Tag Archives: rum

Helps – Going Out & Drinking

Helps – Going Out & Drinking

When visiting the Dominican Republic everyone must go out and walk around and take in the scenery and culture of this island country. Make sure to have some liquid refreshments with the locals and enjoy yourself. Just make sure that you are aware of your surroundings while you enjoy.

Going out in the Day and Night

*Dominican Time. Dominicans, in general, do not view time like most people, which is typical in most tropical climates. No one moves fast unless it is in a motor vehicle. When a Dominican tells me they will be there at a certain time I always ask if that is Dominican time or North American time. Or course I say this with a laugh and receive a good laugh in return. But it is very true. When told that someone will meet you in 1 hour it very well could mean 1 hour. But most likely it means 2-3 hours, tomorrow, or maybe never. Ahora (now), Ahorita (later), have no real meaning here in the Caribbean.

Calle el Conde, Colonial Zone, at night
Calle el Conde, Colonial Zone, at night

*Walking at night Walking around at night, especially on the Malecon in Santo Domingo and other parts of the country is fun. The view of the Caribbean waves hitting the coral cliffs can be breathtaking. Please be aware of your surroundings. You could be walking in front of a grand hotel and the next lot or building could be an abandoned where there are no lights.

The Malecon of Santo Domingo along the Caribbean Sea
The Malecon of Santo Domingo along the Caribbean Sea

If you walk along the Malecon stay where it is well lit and where there are people. If you want to travel to different places along the road and feel uncomfortable doing this there are always taxis or if you’d feel more comfortable, the hotels can get you a taxi to move from place to place. Bad things can happen, as with any place, here or in any country. Just remember, if you wouldn’t walk in that place in your hometown don’t walk in that place here.

*Guia/ Tour Guides Tour guides can be helpful and informative. If you want to know about the history in Colonial Zone or feel better walking with a local who knows the ropes a paid guide would be the way to go.

Guides can be helpful in taking you to the sights you want to see. They can also be expensive. Always discuss the price for their services in the beginning so you can decide if it is worth it for their services. Many will say it costs nothing for them to guide you but they WILL want a tip. Generally, a guide will try to rush you make you move at a less than leisurely pace. This way they can get you to a gift shop or finish with your tour so they can help another tourist.

Visiting a gift shop with a guide can be costly. The guide will receive a little kick back from any gift shop they take you to. Your bargaining leverage will not as good in these shops when you have a guide since the shops have to pay a percentage (usually 20% of what you spend) to the guide.

Guides can be helpful in keeping bothersome beggars away. They can protect you from the bad guys also. After they take you on your tour, especially if you tip well, they will be your friend for life.

Some of the local street dogs spot a tourist or friend
Some of the local street dogs spot a tourist or friend

*Street dogs are everywhere. Most of these dogs are starved both for food and for love. You can feed them if you want but you take the chance of having them follow you on your entire vacation or at least while you continue your walk around town. They might tell their friend dogs about your friendliness (dog talk). You could end up with an entourage of furry friends following you wherever you go. 10 dogs following behind a group of tourists, I have seen it and it is quite funny! Dogs know who the tourists and dog-friendly people are. Really, some of the dogs are very nice and many of the neighbors take care of them and feed them. Most are very friendly and sweet and are looking for a little attention. (I adopted 2 street dogs and have helped many to find their forever homes. Read The Dominican Dog Blog to meet my dogs and some of our special local street dogs.)

Appropriate clothing for some museums and tourist places in important. Wearing shorts, miniskirts, and halter-tops in churches is not permitted. They will not permit you to enter if you are not dressed appropriately. If you plan on touring it is best to either wear pants, crop pants, or a skirt for the ladies. Men should wear a collared shirt (not sleeveless) or t-shirt. *note – many places that do not permit inappropriate dress now provide a wrap for people to use as a cover-up.

In the past Dominicans did not wear short pants in the streets except for maybe on the weekends in their own neighborhoods. They have lightened up slightly with this and you will see shorts and really short shorts but NEVER beachwear in the city streets. It is a joke here that when one wears shorts they automatically look like a tourist.

Pick pockets and thieves are watching. Don’t carry a wallet in a back pocket. Anyplace in the entire world, one should never make it easy for a pick-pocket to grab your wallet or purse. If it is possible don’t carry a purse or wallet. Just keep money in a pocket. Maybe a few different pockets in case you do get pickpocketed or robbed you will not lose everything. Spread your money around. Put a few bills in a shoe, bra, money belt, just in case.

