Mamajuana is a 100% Dominican folk medicinal alcohol beverage. It is a purely Dominican phenomenon that can only be found here. And you already understand that there is no more original gift for relatives, friends, colleagues from this country than this. And rum, coffee, and cigars can be brought from any Caribbean country.

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alcohol dominicans mamajuana
This is what a standard bottle of Mamajuana looks like without herbs and spices. 900 pesos is about $17.

Mamajuana: History and General Facts

Mamajuana is a classic infusion that exists in many countries of the world. If we infuse it with vodka or gin and herbs, the same is true in the Dominican Republic. The only difference is that the base is rum. And instead of herbs, ingredients that grow specifically in this geographical area are used.

It’s important to know:

There are countless types of Mamajuana. Each family has its own recipe and adds its own secret ingredient.

The history of the origin of Mamajuana tincture begins long before the discovery of America by Columbus. Local tribes of Indians, namely shamans, made tincture on herbs, roots, wood. Then it was the only medical drug. The Indians believed that the healing drink cures all possible ailments and diseases, including even infertility.

The new stage of development of this drink came in the times of Spanish conquistadors. Spaniards brought port wine with them, took the herbs and roots from the Indians, and infused them with port wine. Thus, the first Mamajuana appeared.

Over time, the recipe for this drink has changed. New ingredients were added, and the proportion of the main component – rum – increased. Today, Mamajuana is not only a drink, but also a way of life. It is an integral part of Dominican culture and is often used during traditional holidays and celebrations.

In the article on the link you will read everything a tourist needs to know about the rum of the Dominican Republic. How to choose, what is different, which one to carry as a gift.

drink in the dominican republic mamahuana
Mamajuana (Mamahuana) can even be red. More often, of course, dark, like cognac or darker. The price is 500 pesos or 9 $.

The origin of the word Mamajuana

There are many versions of the origin of this word, but there are two main ones:

  • Scientists believe that the puffy bottle in a woven protective case made of vine, in which port wine was transported on ships, was called Dona Juana or Mama Juana. Spaniards added the herbs and spices of the Indians to it and called the drink that.
  • The second version states that Mama Juana was the strongest shaman-witch on the island of Haiti. She was able to heal and get anyone on their feet thanks to her healing infusions. No one knew the recipes for her infusions, but they became the forefathers of modern Mamajuana.

The composition of Mamajuana

There is no unified composition of Mamajuana. Each family, each producer makes it in their own way. But all have the following components:

It’s useful to know:

Mamajuana consists of more than 25 components, I will only list the part that are the most important.
  • Chiococca grass or cat’s claw. A grass that has antiviral and anti-inflammatory properties. Locals say that the juice of this grass copes with snake venom.
  • Coconut palm root – the main purpose in the infusion, gives color, like cognac. And also it is claimed that it accelerates the healing of any wounds on the human body.
  • Blue agave pulp. Yes, this is the plant from which premium quality tequila is made. In the Dominican Republic, blue agave can be found simply among the jungle in wild overgrowths. The function of this plant: it is natural sugars that add flavor to the drink.
  • Bacau tree. This is a very hard wood species. In Mamajuana, it gives a numb effect, as well as a slight bitterness and a special flavor.
  • Garlic grass – it is so called because of its pungent smell.
  • Cinnamon and cloves. These are fragrant spices that give Mamahuana a spicy flavor.
  • The Fernambuc tree is a tree with a red tint. It is most of all in the composition of the tincture, if you look closely. It has a tart and spicy taste at the same time.
  • Ginger and nutmeg. These are spices that give a spicy and sweet flavor to Mamajuana.
tincture of dominican
Here are all the components now in the bottle on the photo, it remains to pour rum, honey and wine.

And the main liquid components:

  • Dark Rum – the main component of Mamajuana. It gives the drink strength, taste, and aroma.
  • Wine (dry). Some recipes have wine, and some don’t.
  • Honey

It’s useful to know:

Listed above are the main components that are present in any tincture. But there is Mamajuana, where in addition they add: shells of mollusks, snails, ground turtle penis, iguana organs and much more.

But know that all of these additional components are often prohibited by law. As most species are already on the verge of extinction.

Mamajuana recipe: how to make it yourself

The most difficult thing in this matter is to buy a set of components mentioned above. Where and how much it costs you will read below. But let’s assume that all herbs are already with you.

The sequence of actions is as follows, provided that you have a dry set:

  • Pour it into a half-liter or liter jar
  • Pour the cheapest strong alcohol so that only the mixture covers.
  • Soak for 10 days and drain it.
dry set for tincture of mamajuana dominican
These bags with a ready-made set are the most convenient option for buying home. They come in different sizes.


