The World’s Weirdest Drinks
You can make alcoholic drinks out of almost anything, including carrots, maple sap, beetroot and, of course, grains. But some drinks are only for the brave.
No, it’s not made from snakes. Instead, a whole snake is steeped in rice wine. Invariably the snake is of a venomous variety, but it appears the alcohol in the wine renders the venom harmless. According to traditional Chinese medicine, the odd slug of snake wine has an invigorating effect. In another, even more horrifying variant, a live snake is killed on the spot and its blood and bile mixed with alcohol and taken as a shot. Don’t try this at home.
Mares’ milk alcohol
Known as kumis, this mildly alcoholic drink has an ancient history ― mentions date back to the 5th century BC. It is traditional in central Asian countries like Mongolia, Kazakhstan, and Kyrgyzstan. Horse milk has more natural sugars than cows’ milk and these sugars are fermented in a process much like wine-making. However, because horses are harder to milk than cows, modern-day kumis is often made from cows’ milk boosted with extra sugar.
The Sourtoe Cocktail
This disgusting drink apparently dates back to 1972 when a man in Dawson City, Yukon, accidentally cut off his toe with a lawnmower. As you do, he donated it to a local bar where it was pickled in alcohol. Patrons of the Downtown Hotel can join the Sourtoe Club by having the toe added to their drink. “You can drink it fast, you can drink it slow, but your lips must touch the toe,” they say.
Tuna tears soju
This one comes from Korea where the distilled rice wine, soju, is the national beverage. Soju comes in a range of flavours, but in seafood spots known as ‘tuna houses’ you can ask for a tuna tears shot. The soju is mixed with fluid from the eye of a tuna which gives it a jelly-like consistency. It’s served from a teapot and often so thick it needs to be cut with scissors.
Not as weird as it sounds, this one is all-Australian and has bush tucker origins. Green ants, traditionally used by Indigenous Australians as medicine, are harvested in the Northern Territory by members of the Larrakia people. Then they’re incorporated in the distilling process by the Something Wild Beverage Company in the Adelaide Hills. The ants add notes of lime and coriander to the gin. And the ones in the bottom of the bottle are edible, just so you know.
It’s been a long time since you could buy Fags, those candy cigarettes school kids used to pretend to smoke. So it’s unlikely that Australian authorities will encourage the release of a product like this Japanese pretend beer. It’s non-alcoholic and tastes like cola, but looks like beer and comes in brown bottles with beer-like labels. The drink was engineered to have a frothy head so it looks just like what dad is drinking.
Cow urine soft drink
Called Gau Jal, this soft drink was released in India about ten years ago. In the Hindu religion, cows are sacred and their dung and urine have long been used in traditional medicine. The cola-flavoured product was touted as a health drink and the amount of cow urine it contained is unclear. There is little evidence that the drink took the country by storm.
Now we get to weird cocktails. The revoltingly named Smoker’s Cough is a shot of Jägermeister with a tablespoonful of mayonnaise plonked on top. If that doesn’t turn you off, what about a Tapeworm? Vodka, Tabasco, black pepper. And this time the mayonnaise is drizzled in to produce a yummy white “tapeworm”. Some cocktails can make you feel sick just by thinking about them.
Pruno or prison wine
You’d better hope you never get to drink this. Concocted illegally in US prisons, it’s made by saving up fruit from meals and tossing it into a plastic garbage bag. Sweeten with sugar, soft drink or even tomato sauce, add some bread for yeast, hide it from the prison guards and let it ferment. Strain through a shirt or socks and serve at cell temperature.
Belly Button Beer
Working on the principle that yeast is yeast, no matter where it comes from, the brewers at Victoria’s 7 Cents Brewery isolated yeasts from their navel fluff and used it to produce beer. It wasn’t an entirely original idea. They were inspired by another brewery that used yeast from the brewer’s beard. They described the resulting brew as ”…a new world-ish Belgian-ish Witbier with fresh orange zest and toasted coriander seeds. The yeast exhibits qualities of Belgian beer with the key characteristics being spiciness, clove and light banana esters.”