Refreshing Mauby Drink

25.5.24 | Recipe by Renz


A refreshing drink made from the bark of a mauby tree. This delicious drink also provides some health benefits. It's a quintessential Caribbean drink that you either love or hate.

   
Mixed mauby drink in a glass of pebbled ice with star anise and mauby bark in the background.


As much as food is important in the Caribbean, drinks are running a close second.

Mauby (also called Mavi in Puerto Rico and Mabi in Haiti) is a classic drink found on many a table during Sunday dinner. It has a reputation though, either you hate the taste of mauby, or you like it.

A good refreshing drink is especially important. Nothing beats a hot day and a cooling glass of some cold beverage.

There are a few staple drinks I can think of peanut punchrum punch, Guinness punch, fruit juices like lime or grapefruit ... and then there's mauby.

I can assure you, my recipe is going to be a "like".

     

What is mauby?


Mauby is a popular drink throughout the Caribbean. Like everything else, how it's made may vary slightly across the Caribbean islands.

It is known popular know as the "bitter drink". Mauby drink is made from the bark of the mauby tree also known as the colubrina genus tree. Another name for the mauby tree is buckthorn bark. It has a bitter bark.

This drink is the result of boiling the bark of the tree along with additional spices. You then get a bitter concentrate that you dilute and sweeten to your liking.

It has a bit of an acquired taste. It has a bittersweet taste. It has a robust, distinct flavor and also somewhat of a bitter aftertaste. The first sip is pleasant, but then after, especially depending on who makes it, can be extremely bitter or soothing.

Some people say it tastes a bit like root beer, but I don't agree with that.

Besides the strong aftertaste, mauby is extremely refreshing and is full of health benefits which is, I think, the major reason our ancestors started drinking it. It is known to help lower blood pressure, blood sugar levels, and cholesterol levels. If you have arthritic pain and need that alleviated some mauby is what you need to consume.


Ingredients for mauby recipe


  • Mauby bark - we are going to use pieces of mauby bark to make the concentrate of mauby syrup
  • Cups of water - we need water to boil and also water to dilute the syrup.
  • Flavorings - Cinnamon sticks, aniseed or star anise, mixed essence and bay leaves
  • Sugar - any type of sugar can be used: cane sugar, brown sugar, or granulated sugar

Make sure to check out the recipe card for the full ingredients list and quantities.

How to make mauby drink


The process of making this drink is pretty easy. We start with making some mauby into syrup form (thick concentrate) that we then use to make the drink.

It requires you to boil, leaving the bark and spices to seep for a few hours (or even overnight), strain, and store. You then use that concentrate to make the drink to your taste.

Depending on where you get the bark from you would need to clean it, and look for debris. Sometimes you find barks sold by people in tie bags or you can get them in sealed bags from known brands.

The tie bags are usually small entrepreneurs who packaged themselves with bark straight from someone with a tree. These especially are prone to having debris.

You will need to clean those up. Just wash and discard any stones or sticks that you may find.

Put the bark pieces, aniseed, bay leaf, and cinnamon into a deep pot.

Add water to the pot to cover the bark. Just about an inch or so above the top of the bark. Bring the water to a rolling boil then remove from heat, and leave to steep.

Once cooled, strain the liquid and discard the "debris". So now you have the mauby concentrate. You can store this in the fridge and use it to make the drink when ready.

To make the actual mauby drink, we will take the concentrate, then dilute it with water and sweeten it to your liking. At this point, it's up to personal taste.

The amount of sugar and water you use will depend on how you like your drink. You can sweeten it to be sweet or bitter.

Some people also like to have their mauby with some milk or If you want to mimic the popular Mauby Fizz drink, then you can add some carbonated water.

  
Pouring out of mauby from a mason jar into a glass of ice.

Notes


  • The color will vary. This can be lighter or darker depending on how much water is used to boil the bark. Also can vary depending on what color sugar you use to sweeten.
  • Bitterness level. A good trick to make sure that you don't get too bitter a mauby at the end is to not boil the bark for too long. I have found that boiling it for longer than 5 minutes at a high rolling boil tends to lend to a more bitter taste.
  • If you find the drink too bitter. Continue to add more water to the mix. Some people also use coconut water to help cut out some of the bitterness.

How to serve mauby drink?


Mauby is a very refreshing drink. It is best served cold, chilled over ice.

Beastly cold mauby will make your body very happy.

Do you think if, given the chance, you would try a little of this? Let me know in the comments and if you like the drink please leave a star rating in the recipe card below

   
Chilled sweetened mauby in a glass on a brown board.

Frequently asked questions


Where can I buy this mauby bark product?


You can find pre-packaged mauby barks in the Caribbean markets. These come in resealable bags which is great so that you can make a little at a time and keep the rest fresh.

You can also get the product online at a few places including more artisanal sellers in places like Etsy.

Best way to store mauby bark and drink


The concentrate can be stored in the fridge for up to about 3 months, allowing you to make a glass of this whenever you feel like it.

The made drink can be good for up to a week. If you leave it longer than that it can get to be a bit slimy and extremely frothy. Please throw it out if that happens.

   
Close up of a glass of mauby on ice with a slice of lime resting on the top.



Go ahead and check out some other drinks we make during the Holiday season:




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