Refreshing Mauby Drink

17.1.16 | 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.

Glasses of made mauby drink with ice with lime rind on a red mat

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 it, or you like it.

A good refreshing drink is especially important because we are always running at a high temperature. Nothing beats a hot day and a cooling glass of some cold beverage.

There are a few staple drinks I can think of like peanut punch, a rum 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 from island to island.

It is known as the "bitter drink".

Mauby drink is made from the bark of the mauby tree. It is a bitter bark. Another name for the tree is buckthorn bark.

This drink is the result of boiling the bark of a mauby tree 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 very very distinct flavor and 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.

I see some people say it tastes a bit like root beer, but I don't really agree.

Besides the strong aftertaste, mauby is extremely refreshing.

Where can I buy this mauby bark product?

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

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

Fresh mauby bark on a white plate

What are the benefits of drinking mauby?

This drink also has some major health benefits when consumed.

It is known to provide health benefits that include:
  • Lowering cholesterol and blood pressure levels
  • Reducing high blood pressure
  • Aiding in alleviating arthritic pain
  • Having a high vitamin and mineral content

Ingredients for mauby recipe

  • Mauby bark 
  • Cups of water
  • Cinnamon sticks
  • Aniseed
  • Mixed essence
  • Sugar - any sugar can be used: cane sugar, brown sugar, or granulated sugar

How to make mauby drink

The process of making this drink is pretty easy. We make a thick concentrate that we are then able to dilute.

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 barks from you would need to clean it, and look for debris. Sometimes you find barks being sold by people in tie bags or you can get it 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 get rid of any stones or sticks that you may find.

Put the bark pieces, aniseed, 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 boil then remove from heat, and leave to steep.

Once cooled, strain the liquid and discard the "debris". You just made mauby concentrate. Which is now used to make the juice.

You can now take how much you want of the concentrate and dilute it and sweeten it to your liking to make the actual drink. You can sweeten it to not be too bitter or not.

A bottle of mauby concentrate and two glasses of made mauby with lime rind


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. It usually gets finished by then usually. Longer than that it can get it a bit slimy to texture and extremely frothy. Please throw it out if that happens.


The color will vary. This can be lighter or darker depending on how much water you boiled the bark in. Also can vary depending on what color sugar you use to sweeten.

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.

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.

Close up of a glass of mauby with ice and lime rind

Mauby is a very refreshing drink. It is best served as a cold drink, 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.

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