Habushu: Snake Wine Every Person Should Try Once

Here in this article is where I share a historical or popular alcoholic drink from different parts of the world that I have tried while traveling. In this article I will tell you about:

  • Where the drink originated from
  • The ingredients and processes used to make it
  • Where you can find it now if possible

It’s always fun having cocktails with your friends. It is distracting when one of the main ingredients is staring right back at you though. The venomous snake posed in an attack position. Fangs opened wide out looking to strike. The Asian alcohol Habushu is this drink. It is something everyone should try at some point in their life. Taking a sip of Habushu is a unique experience.

Habushu Snake Jar

Where does this thirst quencher come from?

Habu Sake or Okinawan Snake Wine are alternative names for this beverage. I discovered that it is a traditional form of rice liquor. Originally made in Okinawa, Japan. This is a staple of the Okinawan culture. This drink dates back as far as the 14th century for the nobility. It is named after the pit viper snake whose native to areas in Southeast Asia. Their venom is a key part of this particular drink. It was also shown that certain parts contained an energy-boosting ingredient as a result of this, you get an additional health benefit from this drink which I believe is always a positive.

The process of making Habushu

Two other main ingredients are used to complete this Asian alcohol. Herbs and honey mixed. This is what gives off the yellow tint you see. The pit viper is then inserted into the jar. Let me just say to those who might feel that this is dangerous do not worry. The alcohol mix added after helps to dissolve the venom, making it safe to drink. The habushu is then aged. It is in the same way that alcohols such as whiskey and scotch are prepared. Properly stored in a similar environment. The aging takes a month minimum to complete. This is to make sure the pit viper is properly preserved. And makes sure all the ingredients have blended.

After that, it is ready for you to enjoy. The honey makes it sweet and gives off a pleasant aroma. The taste is mild and will make you feel like you are enjoying a nice cup of tea

It is not as bad as it sounds. To be fair it may be difficult to wrap your head around drinking some snake venom. You may need to mentally prepare yourself. But if your adventurous spirit can push you a little farther, I think that this is something to impress and disgust your friends with.

Where to find it in Asia

It is not a common enough drink in the standard Asian alcohol. So it may be difficult to find. But you can find different versions, Japanese Habushu, Vietnam Habushu, and Thailand Habushu. Because of this, I only happened to chance upon it on a merchant cart strolling through the streets of Kin, the town where my base was located. Sold mainly to passing tourists looking for something adventurous to try. Locals still enjoy this drink too. You might find a jar sitting on the shelf at a local bar or in the special beverage section of the marketplace.

You can purchase habushu online at Amazon. There are other sites as well to have it delivered. Habushu can travel to the US and internationally. There is only one downside in my opinion. It is that these usually come without the snake in the jar. Now you’ve decided to purchase yourself or others some habushu. It’s great as a housewarming present, birthday gift, or just for your use.

Because of this, it’s best to do some research. On this or other snake wines, you might be interested in. Be sure to know what kind of snake you are packing into your luggage. According to U.S. Customs bringing back items made of any endangered species is illegal. You’ll find it’s acceptable to bring habushu into most countries. Just make sure as you arrive to declare it and have officials properly inspect it.

I hope that this will entice you to try something new next time you are traveling.

This article originally appeared on The World Overload. Featured Photo Credit: Unsplash

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