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.