Japanese Snake Wine: Habu Sake

I’ve done shots of Mezcal tequila, the kind with the infamous worm in it. I consider this a worthy notch on my life experience list. Then I heard about Habushu, or Japanese snake wine, and it makes my worm experience seem…small.

Even if my shot days weren’t behind me, I don’t think I’d be tempted by this serpent. More power to adventurous drinkers like this guy.

Habushu, also called Habu Sake is a liqueur made in Okinawa, Japan.

The distillation process is typical of other Japanese liqueurs, except this refreshing beverage gets a venomous habu snake shoved into the bottle. This viper is related to rattlesnakes and its venom can cause nausea, vomiting, hypotension, and possibly death. Don’t worry about dying though, the liqueur usually neutralizes the venom.

Two traditional methods exist to introduce the snake to the liqueur.

1. Simply drown the live snake in the alcohol and seal the bottle.

2. Freeze the snake, gut it, then put it into the bottle. It will thaw quickly and drown. Removing the snake’s intestines before drowning it reduces the stench vs. drowning it with guts in tact. Lovely.

Some Japanese believe this snake wine increases the male libido because the habu snake can mate 26 hours straight [insert joke here.]