Yo soy Dominicana. I am Dominican. I say this with pride. I exclaim my nationality proudly every time I am asked, “Where are you from?”
And even when some brave soul states, “You weren’t born in the Dominican Republic, you are American!” – To this I say, “Yo soy Dominicana!”.
And then stifle the urge to show my mad merengue skillz.
There is a time for everything.
I identify as Dominicana; from the rapid fire fluency of my language, to the mangu I eat for Saturday and Sunday breakfast, to the hand on my hips and flicks of my wrists.
To the merengues which pull at my innards, making me gyrate and dance freely. The very same merengues which bring the scent of palm trees and warm ocean air. The merengues which make me miss my country every single day…
I am Dominicana.
Today my people proudly celebrate their independence, and I celebrate along with them.
Dominican Independence is celebrated with carnavales the entire month of February, ending on or around the 27th. Every town is involved, each offering their own sazón to this mix.
It is a celebration of our freedom – True to form in vibrant colors, reenactments, costumes, Diablos Cojuelos, comida y musica. It is loud, it is colorful, it is happy. It is a “dance in the streets all day, all night type of deal, and best interpreted in Fernandito Villalona’s Carnaval.
It is… My people…
This cocktail pays homage to la Independencia Dominicana, to carnaval. It is vibrant, sweet, and fresh, and if you’re not careful it will knock you on your ass like a vejigazo from a Diablo Cojuelo.
Guava nectar and guava paste give this cocktail its pink hue and intense guava flavor. The strawberries provide the perfect balance and help cut the sweetness of the guava paste. It is perfect, says my mom who drank it like a refreshing juice on a hot summer day, and was promptly drunk from it.
And the rum! True to my Dominican roots I used a healthy dose of Brugal – el ron de mi tierra plus a bit of coconut rum to keep this jammy tropical and celebratory, evoking the spirit of mi gente.
Bueno, I don’t know what you are waiting for. Today is a special day! Roll like a Dominican, like it’s carnaval, play your favorite merengue, get your cocktail on, and like Fernandito Villalona says, “Baile en la calle de noche, baile en la calle de dia”.