Updated by Rachel Tellez: February 25, 2019
Mamajuana, the famously sexy beverage of the Dominican Republic, is one thing visitors of the country never forget! It’s something everyone should have on their “must-try” list when you’re hanging in this island paradise. From the moment you land in the DR to the moment you get back on the plane, the locals are always there to welcome and send you off with a shot of their national drink. But, before you head to this enchanted isle, here are 10 things you probably didn’t know about Mamajuana.
- Taino Indians, the native people of Florida and the Caribbean, first enjoyed Mamajuana as an herbal tea, until being corrupted years later by rum and wine.
- Mamajuana is rumored to help with the flu, digestion, blood circulation, kidney health and liver tonic. Even so, no, mamajuana doesn’t count as an actual “wellness shot.”
- Translated, it means “Mother Jane,” which is not meant to be confused (or used) with Mary Jane.
- The popular drink inspired a 1950’s song by Jesus Rodriguez called “Mama Juana,” which Tatico Henriquez sang and made it a hit in the Dominican Merengue scene.
- It’s most famously known as an aphrodisiac. So much so, that local residents in the DR call it the “baby maker,” or “el para pelo,” which means “lift the stick!” Consider this a heads up.
- Mamajuana has been referred to as the Dominican version of moonshine.
- At one point during his term, President Rafael Trujillo tried to arrest anyone who sold Mamajuana without a certified medical license. Glad this guy isn’t around anymore to be honest.
- Sometimes, the aftertaste can be a bit strong, much like absinthe. Be ready with a chaser.
- The name originally came from the French term, “Dame Jeanne,” (Lady Jane) that describes the large bottle with a narrow neck you see Mamajuana in.
- Mamajuana is made with rum, red wine and honey, which then soaks in a bottle with tree bark and herbs–not to be confused with a bird’s nest.
Do all these things make you want to try it even more? We don’t blame you! Check out these other popular drinks that have a cool history behind them, too.