woman enjoys a cold glass of mauby.
Sheldon J Yearwood
Local folklore abounds with tales of the diuretic and
aphrodisiac qualities of mauby. It has also been reputed
to lower blood cholesterol. Many of us have been told
by elders that its the best thing for a good cooling.
In Trinidad mauby has been a refreshing beverage for decades.
Some prefer the drink over water. It is also very popular
during the hectic Carnival season.
is one of the most natural drinks in the world,
said an elderly mauby drinker from San Fernando.
try to make it at least once a week, once I have time.
Personally, I must add a piece of clove and vanilla essence
to spice up the taste, she said.
There is a wide assortment of fast food establishments
in T&T and the Southland is no exception. There, owners
said mauby was one of their fastest-selling beverages.
Abees Delicious Bites, located at Imperial Plaza,
San Fernando, has been serving food and drinks for decades.
Arlene Baptiste, an employee, said that on any given day,
mauby sells out first.
people come in they ask if we have concentrate or natural
mauby. Nobody wants the concentrate! During the heavy
lunch period we have to make mauby several times because
of the quick turnover, she said.
An employee of Cafe Caribbean, Montano Plaza, San Fernando,
was busy preparing another batch of mauby.
is a great seller but mainly to mature adults, approximately
21 years and over. The teenagers and young children ask
for juices and soft drink, she said.
Workers at several other establishments, who wished not
to be mentioned, shared the same opinion.
They stressed that young people did not know the value
of a healthy lifestyle and that is why the elders refer
to them as The KFC generation.
On some Caribbean islands people also use the bitter bark
and leaves to make medicine for high blood pressure, arthritis
and to lower blood cholesterol.
Dr Trevor Alleyne of UWI conducts continuous research
at Mt Hope Medical Complex in relation to maubys
use in treating many of these ailments. He said he planned
to release some of his findings in the UWI medical journal
later this month.
Local production of mauby concentrate by its largest producer
exceeds five million litres a year.
Raw materials are imported from Haiti and the Dominican
Krishna Sirinathsingh is the technical director at National
Canners Limited, which produces the Matouks, Mabels,
MP and National brands of food products.
This company is the first and largest producer of commercial
mauby in the region.
Mauby concentrate is one of their best-selling products.
Due to an increase in the market for local drinks, the
company introduced a single-strength mauby so the consumer
could have the convenience of a ready-to-drink beverage.
1 pint water
3 pieces mauby bark (you can add a few more if desired)
1 small sprig aniseed
1 piece cinnamon
1 lb sugar (or to taste)
A few dashes Angostura bitters
Place all ingredients into a saucepan and boil for five
Remove from heat and let cool. Strain the mauby and add
water to desired strength. Then taste for sweetness.
You can add sugar to it if it is not sweet enough for
you. (Just remember, diabetes is on the rise!)
Finally, swizzle, add cracked ice and add bitters.
does it come from?
The mauby bark comes from a tree belonging to the Rhamnaceae
family, which is abundant in many Caribbean islands.
It is found growing in thickets and woodlands, in dry
coastal and limestone regions of southwest Puerto Rico,
Culebra, St Croix, St Thomas, St John, Tortola and Angola.
It flowers in July and fruits from September to March.
The tree can also be grown in southern Florida, including
the Florida Keys, Bahamas, Greater Antilles and Lesser
Antilles, the south of St Vincent, southern Mexico and
This bitter bark is known by more than one name, depending
on the island where it is grown or consumed.
The Dominican Republic calls it mabi; Cuba, jaya jabico;
United States, soldier wood and naked wood; Bahamas, smooth
snake bark; Haiti, bois mabi and bois de fer; Guadeloupe,
bois mabi and mambee; Antigua, mabi; and of course, T&T,
The sapwood is light brown and the heartwood is dark brown.
The wood is hard and heavy, strong and durable. It is
commonly used for posts in Puerto Rico.
The tree is evergreen, usually ten-15 feet high and less
than four feet in trunk diameter, with a spreading crown
of thin foliage.
The orange-brown bark is smooth on small trunks, but becomes
fissured, splitting off the scales. The inner bark is
light brown and bitter.