Snake wine ("rượu rắn" in Vietnamese) is an alcoholic beverage that includes a whole venomous
snakein the bottle. It originated in Vietnamand can be found around Southeast Asia. The snakes, preferably venomous ones, are usually not preserved for their meat. They are preserved to have the snake poison dissolved in the liquor. However, because snake venom is protein-based, they are unfolded and therefore inactivated due to the influence of the denaturing effects of ethanol.
There are two varieties of snake wine:
*"Steeped": A large venomous snake can be placed into a glass jar of
rice wine, often with many smaller snakes, turtles, insects, or birds, and left to steep for many months. The wine is drunk as a restorative in small shots or cups.
*"Mixed": Body fluids of snake are mixed into wine and consumed immediately in the form of a shot. Snake blood wine is prepared by slicing a snake along its belly and draining its blood into a mixing vat with rice wine or grain alcohol. Snake
bilewine is done through a similar method by using the contents of the gall bladder. Snake meat, liver, and skincan be prepared to accompany the drinks.
It originated in Vietnam and spread throughout the region of Southeast Asia and Southern China. Snakes are widely believed to possess medicinal qualities and the wine is often advertised to cure everything from farsightedness to hair loss, as well as to increase sexual performance. However, these claims should not all be taken literally as many are likely exaggerated to attract buyers. It is illegal to import snake wine to many countries including the
United Statesbecause the cobras and other snakes killed in the production are often endangered species.
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