Pru Oriental

Pru Oriental

Heritage & Traditions

By: Ciro Bianchi Ross Photos: PL

You can get it bottled today but it is primarily a home-made drink.Throughout the eastern region of Cuba, there are many families who claim to have perfected, over many years, the preparation of this drink. It is a traditional, refreshing, foamy, and medicinal drink produced by the decoction and fermentation of ubi vines with sugar and spices.

It was born in the eastern mountains more than two centuries ago. As time went by, it arrived into rural areas and from there to larger cities like the capital Havana. lt was bottled and made available in hotels and stores. In its bottled version, this natural drink still preserves its original flavours and medicinal properties and acts as an energy booster.

The homemade preparation of this drink is a ceremony in which the ubi and jaboncillo vines are scraped and added to leaves of pepper plants, ginger, and Chinese root. The ingredients are mixed with water in a pot and boiled. The resulting liquid is filtered and lefi to rest for 12 to 24 hours. Sugar is then added and the remainder of the Pru from a previous batch. Some people advise adding scrapings from palm tree roots and pine sprouts. Others prefer, when the drink is already fresh and sweet, adding liquor. Then, the drink is poured into a tightly sealed container and left to rest underground for three days. Afier that period it is filtered and distributed in glass jars with lemon grass and drank cold.

Pru has gained many supporters over its years of existence, especially in the last decade with the decline in availability of commercial soft drinks.

If the heat on the island wears you down, try this distinctly Cuban pick-me-up.