Habushu: Why is Snake Sake for the Courageous?

What is snake wine?Habu Sake: It’s a Snake in a Bottle of Liquor! What’s There Not to Like?

This craze called Habushu ハブ酒 is flooding across Japan, China, Philippines and South Korea like wild fire. This oddity of a drink originates from Okinawa and the fellow inside the bottle here on the left is a Trimeresurus flavoviridus, or simply a pit viper snake, which is also pretty similar to the western rattlesnake.

These snakes are not to be trifled with, a bite from one of these guys has the potential to kill!

This oddity is first mixed with honey and herbs, which is the reason it has it’s yellow tint. Then one these excellent reptilian beasts are lowered into the liquid so they can look their most dashingly self for the rest of time, that is if it remains in the bottle. But of course there are many ways to get them there.

Some brewers of habushu at times take the snake out before selling it, but some, daring brewers leave the little buddy inside the bottle for all to see. But we’ll have to go the extra mile and admit, some of these creature are not dead when they arrive in their capsule. Some brewers will submerge the snake in the liquor and seal the bottle, thusly inebriating the snake while at the same time drowning him.

Some brewers know the special alchemy to creating the vicious striking viper in a bottle. What’s required? Sticking our little guy in an ice locker until it blacks out and kind of goes into a hibernation, then the snake is gutted like a fish and bled out, then it will be sewn back up. Once our friend the pit viper wakes up to realize his kidneys have been ganked he’ll immediately get super pissed, strike out but die immediately afterwards, leaving him in a state of constant rage as you can see here on the right.

Habusake Is it poisonous?The brewers will then put the body of the snake in an ethanol tub for a month or more to make sure it’s nicely preserved.

From this point forward the brewers will then take the pit viper and stick it in a 60% alcohol mix for a little over a month, then it will be added to an awamori mix (herbs and honey). It’s said that by removing the intestines of the snake help to avoid a very unpleasant smell that happens when it’s left inside the snake.

Some of the major brewers of this liquid oddity end up using around 5,000 pit viper snakes per year. And for those concerned about the poison, well the alcohol helps the venom to become inert by dissolving it making it safe.

This radical drink is nothing new to Asian countries, although it is catching fire once again through major populaces. It’s a very ancient drink and is believe to have medicinal traits.

Many say it has the most effect on male libido. The pit viper snake can get it on for over 24 hours, which has made it a drink of those with sexual dysfunction. Does it work? Of course it does, why wouldn’t it?

Do I have proof? Absolutely not. But until then, let’s just pretend for those courageous souls out there that do drink this stuff, that all the superstitions about habusake is true!

If I happen to ever get a chance to try some of this snake wine, then I’ll be sure to update you and let you know if I become a sexual god!

Nihonscope


アンフィル 『Lamplight=melody』

Nihon Scope

I've been interested in Japanese as a language and as a culture since I was about 15 years old. I've been off and on studying Japanese since then, but over the last 2 years I've been pushing myself much more aggressively, as I'll be moving to Fukuoka, Japan in 2017 to go to school for 2 years. This blog is basically a education blog mostly for myself to further learn about the culture and the language, I will also be using it as an experiential blog while in Japan.