A Dominican Dream: Mama Juana
Mama Juana or “Mother Jane” refers to a type of squat bottle that this drink is traditionally stored in. The Mama Juana drink began as a tonic or herbs steeped in tea mixture that was seen as a cure-all. This tonic is thought to heal everything from the flu to digestion trouble, aid in circulation, cleanse the blood, assist in making you more sexually potent, healing the kidneys and liver, and helping you sleep better. In the 1950’s alcohol was added and then sold as an aphrodisiac in the Dominican Republic. Some even refer to Mama Juana as “Dominican Viagra”.
The basic recipe of Mama Juana is a mixture of rum, wine, herbs, roots, and honey. They steep for a long time together and become a deep red concoction that is kept and served at room temperature in shot glasses.
How To Make Mama Juana?
Mama Juana does take time, as there are several steps and waiting periods to have the best outcome. The longer your Mama Juana sits in a cold, dry, and dark place, the better the taste will be. Traditionally you can also keep adding liquor or wine to your initial base never to run out. I recommend finishing the bottle first, then assessing the leftover mash to see if it can be re-used for another batch.
Enjoy your “heal-all” tincture of Mama Juana with friends as an after dinner drink or socially when gathered with friends between meals. A word of caution about drinking someone else’s Mama Juana is that everyone uses different kinds of herbs and barks, and some may be potentially bad for you. So please use caution. I advise making the recipe found below as a safe and much tastier way of invigorating yourself.