Do you ever find yourself getting a bit sick of the same old lager? Fancy something completely different like a Woo Woo?
Well what about something altogether on its own level of strange? In almost every culture people have found a way to brew whatever they can into some kind of intoxicating beverage.
In many cases delving into the finer side of a country’s alcohol production gives you a fascinating insight into the culture, and you’ll surely get to know the locals after a few shots of some of the beauties listed below.
Said to cure everything from hair loss to impotence, this potent beverage involves stuffing a venomous snake into a bottle of rice wine and leaving it to ferment for a good 6 months.
In Chinese medicine, snakes have long been held to have beneficial properties for health and virility and this is one way to absorb their ‘essence.’
The resulting brew is drunk in shots and tastes just like normal rice wine if you can get past the image of the old snake carcass.
Although often sold in souvenir shops, most countries don’t allow its import as many of the snakes used are endangered species.
In Vietnam, you may find varieties made from other exotic animals such as sea horses, scorpions and geckos.
Scottish based Brew dog are famous for churning out some of the finest craft beers on the UK market.
They have been pushing the limits of high alcohol beers for a while now and have finally reached the point of no return, which they have called ‘The End of History.’
These limited edition bottles, (of which there are only 12) have a whopping 55% alcohol content. They come sheathed in the body of a stuffed squirrel or stoat and will set you back a mere $700.
Many people have derided Brew dog for this apparent ‘money grabbing’ stunt, but they claim they just wanted to make a perfect blend of art, taxidermy and craft brewing. Touché.
Invented by the Inuits, this way of making alcohol could only have been thought up in a land with very, very few other options.
The simple procedure involves finding a seagull and placing it in a bottle full of water, which should then be left in direct sunshine for as long as it takes to ferment.
I don’t want to delve too deeply into what exactly this would taste like, but one account states something akin to leftover carburetor fluid.
Top prize to the people of the Arctic Circle though, for finding a way to get drunk in desperate times.
Similar to Tequila, but distilled from the Maguey plant (also a form of Agave), which was seen as sacred to the Aztecs and used to cure syphilis and gonorrhea.
Mezcal is now more famous for its potency and the floating worm lingering at the bottom of the bottle, but the reasons for adding this grub have long been debated.
Some say it proves it is safe to drink, some that it imparts flavour and yet others that is all a marketing ploy.
Either way most people don’t remember eating the worm by the end of the bottle. It is normally drunk straight or served with “sal de gusano” (literally worm salt) covered orange slices.
Apparently the world’s first ‘culinary beer’, the couple responsible for this odd concoction originally wanted to make a beverage that would go well with a variety of cuisines, but instead ended up mushing the food into the beer.
A whole margarita pizza gets ‘put into the mash’ and brewed a bit like a tea bag. Additional spices and herbs are also added along the way.
I personally worry about the waste of a perfectly good pizza, but I shall reserve my judgment until I one day taste the beer.
Next on our list is the mild Kumis, made from fermented mare’s milk. Containing only 1 – 2.5% alcohol you would have to drink gallons of the stuff to become inebriated, but it nevertheless retains its importance to the people of Central Asia.
One account states that in the Soviet Union in 1982, 230,000 horses were being kept specifically for the purpose of producing Kumis.
It also held a reputation as being a cure-all, with advocates of ‘Kumis therapy’ including Leo Tolstoy and Anton Chekhov.