• Snake alcohol in Vietnam
  • Snake alcohol in Vietnam

  • on Jan 29, 2021       By: BN
  • Snake alcohol, or "rượu rắn" in Vietnamese, consists of macerations of snakes in alcoholic beverages. The preservation of the snake in alcohol makes it possible at any time to use the multiple virtues of this snake, which is seen as a panacea, or even an elixir of long life.

    Medicinal virtues

    snake alcohol

    These preparations are direct material witnesses of a set of regional cultural beliefs, knowledge and practices. As such, Snake liquor is a fairly common alcoholic drink in Southeast Asia and Vietnam.

    snake alcohol farmer

    Snakes, preferably poisonous, are generally not preserved for their meat, but for their venom which is dissolved in liquor; however, snake venom is denatured by ethanol, its proteins are unfolded and therefore inactivated.

    snake alcohol bottle

    This particular alcohol made from a cocktail of poisonous snakes is placed in a pretty bottle. Snakes are widely considered to possess medicinal qualities, such as being able to help cure things from farsightedness to hair loss. Snake alcohol is said to help fight back pain, digestive problems, fertility problems and even leprosy.

    snake alcohol Auvergne

    Viper brandy bottle containing an asp viper (Vipera aspic) in Auvergne.

    Principles of preparation

    snake alcohol venom

    The preparation of this alcohol varies according to the regions and the more or less traditional training of the producer.

    snake alcohol animal

    There are two types of snake alcohol preparation:

    - Let a large poisonous snake (sometimes alive) macerate for a few months in a glass jar of rice wine, often with small reptiles: scorpions, lizards, turtles, insects or small birds. All of these animals are recognized as having medicinal properties by ancient Chinese medicine. Occasionally, herbs and spices like ginseng are added to the formula, in order to avoid a foul odour. The resulting alcohol can be drunk in small cups.

    snake alcohol preparation

    - A living snake is killed on the spot. Its blood and bile are mixed with rice wine or grain alcohol and are consumed immediately. It can also be done in a similar method using the contents of the gallbladder.

    Varieties

    snake alcohol scopion

    This liquor is originally from Vietnam. Thus, the sale of snake wine is important, not only by tourists' purchases but also by those of the whole local population. This alcohol is served in street markets, restaurants and even airports.

    snake alcohol phi long

    However, it is illegal to import snake alcohol into many countries (France, USA for example…) because some of the snakes used are endangered species. A similar drink is also made with a poisonous lizard rather than a snake.

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