You undoubtedly already know that the snake is a hazardous animal with a rich symbolic history (thanks to our prior articles!). However, did you know that it can also self-hydrate?
Throughout fact, a poisonous snake serves as the principal component of an alcohol found in Asia. fascinating, repulsive, and occasionally brutal. This is how we perceive Asian cuisine, which is well renowned for its occasionally peculiar nature!
Today, we recommend that you learn about a type of alcohol that is extremely popular in this part of the world: Snake Alcohol.
1) An alcohol... based on Snake?
A) What is Snake Alcohol?
Asian in origin, snake alcohol was first attested in writing around 700 BC. It consists of a liquor that one or more venomous snakes are placed in so they can macerate.
Numerous names for this alcoholic beverage include Snake Wine, Snake Liqueur, Snake Whiskey,... However, the rice alcohol found in Snake Alcohol bottles most frequently ranges in temperature from 30 to 50 degrees.
The venomous snake that is typically used to make snake alcohol is a viper or a cobra. The better the snake, the more poison it has!
However, the beast may also be accompanied by ginseng roots, geckos, scorpions, seahorses, or venomous scolopendrons. Ancient Chinese medicine acknowledged the therapeutic qualities of all these animals.
In actuality, snake alcohol's medicinal qualities are one of the main drivers of its appeal. The theory behind this snake-based beverage is that the alcohol weakens and denatures the venom while protecting the meat's medicinal essence.
B) How is Snake Alcohol made?
A complete (and occasionally live) poisonous snake is placed in a jar of rice alcohol or another form of grain alcohol to create snake alcohol. After that, it is "Infused" for a few months. On occasion, the mixture will include herbs and spices like ginseng.
However, there is another beverage that does not need for marinating the snake. As an alternative, a live snake is immediately killed, and its blood and bile are combined with alcohol. The client instantly consumes this preparation in the form of a vaccination.
The snake must first be placed in a cool environment to enter a condition of quasi-hibernation in order for the preparation to work successfully.
To stop the snake from emitting an unpleasant scent, it is then disemboweled and its blood is drained before being stitched up. The snake's body was then preserved by being placed in a vat of 60 percent ethanol for a month or more by brewers.
In front of customers, some sellers bottle alcohol and snakes. Visitors to the Huaxi Street Tourist Night Market, also referred to as "Snake Valley," in Taipei, Japan, can purchase a freshly prepared bottle of snake wine there.
Almost always, the snakes in the bottles have a hostile appearance. And the reason for this is that even after spending some time in a frigid environment, they are still somewhat awake when they are "bottled."
Once inside the bottle, the snake adopts an aggressive demeanor out of pure survival instinct. By "arranging" the snakes in the bottles in the most stunning way possible, vendors also capitalize on this violent image.
C) The popularity of Snake Alcohol
This beverage is not new to Asian nations, although returning to fashion in recent years. It is a very old alcoholic drink that is thought to have therapeutic effects. But it is not a "luxury" alcoholic beverage; in fact, it is similar to the beer you would drink at home.
Strong and slightly sweet with an earthy flavor, rice wine is an alcoholic beverage. It tastes like fish or chicken because of the snake's presence. Occasionally, giving the beverage more herbs or spices will give it a "medicinal" taste.
Markets and traditional restaurants that specialize in snakes are the typical places to find snake alcohol. Throughout casual settings, it is frequently served on its own rather than as a side dish and is quite popular in Southeast Asia.
It can be taken as a shot, blended with soda or a cocktail, or savored to fully experience all of its intricacies.
Additionally, it may be purchased at roadside booths and particularly tourist-friendly shopping centers. At the front of the gondola, sellers offer bottles with complete king cobras and other creepy crawlies.
However, despite its unusual qualities, the European inhabitants are still not very sensitive to this alcohol. While visiting in Asia, many Western tourists are hesitant to drink snake alcohol. primarily due to the manner these animals are handled and killed.
2) The different types of Snake Alcohol.
A) Snake Wine
Snake wine is undoubtedly one of the most unique dishes available in Hong Kong. Chinese Snake Wine has been a popular beverage since the Western Zhou Dynasty and is made of alcoholic rice wine and deadly snakes (1046-771 BC).
It is customarily regarded as a medicinal beverage. Even the majority of locals have never tried snake wine, which is sought after exclusively by the most daring tourists.
In Hong Kong, traditional eateries, or "se wong," serve snake wine. Examples include She Wong Lam in Sheung Wan and Sher Wong Fun in Central. These eateries are often run by families who have extensive knowledge of where to find and how to handle deadly snakes.
These eateries also offer various snake delicacies including snake soup, which is produced from snake meat, in addition to snake wine and injections of snake bile.
The beverage Habushu is extremely popular throughout Asia. It is inundating South Korea, China, the Philippines, and Japan. This peculiar beverage, which is prepared from Sake and snake venom, is native to Okinawa.
