Amer A. Vargas Newsletter

The Modern Butlers’ Journal, December 2018, Let’s Talk about Mixology

Amer A. VargasLet’s Talk about Mixology, Part 39

by Amer A. Vargas

Dominican Republic’s Mama Juana

Greetings from the Shaken…Not Stirred, a James Bond-themed hall bar at the Nickelodeon & Sensatori Punta Cana in the Dominican Republic. As a first-timer in this beautiful place, this writer would like to render homage to the host country by introducing to the rest of the world the particular drink every “good Dominican” enjoys in their own home whenever entertaining visitors and friends. We are talking, of course, about the Mama Juana, a sort of home-brewed port wine, as they describe it — although the ingredients, as we are about to see, are not necessarily the same.

A Mama Juana shot photographed at the Stirred… Not Shaken bar at Sensatori Punta Cana, Dominican Republic

The most particular aspect of Mama Juana is that it is brewed using the bark from some local trees plus some herbs. Which ones?…well, they keep that secret to themselves!
The common Mama Juana drinker would find an empty bottle and stuff the required herbs and tree barks in it. He/she may even add some raisins to make the final brew a bit sweeter. Then he would fill the bottle with red wine and let it brew for about a week, discarding the wine after that. When the tree bark and herbs are fully saturated with the wine, he would pour in some honey (about 1/10th of the capacity of the bottle), top up the bottle with aged Dominican Rum (Brugal is the most popular choice)…and voilà, the Mama Juana is ready!

Some people like to switch out the rum for whisky. In any case, the concoction is served in a shot glass and taken under the “down in one” principle. Experienced drinkers suggest not taking more than two shots at a time and these are normally enjoyed as an opener to something else, like beer or lighter cocktails; any number over two would, obviously, lead to short-term happiness but also, most certainly, to some following-morning distress…

Drink responsibly and enjoy the upcoming Holiday Season! Cheers!

Mr. Vargas is the Institute’s President—feel free to contact him via email, AmerVargas @

The Institute is dedicated to raising service standards by broadly disseminating the mindset and superior service expertise of that time-honored, quintessential service provider, the British Butler, updated with modern people skills, and adapted to the needs of modern employers and guests in staffed homes, luxury hotels, resorts, spas, retirement communities, jets, yachts & cruise ships around the world.


Por Amer A. Vargas

Amer A. Vargas graduated with a Tourism Degree specializing in hotel management from CETT (Center for Tourism Studies) in Barcelona and spent the following decade in the service industry. Beginning as a waiter and then supervisor in high-end restaurants, he was next made responsible for raising service standards through staff training programs. After receiving further training as a butler, he worked as a butler and valet in private service as well as hotels in England and Europe.

During this time period, he translated the best-selling industry texts Butlers & Household Managers, 21st Century Professionals and Hotel Butlers, The Great Service Differentiators into Spanish and is currently creating butler training materials in the Spanish language.

As the Director of Spanish-speaking Markets, Amer is responsible for making the technology of butling available in private residences and hotels in the Spanish-speaking countries of the world. He provides consultation, placement, and training services in these countries.