Guavaberry liqueur, the drink arrived from the British West Indies with immigrants who settled in the D.R., is now part of our culinary heritage. Learn how to make this wonderful Dominican drink, the treasure of San Pedro, passed on to us by the Cocolo community.
By- Last reviewed . Published 25 Apr 2019
Why we ❤️ it
"Drinking Guavaberry / Watching the sun go down / Woman, that's all I need! / In San Pedro de Macorís.
- Guavaberry, Juan Luís Guerra
For many Dominicans, myself included, that famous 440 song was their first introduction to Cocolo culture. To write about them, I needed to go to the source: San Pedro de Macorís, the Cocolo capital of the Dominican Republic.
For me, this guavaberry drink was love at first try, and I knew right away I needed to share it with you.
Guavaberry is the fruit of the plant Myrciaria floribunda, known as arrayán in the Dominican Republic. It is also the name of a drink made with this fruit that is a traditional Christmas drink in San Pedro de Macorís.
Arrayán or guavaberry trees can only be found in and around El Seibo, in the East-center of the island.
Ingredients Guavaberry drink, jam, and fruits.
How to serve
Guavaberry is typically served chilled, and it's a Christmas tradition in San Pedro. Arrayán is harvested around November, just in time to produce the liqueur for Christmas.
Homemade batches of Guavaberry make excellent Christmas gifts.
- Rum: Use Dominican Republic rum, of course. But if you definitely can't find it, any dark rum is adequate. You do not need to use some expensive aged rum; locals make it with good quality but inexpensive Dominican rum.
- Guavaberry fruit: Arrayán – ripe local guavaberries – is harvested in the fall; this is perhaps why Guavaberry is considered a Christmas drink.
- Sugar: You can also use dark cane sugar; it will give it a darker color and improve its flavor depth.
About this recipe
Thanks to Ms. Dunker-Lambert for sharing her recipe and time with me. Thanks to Juan Dunker at Rincón Cocolo, for walking me through the process, and for sending me the arrayán so I could do the work of writing and testing the recipe. Also, thanks to Mrs. Lucia Vda. Thomas, for tasting it and sharing her kind and favorable review of the result.
If you are ever around San Pedro and want to try Cocolo food, pay them a visit. I strongly suggest patrons and visitors make arrangements beforehand, as these dishes are not always available.
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Guavaberry [Recipe + Video] Cocolo Drink and Jam
1. Combining ingredients
- Place the guavaberries, cinnamon, cloves, allspice, sugar, and water into a pot.
- Heat and simmer over low heat until the water has reduced, the berries are very soft and has turned into a jam with some liquid left (about an hour). Cooking time may vary, so keep an eye on it to prevent it from burning.Remove the pot from the heat, and let it cool to room temperature. If you are just making the jam, remove the spices, and chill before serving as a dessert.
3. Adding rum and steeping
- Mix the jam (with all the spices) and the rum, and let it rest in the refrigerator for a week. Serve chilled.
Nutritional information is calculated automatically based on ingredients listed. Please consult your doctor if you need precise nutrition information.
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Guavaberry liqueur is a traditional West Indian drink made from the fruit of the Myrciaria floribunda tree, known as arrayán in the Dominican Republic. Guavaberry liqueur also contains cane sugar, spices, and rum.
The fruit is mildly sweet, with a very faint bitter aftertaste, the guavaberry drink is sweet, spiced, and very rich.
Yes. Guavaberry liqueur is traditionally drunk straight and served in shot glasses. It's perfect as a digestif (after-meal drink).