Snake wine is a peculiar, but interesting product. My favorite icebreaker is: do you know that I have a snake at home? Of course, after the first moment of wonder had passed, I clarified that the snake was dead and in a bottle from which I could drink.
It’s still impressive, something that not many people heard of it before. Snake wine? Why would anybody buy this? Many years ago, when my father was visiting Vietnam, he found this souvenir and said to himself that he must buy this. Okay, but why would anybody drink this then?
It is believed that it has some health benefits: on the bottle, it says for rheumatism, lumbago, the sweat of limbs. It also says to take a shot of snake wine before a meal. If it’s true, then I cannot say because we have never opened the bottle. It’s a great souvenir that we keep hidden cause it’s a bit creepy to look at it.
1. About the history of snake wine
While my father bought this in Vietnam, the exact origin of this drink traces back to China in 1046-771 BC. However, now you can drink it in Southeast Asia, especially in Southeast China and in Vietnam. Even in the past, it was prepared because people believed that it holds medicinal benefits: the venom and the skin are said to cure skin-related diseases, migraines, and it may even be an aphrodisiac.
Modern medicine has shown that snake wine does indeed have some medicinal benefits: analgesic and anti-inflammatory properties that can help us.
2. How snake wine is prepared
Sometimes the snake is killed on the spot, and the bile and blood are mixed with alcohol. When this method is chosen, the customer can enjoy their shot of snake wine immediately.
But there is another method: a live snake is introduced in the bottle of rice wine with some herbs and left to marinate for a couple of months. Beware of this method because sometimes the snake can hibernate, and it can attack you when you open the bottle. Well, we never intended to open our bottle. Good thing that my father bought it 20 years ago.
3. Where to find snake wine
If you are ever in Vietnam, China, or Hong Kong, you should try to find a vendor that seems trustworthy. Even if you choose to drink it, it is still a nice icebreaker: did you know that I drank snake wine? But if you are choosing to keep it, I must warn you: even after 20 years, that bottle still gives me creeps every time I look at it.