Mauby is one of the most popular, if not the most popular drink across the Caribbean. It is as polarizing as it is popular. receiving strong emotions on both ends of the spectrum, you either love it or hate it. Mauby is made from the bark of the tree known as Colubrina Elliptica, Mabi or Soldierwood.
It is known for its bitter taste which comes from the mauby bark itself but it also has signature licorice flavor that comes from incorporating spices like aniseed and star anise. Although mauby concentrate mixes are widely popular and have huge commercial success, spice packs are still sold to this day in markets and select groceries across Trinidad & Tobago and the Caribbean.
One thing we have to establish from the get go is that mauby from concentrate is not the same experience as making it from scratch. I was fortunate enough as a child to experience both versions. On a Sunday my grandfather used to bring us mauby and doubles. His mauby was not golden brown the way most mauby drinks are made, it was closer to the color of an IPA and it was frothy, bitter yet sweet and very refreshing.
The concentrated mixtures I have tried in the past were all packed with so much sugar that you barely taste the complexity in the drink. When you dilute the syrup to make juice you would either get something way too sweet and syrupy or mauby flavored water.
- 3 pieces of mauby bark
- 1 piece of cassia cinnamon (one inch)
- 1 piece of dalchini cinnamon (two inch)
- 3 star anise
- 2 tsp aniseed
- 1 tsp whole clove
- 2 pieces of mace
- 1 large bay leaf
- 1 cup brown sugar (or to taste)
- 8 cups water
- Bring water to a rolling boil then add spices
- Reduce heat then allow to simmer for 15 minutes
- Sweeten with brown sugar then allow to cool
- Strain and transfer to a jug
- Serve chilled or over ice