Photo Credit: rawexperiences.typepad.com
Mauby is a bitter-sweet, cold beverage found throughout the Caribbean, made from boiling the bark of the tree bearing the same name (colubrina elliptica) and flavoring the resulting bitter liquid with a variety of spices and brown sugar. Though every island has it's "perfect" blend, the truth is that it is an acquired taste - you either love Mauby or you hate it, there are no in betweens.
If I had to describe the flavor, I would say it is very close to the Sweet Tea that's famous in the Southern USA, but then again that depends on which island recipe you're using. Apart from having a strong bitter after taste, an ice cold glass of Mauby can quench thirst like no other! Many claim that is also good for lowering blood pressure, reducing cholesterol and fighting against diabetes. Either way it's a drink that you should try next time you visit the Caribbean.
As Mauby is quite popular on many of these islands, you can find it readily available in syrup form, where you just add water or bottled and ready to drink. Some islands even make it into a carbonated beverage, which I am still quite skeptical about.
Three or four months ago I came to the realization that I had been drinking Mauby made from bottled syrup (Sweet & Dandy brand to be exact) for longer than I care to admit. I wondered if I could go back to the authentic old-fashioned Mauby my mom used to make.
With this mission in mind, I went to the store to buy some Mauby bark, Cinnamon sticks, Brown Sugar etc. After weeks of staring at the ingredients in the pantry, I finally set out to make my first batch of the beverage. I thought my first attempt would have been a complete fail but it was right on! So here's the tried and true recipe. Enjoy!
Old Fashioned Bajan Mauby Drink
3/4 cup Cinnamon infused Mauby bitters (1/2 pk mauby bark 2 large cinnamon sticks, water for boiling)
2 cups brown sugar
4 dashes Angostura Bitters
4 tbsp Vanilla Essence
2 tbsp Mixed Essence
Dash of cinnamon
2 Litres Water
1. To make cinnamon infused mauby bitters, boil half pack of mauby bark with 2 large cinnamon sticks for about 15 minutes. Be careful to watch as it will foam and boil over, lower heat.)
2. Measure 3/4 cup of bitters and pour into a large pitcher.
3. Add brown sugar, Angostura bitters, essence and cinnamon. Stir mixture to dissolve some of the crystals.
4. Add water and stir well.
5. Serve chilled or with ice.