What is Mamajuana

by John Staughton (BASc, BFA) last updated -

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Mamajuana may sound like a made-up word to some of you, but it is actually a popular alcoholic drink in some countries, depending on where you’re visiting.

What is Mamajuana?

Mamajuana is an alcoholic drink that is native to the Dominican Republic. It is made by steeping rum, red wine, honey, tree bark, and herbs in a bottle. Many people wonder about the strength of this liquor, and yes, it is quite strong, although mamajuana recipes vary by producer. The proportions of wine to rum and the ABV of each will greatly affect the strength. This alcohol also contains lots of sugar and herbs, which can lead to a nasty hangover.

Expect about 30% alcohol by volume (ABV). The rum itself can vary from 80 proof to 160 proof, so a homemade variety could be quite boozy.

Dominicans praise mamajuana for its curative properties, and as a powerful aphrodisiac. It is referred to by locals as ‘Dominican Viagra’ or ‘the baby maker’. In traditional recipes, the key aphrodisiac ingredient is the penis of the carey sea turtle – although this is left out of most commercial products for legal reasons. There’s no science to support mamajuana’s aphrodisiac claims, but any type of alcohol will lower a person’s inhibitions when enjoyed in moderation.

For use in traditional medicine, it is believed to aid digestion, improve circulation, be a tonic for the kidney and liver, and stimulate sexual potency.

How to Make Mamajuana?

The herbs and bark are native to the Dominican Republic, but substitutes can be found in the United States. These can remain in the bottle for years as you add more rum and wine over time.

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Mamajuana Recipe

Also known as the Dominican Viagra, mamajuana is also believed to be very beneficial for your health. 
Prep Time15 mins
Steeping Time7 d
Total Time15 mins
Course: Alcoholic drink
Cuisine: Dominican
Keyword: Mama Juana
Servings: 1 Bottle
Author: Paromita Datta

Ingredients

  • 2 tbsp chicory bark
  • 2 cinnamon sticks smashed
  • 1 tbsp cloves
  • 2 agave leaves
  • 1 tbsp basil leaves dried
  • 1 tbsp hibiscus petals dried
  • 3 star anise
  • 500 ml red wine
  • 500 ml rum
  • 59 ml honey

Instructions

  • Fill a glass bottle with chicory bark, cloves, cinnamon stick, agave leaves, and other herbs.
  • Add a quarter cup of honey
  • Fill the bottle with 50% red wine and 50% rum
  • Allow this to steep for about a week
  • Strain and enjoy on its own or in a cocktail.

Mamajuana Effects

Whether it is a placebo effect or not, mamajuana is known to help people feel healthier and more stimulated. It can also cause people to feel overly drunk and hungover, so always limit your consumption to one or two ounces.

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About the Author

John Staughton is a traveling writer, editor, and publisher who earned his English and Integrative Biology degrees from the University of Illinois in Champaign, Urbana (USA). He is the co-founder of a literary journal, Sheriff Nottingham, and calls the most beautiful places in the world his office. On a perpetual journey towards the idea of home, he uses words to educate, inspire, uplift and evolve.

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