Saturday, January 24, 2009
How to Make Medicinal Snake Wine
This exotic tonic was introduced to me by one of the top orthopedic surgeons in the US and a fantastic travel photographer, Bob Derkash. Every sip and following inhale tastes like snake.
Vietnamese herbalists have been prescribing snake wine to patients for centuries. It is said to cure everything from low libido to back pain. Besides flying to Vietnam and buying a bottle of it in a back alley for $25, why not make your own.
Snake wine is made by trapping a small cobra in a bottle and drowning it in rice wine. The dead snake then ferments in the wine releasing chemicals that transform the alcohol into a mystic tonic.
Get together your ingredients. You'll need gloves, knife, alcohol cleaning solution, hook for handling a live cobra, funnel, corked glass bottle, rice wine and of course, the live snake.
Trap the snake's head under your shoe. Hold its tail in your hand and stretch the snake out. Watch out that it doesn't get a bite out of you. That would probably ruin your winemaking experience. And snake wine doesn't do much for snake bites. Ironic, we know. Cut small slits at the head and tail. Rinse the
Slice the snake from head to tail and remove its innards.
Rinse the inside of the snake with the cleaning alcohol solution.
Place the snake in the bottle. Cork the bottle, as the snake will still be wriggling. Get the wine and funnel in place.
Find the snake's heart and separate from rest of innards. Place in jar with snake.
Repeat with more snakes until the jar is 2/3 full.
Fill jar with rice wine, cork and let sit for at least 3 months.
Legend says snake wine can last as long as 500 years. The longer it ferments, the more potent its medicinal properties become. This is practiced in China, Vietnam, Fuji and other Asian and Pacific Island countries. Scorpions have also been used or supplemented for snakes.