prime Day deals, of course.

 
Why you should buy the ThermoPro Twin TempSpike wireless meat thermometer
If you're an excellent cook, do you need a smart thermometer? No, probably not, but that's not why you'd get something like this anyway. It's for convenience. We all know it can be a pain to walk away from the grill to grab another beer, tend to kids, or converse with company. This smart thermometer makes it both easier and relatively safer. You can monitor your food from your phone or at least monitor the temperatures and cooking times.

Read more
These are the absolute best beef cuts to smoke
Have memorable barbecue meals by smoking these beef cuts
Smoked meat brisket

 

When it comes to smoking beef, not all cuts are created equal. While pro-level brisket and beef ribs each have their many merits, pulling off each is a unique objective with varying degrees of excellence required.

Read more