Jewelry. When going out do not wear good jewelry. In fact, just do not wear jewelry at all. Maybe a small pair of inexpensive earrings and a ring or 2 if you really need to. But really, why make for more problems. If you do get robbed or lose something it could ruin your entire vacation. So why not just leave all the good stuff locked up in the hotel. Better yet, do not bring that stuff when you travel, this way you won’t have to worry.

Purses and Backpacks. When walking while carrying a purse or backpack try and always carry it on the side away from the road. Keeping it on the shoulder that is against a building or wall. This will make it a little more difficult for a passing motorbike rider to grab. This is something I have learned (from experience) and use no matter what country I am in.

Be aware when using public transportation. Watch for people bumping into you, standing in line close or crowding into a public car. All these places and instances are perfect for a thief. More information about Public Transportation in DR.

Limpia Bota/ Shoe Shine Boys are everywhere. I suggest that you take the time to get a shoeshine. These shoe shine people do work hard and a shine will never hurt. Usually, a shine costs around $10 to $20 pesos (and a little tip if you are pleased with the shine). One important thing. – DO NOT GIVE NON-PESO COINS TO THE STREET PEOPLE or when paying for anything. It is useless to them because no place will exchange pocket change for pesos. No exchange house will take coins. If you want to give non-Dominican pesos to someone, especially the people in the streets make sure it is the paper type.

Go out late. When going out at night to a bar to dance, drink, or people watch. Remember, Dominicans usually go out late at night after it has cooled off. This means that bars are not busy until late. Some places are empty before midnight, especially on the weekends. Take a nap and wait to go out unless you want to be the only person in the place.

Drinking – Imbibing

Hide the smell. Remember, in true Dominican fashion, if you have a drink and need to go somewhere where you don’t want the alcohol smell lingering, make sure to (as I call it “suck a Euk”). Get a Hall’s (eucalyptus) candy, called mentoehol here, at the Colmado to get rid of the smell. It is the Dominican way.

STAY HYDRATED. Drinking mass quantities of alcohol without sufficient water intake can be bad, especially in such a hot climate. Alcohol does not hydrate your body as water does.

A nice cold NORMAL Presidente beer at the beach
A nice cold NORMAL Presidente beer at the beach

Presidente Beer. Presidente is the favorite beer in DR. When you order make sure to specify LÑight or Regular. I always laugh. The bottle does not say “Regular”. It is either a beer or a light. Not here. You need to specify Regular or Light or usually you will get a light beer.

You should try a Presidente con Clamato (beer with clamato juice) at least once. You can see this strange mix being drunk by many Dominicans in the Colmados or while playing dominoes. Clamato is a tomato type juice with a clam taste. The ratio is in general 3 to 5 parts beer to 1 part clamato. Pour the beer into the plastic glass then add the clamato, give it a little swirl to mix and enjoy. If you are a bottle drinker take a drink to give you room in your bottle then add the clamato directly into the bottle. It takes some of the bite out of the beer. It is said that if you drink clamato with your beer you will not get drunk…don’t believe it!

For the dead. When opening a bottle of alcohol remember to pour a few drops onto the ground or floor. While doing this you must say “Por los muertos” / “For the dead”. It is a Dominican tradition to give the dead a little drink before they start enjoying themselves.

Some Brugal rum bottles are covered with a strong yellow netting, which if opened haphazardly could cause undue stress when trying to enjoy your beverage. Some bottles are not entirely covered with the netting making it easier to gain access to the smooth liquid waiting to be drunken inside the bottle. Just untie from the bottom and remove the net.

Mixing some drinks nice and strong
Mixing some drinks nice and strong

Remember, the beer is strong and it can seem stronger in the hot climate. Usually, the drinks are mixed strong in the bars. If you are going to be drinking all day (or night) try what I do. If you like beer I suggest starting with a nice cold one. Then, if you go out, switch to a mixed drink. For me rum is best. Get a bottle so you can mix it yourself if possible. In a bar is called “un servicio” which is a bottle of your choice, a mixer and a bucket of ice. This way you are able to mix your own drinks and it is also more economical. When you mix your drink mix it weak. If you are ordering by the drink tell them to mix it “suave” which means soft or not strong. This way you can last the night without any ill effects.

The dictionary of the Dominicana Gringa (written and published in my mind only) states definition – “ALCOHOL ABUSE = when you spill a glass, drop a bottle, or in any way waste your alcoholic beverage. This includes the act of spewing, disgorging, expelling, emitting or projecting. To put it bluntly throwing-up or vomiting”. LOL!