Most frequently, a venomous viper, which is quite similar to the Western rattlesnake, is the snake used to manufacture habushu.
There are many different ways to make Habushu. However, this specific beverage is typically made with honey and herbs (Awamori combination). It has its distinctive yellow hue as a result. A snake is only inserted into the mixture after that to allow for infusion.
Before selling their Habushu, some brewers occasionally remove the snake. Others, however, keep this tiny creature inside the bottle so the client may view it.
Some of these species drown after being trapped in the bottles even though they are not dead when they are.
3) The Effects of Snake Alcohol
A) The Virtues of Snake Alcohol
Traditional Chinese medicine has long believed that various snake parts had various health advantages.
Snake flesh, for instance, is thought to enhance skin and blood circulation. While bile, bones, and snake skin are used to treat conditions like rheumatism, migraines, and sciatica.
The most valuable substance derived from snakes is snake venom. It was hailed as "divine medicine" in the past and has been said to treat conditions ranging from leprosy to joint pain.
Additionally, it is supposed to enhance sexual performance. However, no significant scientific research has been done to back up any of these virtues.
Due to these beliefs, some people may even consume the snake's blood and bodily fluids while mixing in alcohol to avoid being poisoned.
Recent research has demonstrated the analgesic and anti-inflammatory effects of snake alcohol. This shows that it might be effective in treating some diseases.
The most common snakes used in the creation of miracle treatments are venomous ones. These creatures are frequently pictured in our minds as awful and extremely deadly, but they also have a place in our past, with the Mythology of the Snake being one of the most prevalent.
Since the dawn of time, men have been inspired by snakes despite their danger. And even today, when snake jewelry is a real fashion trend, this is still true!
B) Snake Alcohol: Dangerous?
Snake Alcohol is safe to consume even though it is created from deadly snakes because the ethanol in the rice alcohol makes the snake venom harmless.
Drinking snake alcohol is safe as long as you know where it came from and steer clear of homemade or dubious products. Some producers disregard the laws protecting snake species that are now in effect.
They remove them from Cambodia, Laos, or Vietnam's national parks. Additionally, the conditions for bottling the snake can be highly unsanitary.
Some nations forbid the sale of snake alcohol bottles that still include the beast. This is due to the extremely unique qualities of the beverage as well as certain producers' illicit exploitation of endangered snake species.
Similarly, it appears that sending Habushu with the Snake in the bottle by mail is prohibited in several nations. Because of this, some producers eliminate the snake from the preparation.
When creating a high-quality, secure snake alcohol, accuracy and expertise are crucial. The snake may have parasites that can be fatal if it has not been properly cleaned and gutted. A manufacturer will occasionally drown a live snake in vodka.
For those who might find this to be cruel, be aware that the snake occasionally exacts retribution. If the animal is not adequately drowned, it can survive for months by resting in the wine before launching an attack on an unwary drinker. Though extremely uncommon, a woman experienced it in 2013.
C) A Drink that Bites!
Snakes are known to hibernate, and in exceptional circumstances, they may remain alive even after being submerged in alcohol for a prolonged period of time. They can survive as long as the bottle is open by slowing their metabolism and heart rate.
Reports in 2013 mentioned a woman by the name of Liu who lived in the Heilongjiang province of China. After a snake leaped out of a bottle of wine that had been fermenting for three months, this woman had her hand bit.
After a friend advised her that the medicinal drink would ease her joint discomfort, she made it herself (allegedly from a viper).
She would use a tap at the bottom of the bottle to pour a little glass of wine whenever she needed a sip. Liu made the decision to add more alcohol to the bottle after it was empty. The snake began to breathe as she opened the Lid, and after that it wriggled free and bit her finger.
Despite being hospitalized for swelling caused by the bite, Liu lived. There was no mention of the snake's health. After bottling up a helpless animal, some may argue that it was karma.
It has happened before that a snake has survived inside a bottle of booze. A two-month-old snake that had been macerating bit a Chinese farmer in 2009. A villager in the Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region was murdered by a snake in 2001.
Therefore, snake alcohol is a beverage that is both incredibly old and still relatively unknown to us Westerners. In any case, anyone who enjoys unique flavors will find this drink to be an unforgettable experience.
Once the bottle is empty, it can also be filled with formaldehyde or pharmaceutical ethanol to preserve the snake. What should I use to make a decoration? Original.
To sum up, it's important to clarify that this peculiar beverage generates strong reactions to the manner snakes are drowned or killed. Everything is only there to be consumed.
Some of the more well-known producers of this curious liquid use about 5,000 snakes annually. These snakes are mostly from species that are protected.
Due of the snake venom's occasionally amazing qualities, these protected species are frequently among the most dangerous snake species in the world.