At Jalao, a Washington Heights, New York, branch of the iconic Santo Domingo restaurant, housemade mamajuana—a mix of rum, wine, honey and botanicals—stars in the bar’s Mamajuana Manhattan. The making of the mamajuana itself requires steeping a proprietary blend of bark and spices for three months “to eliminate some of the bitterness of the wood,” according to bartender Jordy Castillo. That bitter liquid is disposed of and replaced with a fresh round of ingredients added to a 1-liter bottle, including a touch more honey, wine and white rum that then rests for another three weeks before being put to use in this Manhattan variation, which also calls on a small measure of Frangelico and amaretto to bolster the spiced notes. The seasoned wood can be reused several times, according to Castillo.
- 2 ounces mamajuana (see Editor’s Note)
- 1 ounce sweet vermouth
- 1/4 ounce Frangelico
- 1/4 ounce amaretto, preferably Disaronno
- 3 dashes Angostura bitters
- Combine all ingredients in a mixing glass with ice and stir until chilled.
- Serve in a frosted coupe.
- Garnish with a cherry.
To make mamajuana, Yoldin Castillo recommends buying pre-packaged botanicals and adding an ounce of honey, an ounce of red wine, then filling the rest of the bottle with unaged rum. Let sit for three months, then strain off the liquid and dispose of it (it will be too bitter from the bark) and refill with the same ingredients and let sit for an additional three weeks before using.