Snake wine is an exotic alcoholic drink. It transcends all other drinks by the fact that the bottle in which the alcohol is sold contains a whole, poisonous snake in it. This unusual drink originates from Asia, and more specifically - Vietnam.
Other nations in which the extravagant beverage is offered include Japan, Korea and Thailand. Snake wine, which is made in a fascinating way, is considered a men's drink, especially popular for its aphrodisiac properties and not just among Asian peoples either.
History of Snake Wine
Snake wine is a product with an extensive history. According to old chronicles, it has been produced by Asian peoples for centuries but the first ones to make it lived during the Chinese Zhou dynasty. Asian mountain passes are inhabited by many poisonous snakes.
In Southeast Asia, the snake is identified as a symbol of longevity and wisdom. This gave origin to the idea that in order for a person to gain strength, they must drink a liquid which has had a poisonous snake submerged in it. With time, the recipe was altered and perfected.
Currently, the production of snake wine is widely practiced in the village of Lệ Mật, just several miles from Hanoi, capital of Vietnam. The villagers there have become true professionals in capturing dangerous poisonous snakes. They even hold a snake wine festival. The region is a high point of interest among people from nearby cities and villages, as well as for foreign tourists.
The entire district offers snake wines, presented in the most eye-catching way possible. In fact, nearly every family places jars with snakes in front of their home. The larger and more mottled the snake, the more stunning the visual effects of the bottle of wine it is contained in. Some tourists admit that they buy the item not to consume it but to place it in their home as a decorative piece.
Production of Snake Wine
Making snake wine requires following a recipe that was written in ages past. Of course, the key ingredient of the drink is the snake itself. If this is missing, the wine will not possess the necessary qualities, plus it will lose its exotic character. The recipe calls for the reptile that is to be placed in the bottle of alcohol to be highly poisonous.
The cobra is among the preferred snakes for this purpose. But before it is placed in the wine, the reptile must be caught and killed. It can be bought in this form from a merchant. Besides snakes, they put in lizards, scorpions and insects. Other ingredients of snake wine include roots, spices and various herbs.
The rice wine in which the snake had been soaking can only be consumed after several months. The reptile needs to have stayed in the alcohol for a period of time and have released its venom. To achieve this, the glass jars with the extravagant elixir must be placed in a dark area.
The longer the wine ages, the more its color changes. Eventually, the drink begins to pink since the blood of the reptile has drained into it. The fermented snake blood can be used to make snake liqueur as well.
It is in fact the snake blood that is the most vital and valuable ingredient in the drink. And even though the mere thought of consuming this type of alcohol may send shivers down some people's spines, producers guarantee that it is completely safe to drink.
Scientists explain that the snake venom is protein-based and that the alcohol breaks it down into harmless components. Despite this, such drinks are illegal in many countries in the European Union and the US. The reason is that endangered reptiles are killed to produce snake wine.
Serving Snake Wine
Snake wine does not perform the same functions as the majority of drinks you consume. It is not yet another addition to a fresh salad or an appetizing beef steak. It is consumed mostly for its healing properties. We are reminded to drink it in small sips and in small amounts. As per tradition, the alcohol is poured into small glasses.
Benefits of Snake Wine
According to Asian folk medicine, drinking snake wine has a tonic effect on the entire body. The alcoholic drink is known for its antibacterial properties. It has a warming and relaxing effect. Some use it as a treatment for rheumatism and sprains.
As previously stated, snake wine has managed to gain fame due to its aphrodisiac properties. Based on testimony, it provides the imbiber with such virility that not even the most expensive blue pill can match. In addition, as opposed to most drugs, snake wine has no side effects. It is also said that rice wine with snake can cure hair loss.
Dangers of Snake Wine
Even though the consumption of snake wine is not known to cause undesired health conditions, a Chinese woman suffered a mishap not too long ago when she tried to pour herself some of the drink. She was attacked by the snake that had sat in the bottle of rice wine for an entire 3 months. It never became clear how the snake, supposedly killed, managed to survive 3 months in the alcohol solution. Fortunately, the woman was not seriously harmed and survived.