Mamajuana Drink


Mamajuana also known as Viagra Dominicana is a drink indigenous to the island. Haiti and the Dominican Republic, both having their own variation of the recipe. All are said to stimulate the libido.

Ingredients | Recipe | Taking Home

Mamajuana being sold in the market in Dominican Republic
Mamajuana being sold in the market in Dominican Republic

Originally this beverage was made by the Taino Indians, boiling the roots to make a type of medicinal tea. Honey was added as a sweetener. As time passed rum or wine was added to the mixture to make Mamajuana as it is known today.


This sweet, amber-colored liquid is said to be a cure-all, mainly used for the gripe, the Dominican name for the flu. It is also said to be a good remedy for arthritis, toothaches, headaches and stomachaches. In the history of Mamajuana it has been used as a cure for many different ailments. Many of the natural ingredients of mamajuana are also used in Western herbal remedies.

Different types of mamajuana in bottles
1.A bottle of manajuana with the dry herbs inside 2. Bottle with liquids added. 3. and 4. Dominican Mamajuana with the seafood parts.

Some of the Ingredients in Mamajuana:

There are as many different versions of the recipe as there are people mixing this potent concoction. All depending on what ingredients you chose to introduce to your bottle. There are different versions for getting pregnant (cat or parakeet claws), not getting pregnant, headache and more. Below are some of the basic ingredients used in Mamajuana.

*Canelillea (Dominican grown cinnamon whose leaves and twigs are used for flavor, circulation and adds a little warmth to the mix),

*Timacle (In the Taino language it means brave. It is a vine with big, twisted and gnarled roots. It is said to work on the ligaments to make one more agile for days. It is also said to make one energized and able to think more clearly).

*Bejuco de Indio (helps male impotency. It is said to even make the bottom parts of the body feel like they are vibrating if taken in large doses. It is said to make sweat and body odor have an essence that makes one seem more attractive, gets the pheromones flowing).

*Bejuco de Costilla (the bark is also said to give the lower parts of the body extra life and vibrancy, for some it can make you feel quite warm and toasty).

*Batata (also known as the plain old potato or sarsaparilla is a sexual stimulant).

*Bitter Ginger / Gengiberes Amargo (a root in the ginger family but it is a bit more bitter and yellower than regular ginger yet it looks about the same. It is used to repel internal parasites, improves circulation, said to help with arthritis and may even be able to help with hair growth).

*Yname/ true yam (said to enhance hormones. The inside is eaten in Dominican Republic and elsewhere like a potato and the outside is used in mamajuana).

*Anamú (bark of the tree),

*Bohuco (a type of creeper),

*Brazil, Caro, Marabeli, Osua, Guyacan, Twigs of Palo Indio, Palo de Maguey and Pega Palo (literally means hitting stick).

Plus many other ingredients, some of which are said to be secret. Each creator has their own variation on the recipe which makes each bottle of mamajuana unique.

There are other special ingredients that can be added to your bottle of herbs including different animal parts. Mainly, these parts are taken from sea animals. These sea creatures/ mariscos could include octopus, snail, conch, clam or oyster. One of the treasured ingredients is a sea turtle penis or as it is known in Dominican Republic, Miembro de Carey. Using the penis is said to give the man extra potency.

Showing different styles of Mamajuana bottles in a gift shop
Showing different styles of Mamajuana bottles in a gift shop

Mamajuana Recipe

There are as many different versions of the recipe as there are people mixing this potent concoction. All depending on what ingredients you chose to introduce to your bottle. There are different versions for getting pregnant (cat or parakeet claws), not getting pregnant, headache and more.


Each person will have their own concoction, or if you prefer, recipe. All depends on their own special likes and dislikes. Basically, after the natural sticks and parts are all stuffed into a bottle the liquid can be added. Usually, for the first batch, the bottle is filled with red wine (cheap wine is just fine for this step. Most Dominicans I know use the wine called “La Fuerza”) and a little honey (about a 1/4 cup). This is left to sit for about a week, mainly to clean all the ingredients, wash away the bitterness of the sticks and to get the bottle ready for the good stuff. After the week has passed empty out the wine, “they say” you’re not supposed to drink this, but it won’t hurt if you like the taste. Many places throughout the Dominican Republic have the bottles already cured for you so you may not need this step. If your bottle is wet inside then it has been pre-cured.

