Writing for the Havana Times, Dariela Aquique sings songs of praise to pru, a fermented beverage that is Cuba’s answer to chiche or pulque.
The concoction of chinaberry, ubi roots, soap berry, ginger, sweet pepper leaves, raw cinnamon and brown sugar was imported to eastern Cuba by Haitian immigrants following that country’s revolution in the early 1800s. The drink, believed by many to have medicinal qualities, used to be available exclusively in the villages around Santiago, but since the economic crisis of the 1990s became more widely available on the island as industrial soft drink production dried up and producers of pru went in search of new sources of income. Aquique says the drink can even be found in Miami now.
Gabriele Volpato and Daimy Godinez described the “Ethnobotany of Pru” in the journal Economic Botany in 2004.