This is necessary in order to extract the most harmful extracts from all the ingredients.

Then everything is simple, I will write how I do it myself:

  • I pour the jar with the set for Mamajuana with dark rum. Sometimes white, but better dark.
  • I add honey
  • And red dry wine (can be without it, then the tincture will be quite strong)
  • And all this is aged for about 2-4 weeks.
  • I pour it into a bottle for storage. And I pour rum, honey, wine back into the mixture.
  • Proportions by eye, but I have 100g like this: 20g honey, 20g wine, 60g rum. The tincture turns out to be about 25 degrees. If without wine, it will be slightly over 30.

It is important to know:

The mixture for Mamajuana has a cool property, it can be poured more than 30-40 times. I have enough for a year and a half or two of one dry set to continuously make a tincture.

Where to buy and how much it costs

Mamajuana can be bought in the Dominican Republic in any souvenir shop and small stores like Calmado. Read about the country’s stores and what Calmado is at the link.

mamajuana dominicana how to drink
Here is such a dry set in a beautiful bottle, a great gift. And you can take it home without thinking about alcohol limits.


In large hypermarkets, Mamajuana and the mixture for it are not sold. This is not an official alcoholic drink of the country, but it is historically traditional.

It is sold in three forms:

  • Already ready in bottles
    • Sometimes, as filtered and just a tincture.
    • And with all herbs inside the bottle
    • Each of these options has its own advantages and disadvantages. My advice if you are already taking as a gift, take the one that is not filtered. Yes, the tincture itself will be small in volume, but you will still be able to use the base that will remain in the bottle for a long time at home.
  • Dry sets in a bottle. A very convenient option when the liquid limit is exhausted. And such bottles can be taken as many as you like. This is the best option for gifts. And what else to bring as a gift from Dominicana, read here.
  • Dry sets in packets. This is the best option for yourself, for home use. As it is convenient to pour the packet into a jar, it is convenient to add ingredients and mix. In the bottle from the previous point, it is inconvenient to do all this, but it is simply very beautiful.

Mamajuana how much it cost

There are many types, sizes, bottles, manufacturers in the Dominican Republic. And as a result, prices are very different.

  • For a small bottle of 50gr for a pure drink, they ask for 2-3$.
  • A 250 ml bottle of Mamajuana will cost about 8$.
  • There are volumes about 0.7l at 15-20$
  • Dry sets in packets also come in different sizes, and prices are approximately from 5$ to 15$.
  • And if you want to bring a dry set in a beautiful bottle, prices start at 10$.

Useful to know:

If you didn’t manage to buy, there will be a large selection of dry sets and ready Mamajuana in the duty-free shop at the airport. However, prices will be twice as high as what I wrote.
Mamajuana in the Dominican Republic
For a bottle of 0.375 liters in duty free in Santo Domingo, they ask as much as $ 14

Read about prices in the Dominican Republic for all categories of goods that are interesting to tourists in a large article.

How to drink?

Mamajuana is a noble drink that should be sipped in small sips, rinsing the entire oral cavity :). No snacks are needed. The most important thing is that mamajuana is not drunk in large quantities, not even by locals. They say it is harmful, as it contains many extracts from herbs/plants.

It is recommended to drink no more than 50 grams per day. The drink is not chilled, but at room temperature. At this temperature, the aroma and taste are maximally revealed.

mamahuana mamjuana dominicana cooking recipe
You can buy a 50 ml bottle to try. It will be enough to understand whether you like it or not.

Traveler tips:

  • If you’re running out of alcohol import limits (remember, the limit is 1 liters per person for USA and Canada), take dry sets. They can be imported in unlimited quantities.
  • Don’t replace rum in recipes with vodka or gin. Rum is now sold everywhere if you really need it.
  • Don’t drink a lot at once. You and your friends got together to celebrate your arrival and have a shot, admired it, and then moved on to any other drink. Don’t drink a whole bottle at once. You shouldn’t get blinded, but do you really need it?
  • Mamajuana is cheapest in small stores that are local and called Calmados. In souvenir shops, it is slightly more expensive, but there is also a larger selection there.
all about mamajuana mamahuana
It’s in an ordinary souvenir shop. Only Mamajuana is in the photo. The choice is huge. Small bottles in the lower left corner of 50ml for $ 2.

By the way, in the article on the link information: Why you need to choose the Dominican Republic for a holiday, 10 reasons.

In conclusion: Mamajuana in the Dominican Republic is a national drink that embodies the entire history of the country. Yes, rum is more important here and is a symbol of the country, but there is also rum on Cuba and Jamaica. And Mamajuana is a true symbol of the Dominican Republic.

May you have delicious infusions and bright emotions!

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