Mannish water is no misnomer. This man-made soup, which features meat from male goats and a side-effect of sexual vigor, is an undeniably masculine dish.
To make the soup, men use as many parts of a rammy (male goat) as they please, including the head, feet, entrails, and testicles. After cooking, the smoky meat melts in a pot that’s also boiling carrots, potatoes, and green bananas. Scotch bonnet or habanero peppers add heat, while white rum sometimes spices up the soup’s base.
The result is intense, meaty, savory, spicy, and pungent. Like many dishes based around male animals, mannish water has a reputation across Jamaica for being an aphrodisiac. But its uses extend far beyond the bedroom. Revelers serve the soup at traditional celebrations, birthday parties, and even funerals.
As Jamaican musician Pluto Shervington sings in his 1974 hit song “Ram Goat Liver,” it’s “good fi mek mannish water.” Whether from the rush of the heat, the heartiness of the meat, or the aphrodisiac punch, he adds that lunching on goat is sure to “put de bite in your bark.”
Need to Know
Jamaicans typically serve mannish water at events and large gatherings such as weddings and funerals. It's rarely seen on restaurant menus, but is sometimes sold from roadside stands. If you've got a hankering for some, you can make mannish water at home or get yourself invited to a local celebration in Jamaica.