|A "Santo Libre": Rum and Lemon-Lime Soda|
Even Hillary Enjoys a Bien Fría.
Just as ubiquitous as Presidente is Brugal, the favored hometown Dominican rum. Take it straight out of the bottle, as is done in the countryside, or play it cool by mixing it with Coke and ice. Urban Dominicans turn to Barceló, a smoother and slightly more expensive brand of rum. Other lesser-known brands include Siboney and Macorix. Rum generally comes as both white (blanco) and dark, of which there are three kinds: the cheapest and sharpest, dorado; a mid-level variety, called añejo; and the longest-aged, most expensive, extra viejo or extra añejo.
One of the most popular, and intriguing, rum-based drinks is mamajuana. An empty bottle is filled with cinnamon, clove, and any other number of other herbs, bark and spices. Another seaside variation involves the eyebrow-raising ingredients of octopus, conch, oysters and squid. The solid ingredients are first cured with honey or molasses and red wine. Rum is then poured in and allowed to soak in the various flavors before being consumed. Dominicans will enthusiastically speak of mamajuana’s aphrodisiac qualities, usually accompanied by a corresponding hand gesture.
Photo credit: Andy Tarnoff http://onmilwaukee.com/myOMC/authors/andytarnoff/santolibre.html