Now for the good part. Add some good Dominican Ron/ Rum, you can use other brands if you don’t have the Dominican kind. Some people use dark rum while others use light rum (I prefer the light if you care. Because when I add the honey it is just a little too sweet for my tastes using the dark rum). Some add half rum and half wine. Some use just a little wine and more rum. Many people add honey and vanilla (buy some Dominican style vanilla for the real flavor). Try it with a little gin or vodka for good measure. It is all a matter of taste and what ingredients are on hand. Whatever the ingredients that are chosen, they need to steep in the bottle. Let the bottle alone for at least a week, the longer the liquid sits in the bottle the more wood flavor it will have. A long or short time all depends on your taste. I suggest having 2 or 3 bottles going. This way you can have one ready for drinking with another is brewing. You do not want to take a chance and run out when you are needing a trago (drink). Each bottle can be made in a little different style. Experiment with it until you get the blend that most satisfies all those inner urges.

Mamajuana can be served in as many different ways as there are of making the warming drink. It can be taken by the shot, served warm, over ice, after dinner, mixed with soda or juice, whatever you like, each person likes theirs differently. It is available for tasting in most Dominican bars and restaurants. So there is no excuse for not giving it a try. If you don’t like one places version of this warming liquid try another places version. Soon you will come to enjoy this typical Dominican “viagra”.

Taking Mamajuana Home

When you transport Mamajuana to your home destination it is best to have the bottle filled with the liquid. Many times, not always, the customs people in the airport will not let a bottle pass with the dry ingredients as it is considered to be agriculture (plant material). But when the bottle is full it is different. Also make sure that you pack it well for the trip. You don’t want that unique souvenir to end up on all your clothing instead of in your tummy. Ask the gift shop where you purchase the bottle to wrap it for you in lots of paper then surround it with some soft stuff (lots of clothing or a towel will do just fine) in your luggage. Then when you get home you’ll have a great item to share with friends along with your stories of your trip.

Mamajuana with seafood inside at the foot of some domino players.
Mamajuana with seafood inside at the foot of some domino players in the park.

Shopping for Mamajuana in DR is also a fun experience. You can buy it in most gift shops throughout the country, in markets or along the streets. Many bottles have a pretty leather holder that says Dominican Republic. Other bottles you can find will be in whatever type of bottle the maker has available. My personal bottle has a whisky label on it. Also in most gift shops they will have some mamajuana ready for you to try. Take a little cup (or two) and enjoy the free drink. My office is behind a gift shop in Colonial Zone and everyday when the workers tell people to try mamajuana the first thing they say is “is that legal here?” Then the worker has to explain that it is a drink not a smoke…LOL! So remember it is even fun to buy the mamajuana as the seller tries to explain what it does for the libido and what is really in the bottle.

Mamajuana for sale on the streets of the Colonial City
Mamajuana for sale on the streets of the Colonial City

My first experience

seeing Mamajuana was on vacation in Dominican Republic. Some people I met at a Colmado near my hotel offered me some out of a big bottle carried in the back of the trunk. I saw all the “crap” in the bottle and turned it down. I had no idea what it was.

My next visit I was a bit braver and tried it. It was quite tasty so my friend took me to some market where some relative of his sold it. Since he was related I got the “special” blend. He pulled out an old whiskey with a half torn off, old label. This bottle was filled with a bunch of sticks. He opened the bottle when from under the shelf he pulled out a gallon plastic milk jug filled with some black liquid. He treated this “juice” like it was gold. He poured some in the bottle of twigs..so slowly. Then he jammed it all down with a stick! When he handed me that bottle, he had a big smile on his face, like he was giving me a gift from the Gods. He also refused to take any money and he gave me a drink from his “personal stash”.

It was wonderful…warm and tasty with a hint of fish flavor. Sweet, but how too sweet. A very enjoyable Dominican experience. And after I had it in USA it was a real conversation maker. My dog liked it also. My friends were not as acceptable as the dog, being not very sure about its look. No matter what it is said to do to the stamina and libido, I like it and will imbibe from time to time on my yummy treat. (More about My Mamajuana Experience at the DR Gringas Blog)

If Mamajuana is or is not a true aphrodisiac does it really matter? It is a great memory to take home from vacation with you. This way one can have a taste of Dominican Republic and a happy memory at the same time. Remembering your first encounter with and how you were offered your first taste of Mamajuana. How this first taste came along with a little smile. Like they knew what was going to happen to you later in the day if you kept drinking. Remembering the warmth of the sun..or was it the sun? Could it have been the Mamajuana…..