Have a Drink: Mamajuana


Mamajuana is a Dominican tradition

Mamajuana shots | Relampago’s Rating: Star16Star16Star16Star16StarBW16

Widely available in the Dominican Republic, if you’re elsewhere in the world you’ll likely have to special order the “aphrodisiac” Mamajuana. It’s a mixture of honey, wine, and rum which have soaked with a special type of wood inside a bottle. The taste is similar to port wine and it makes for some tasty shots. Or, it can also be drunk straight from the bottle if you enjoy being uncouth like me.

Here’s a quick history of the drink:

Mamajuana was invented as a local herbal medicine and aphrodisiac in the 1950s by Jesus Rodriguez, a native of San Juan De La Maguana. Rodriguez would commute with others in trucks to Barahona, Azua, Pedernales, and many other provinces in the Dominican Republic to collect the stems needed to create the medicinal drink. He would often use Carne De Carey (Tortuga) which was the active ingredient that made the aphrodisiac. Rodriguez eventually would be known under the moniker “Mamajuana” by many of the locals, Tatico Henriquez and other merengue típico artists such as Trio Reynoso and El Cieguito De Nagua, who were close friends of Rodriguez.

Even though it sounds like “marijuana” it has nothing to do with the recreational drug. It is rumored to have legendary aphrodisiac qualities among locals but to me that just comes from the alcohol. Everyone gets in the mood when they’re drinking.

If you’re in the Caribbean visiting or even if you have to special order it, I recommend this unique island experience when you get the chance. Oh, and to set the mood here’s a hit song highlighting some of the top destinations on Hispaniola and “drinking Mamajuana in Punta Cana.”


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