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Taste of the Caribbean: Mauby

Taste of the Caribbean: Mauby
mauby fizz by nate steiner via Flickr
mauby fizz by nate steiner via Flickr

Anyone who’s known me for any small amount of time knows I have a terrible memory. As a result of my wretched powers of recall, I can’t always remember specifics of my childhood growing up on St. Croix with Trini parents. Instead, familiar smells and especially tastes are what usually help me relive those lost years.

One such taste, unique to the Caribbean, is mauby—an island beverage made by boiling a specific buckthorn bark, Colubrina elliptica, with sugar and a variety of spices. The thing about mauby is that it’s not for everyone. I’m not saying it’s as odd a taste as Marmite or anything. No, mauby starts out very similar in taste to root beer, but just when you think you’re done, it turns on you becoming very bitter. I can’t tell you why I love it (and you very well may, too), but you just have to try it. Knowing that the bitterness is coming may actually make your first taste more enjoyable!

You can get mauby on many islands but true to the eclectic nature of each individual island it may taste slightly different and even have a slightly different name like mabi, maby, or mavi. For an easy fix, you can “cool yourself” with the made in Trinidad Mauby Fizzz (and even Diet Mauby Fizzz) in many island groceries or just order a batch online. If you really want to try making it yourself, check out this recipe at tasteslikehome.org.

Like most beverages in the Caribbean, it’s supposed to have all sorts of therapeutic uses. Some say it’s great for high blood pressure. Others claim it to be an aphrodisiac. Still other purported uses are for relieving arthritis, reducing cholesterol, treating diarrhea, and supposedly fighting diabetes (which I don’t buy at all considering the amount of sugar in each glass).

Whatever health benefits it may have, you really can’t go wrong and if you do love it, try joining the Facebook page dedicated to mauby drinkers!

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  • http://caribbeanpot.com/ Chris @ Caribbeanpot.com

    I still remember my dad brewing his own batch of Mauby, which we enjoyed on those hot days back on the islands after a serious Sunday lunch.

  • http://www.facebook.com/mr.patrick.bennett Patrick Bennett

    Fantastic, Chris. Mauby is certainly exceptional after a Sunday lunch of macaroni pie, callaloo, red beans, rice and some stew beef!

    It’s funny, as I mentioned, I have a terrible memory, so I don’t remember where we would get fresh mauby from, but we often had it. I’m not sure if my mom made it from scratch… Maybe Stephen remembers.

    • http://www.sbprcorp.com/ Steve

      Yep, mom definitely used to make it from scratch! It’s not my favorite, but it absolutely tastes like home. Also great as a Shandy Carib, which we’ll cover in the coming weeks… Thanks for the feedback, Chris!

    • Shaquell

      Funny, but as a child my mom always had mauby and I never knew where she got it from, now as an adult I get it from friends and I drink it everyday. My favorite drink especially on a hot day. It cools you down.

  • Shaquell

    Mauby is definately my favorite drink, I also enjoy drinking a glass without sugar.

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