During the winter months I like switching to cocktails made with dark or amber liquors. Vodka or tequila are normally my spirits of choice but when its cold out and nice and cozy inside, all I want to sip on is B&B, or a cocktail made with rum, bourbon or whiskey. The spices in these spirits are fitting for this time of year, especially a spiced rum blend native to the Dominican Republic, the Mamajuana.
Mamajuana is dark rum infused with roots, tree bark, spices and is a staple in almost every Dominican home. It’s early uses were for medicinal purposes, curing everything from a cold, fever, stomach aches, you name it…well at least that’s what my parents would say, and still do. My theory is the rum just made most folks drunk enough to forget they had an ailment, just don’t tell my Dad that, he still believes a shot of Mamajuana, with a little honey and lemon will put some doctors out of business. Although I have to be honest, I have seen its powers…powers that make you feel niiiice!
I don’t know exactly what goes into making it but bottles are kept in families for decades and just refreshed with new roots, raisins, honey and sometimes a piece of beef! Really, don’t ask. I also heard some natural “aphrodisiacs” were added so it’s a rum that should definitely be consumed in moderation and it could have strange effects to the uninitiated. Mamajuana is also a liquor with complex flavors. It’s a strong and smooth rum with a bite and a hint of sweetness that will make you reach for a little more. It heats up nicely as it goes down and perfect for frigid days. Beware though, not all bottles are the same. I’ve sampled many bottles over the years and one thing it shouldn’t be is too sweet or taste like wine.
Mamajuana can be enjoyed neat, on the rocks or mixed with cola, gingerale, and orange juice. However I wanted to make something special for the holidays. I had chocolate bitters on hand that I hadn’t used yet so thought I’d make something similar to a traditional American cocktail, the Old Fashioned. The citrus flavors and chocolate bitters went very well with the rum and a new cocktail was born, the Spiced Citrus Mamajuana cocktail.
I muddled lemon and orange slices with brown sugar, bitters and cayenne pepper for a nice kick.
It’s a cocktail you must try and great for your holiday party!
Spiced Citrus Mamajuana Cocktail
Slice of lemon
Slice of orange
1/2 tsp brown sugar
3 dashes of chocolate bitters
1 dash of cayenne pepper
2 ounces Mamajuana Rum
3 ounces orange juice
1 maraschino cherry
3 ice cubes
Add sugar, dashes of bitters, cayenne pepper, orange and lemon slices to a glass and muddle all with a wooden spoon until well mixed. Add ice cubes and pour in Mamajuana rum, then orange juice and stir. Top with a cherry!