Jorge Milanes Despaigne
Pru Oriental is a refreshing brown-colored drink with medicinal properties. Brought to Cuba by French colonialists after the Haitian Revolution, its production began in the eastern part of the island, although today it’s sold all over the country.
Usually prepared as a homemade brew, it begins with the fermentation of several plant roots, along with chinaberry, Chinese root, pepper leaves, brown sugar, cinnamon, pine sprouts and water. There are even those people who add their own secret ingredients to give it a unique flavor.
With everything thoroughly blended, it’s poured into a container that’s well sealed so that it can begin to ferment. As for its medicinal properties, it’s an anti-oxidant that many people use to lower their high blood pressure.
If you travel in the eastern of the island and you don’t try it, you’ve miss out big time on typical yet eccentric flavor of the region.
Recently a TV journalist did a feature in which they reported on the opening of a factory making industrial Pru.
Sitting in the front room watching the news, we became alarmed at this idea. If they began producing large quantities with the aim of selling the drink, we were sure that the quality would decline. We also thought about how its distribution needed to be quick.
The fact is that sometimes when you try to open a bottle, almost all of the liquid shoots out without your being to drink hardly a drop. Even worse misfortune for the person who’s thirsty is when it explodes first.
In any case, a Chinese-Cuban neighbor who had been watching TV with us asked, “Do you know how you can control the foam of Pru when you open a bottle?”
“No,” I replied.
“All you have to do is put your palm, at normal temperature, on the bottom of the bottle and then open it. You’ll see how that controls the foam.”
“First time I’ve heard that,” I thanked him.