When I remark that I have a cold, Yuri asks if I want some ” Mama Juana? ”

” I don’t want marijuana, ” I answer.

” No, ” she laughs, ” Mama Juana. It is a local drink, good for colds. ”

Berluis shows me the jug which looks like bark off a tree, which, it turns out, it is. Research says the drink was concocted by local Taino Indians who put rum, red wine,honey, herbs, and bark in a jug to make happy. The drink is good for colds, flu, digestion, circulation, and cleaning the blood. 

” It won’t hurt me? ”

She shakes her head no and Berluis, pulls the plastic container off a shelf in the guesthouse communal area and pours us all a little into plastic cups, not unlike my golfing crew’s ” birdie juice ” cups.

We drink to the Dominican Republic, and, happily, no ill effects have been noticed.

The alcohol content is subdued and the drink is a little sweet, not unlike Jamaica Tea.

” You can’t day, ” Yuri explains, ” You have been to the Dominican Republic without trying Mama Juana. ”

Feeling like Anthony Bourdain, in a small way, without his nerve and cast iron stomach, I head out the door for a walk to the Zona Colonial.

People don’t need to have a health reason to drink but having a real cold makes this sampling real good.

Airbnb hosts are always good for telling you about local traditions.



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