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World’s Strongest Drinks & Strange Liquor


"QUANTUM SHOT" #644
Link - article by Simon Rose



From Baby Mouse Wine... to Large Spiders & Snakes in Alcohol - All Ready to Drink!

We had such a great response to our 2009 article on unusual beer flavours from different corners of the globe, so here’s a sample of some of the more unusual and occasionally bizarre alcoholic beverages from around the world.


(image via)

Just about every culture in the world has a traditional alcoholic drink made from the plants and other ingredients that could be found locally and some of these beverages are very old indeed.

Mead, often referred to as honey wine, can range from mild ale to strong wine in terms of its alcohol content. The origins of mead are lost in the mists of time, but it appears in the history of cultures throughout Europe, Africa and Asia. Some regard mead as the ancestor of all fermented drinks.


(Polish Mead, images via 1, 2)

Moutai, commonly referred to as China’s national liquor, was first made in China over 800 years ago:


(images via 1, 2)

Chicha, a drink derived from maize in several South American countries is one of the oldest beverages on the planet. Chicha has probably been around for thousands of years, and was consumed by the Inca, but today traditionally prepared chicha is only produced in a handful of small towns and few villages in Peru, Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador and Costa Rica.


(image via 1, 2)

Although maize is most commonly associated with chicha, throughout the Andes the word can also refer to numerous fermented drinks, made from other types of grains or fruit. Another old drink is pulque, a traditional Mexican alcoholic beverage made from the fermented juice of the maguey plant. The drink has a long history and this monkey pulque jar dates from the Aztec period:


(images via 1, 2)

A popular drink in Central Asia, kumis was first mentioned by Herodotus in the fifth century BC. A fermented drink made from mare’s milk, Kumis is a mild beverage, only containing up 2.5% alcohol:


(image via)

If alcohol mixed with horse milk isn’t exactly to your taste, how about breakfast in a bottle of booze? Bakon Vodka, produced by Black Rock Spirits of Seattle is indeed flavoured with bacon (below left). Or how about vodka with chillis (below right)?


(images via 1, 2)

Here is an interesting "Aunt Sonya" (Kosher?) Vodka from Russia, and a pickle-ready feast with a "Birch Porch" vodka:


(images via 1, 2)

As well as bacon as an ingredient in liquor, meat has featured for many years in bottles of Mezcal from Mexico. The worm is actually the larva of one of the moths that live on the agave plant. No one is sure where the tradition of adding the worm to the bottle came from, but it is possible that it serves to prove that the alcohol content is high enough to preserve the worm in a pickled condition.


(image via)

Lizard wine from China might not sound too appealing, but apparently tastes a little like brandy, improves eyesight and as a bonus can protect against evil spirits (below left).


(images via)

Another wine with supposed medicinal qualities, helping with everything from coughs and colds to liver disorders, is baby mouse wine from Korea (above right). Yes, it really does contain newborn baby mice, which are drowned in rice wine, before the bizarre mixture is stored somewhere dry and dark for up to a year before it is considered drinkable.

Just like baby mouse wine, snake liquors from South East Asia are also considered cures for a variety of ailments, including impotence, back and muscle pain and hair loss (below left). These drinks usually contain highly poisonous snakes, such as cobras (below right):


(image via)

If snakes aren’t really for you, how about scorpions and spiders? This distilled rice grain vodka from Thailand, complete with a farm raised scorpion, is banana flavoured and sweetened with sugar cane (below left).


(images via)

This Thai rice whiskey contains a large non-venomous spider (above right) and is apparently an acquired taste. Or how about this Mekong River Eel Wine from Laos? -


(images via)

If you prefer your liquor devoid of creatures of any kind, Bau Da Vietnamese rice whiskey is made from plain boiled rice and comes in this rather attractive container (above right).


The World’s Strongest Drinks

In terms of sheer alcohol content, Everclear is considered the world’s strongest drink. A grain alcohol, Everclear can contain 95 % or 75.5 % alcohol or 190 and 151 proof respectively. Vodka tends to be 40 % alcohol or 80 proofs. Drinkers rarely consume Everclear on its own and it is usually only used as an ingredient in cocktails:



Bacardi 151 (above right) has an alcohol content of 75.5% or 151-proof and is also used in cocktails. The spirit is flammable and used in flaming drinks such as B-52’s. Bacardi also really do use a flame arrester on the bottle.

Raicilla is often called Mexican Moonshine and is usually more than 100 proof. It is generally known as a homegrown version of tequila or other similar Mexican drinks, but has begun to be produced commercially in recent years.


(image via)

Absinthe is another highly alcoholic beverage, with an alcohol content of between 45% and 74%. An anise-flavoured spirit derived from herbs, Absinthe is usually green, but can also be colourless. Because of its strength it is usually diluted with water. Absinthe originated in Switzerland and became very popular in late nineteenth and early twentieth Paris among artists and writers, who were all thought to be fans of ‘the green fairy’, as the drink was often known. Absinthe spoons originated at that time, used to dissolve a sugar cube in a glass of absinthe to sweeten it and take away some of the bitterness. Such spoons, some of which had logos or brand names on them, are now collector’s items:


(images via)

By 1915, absinthe had been banned in many countries as an addictive drug, mostly due to presence of small amounts of thujone, blamed for the harmful effects of drinking absinthe. However, there appears to be scant evidence that absinthe is any more dangerous than other spirits. In the 1990’s, several European countries began making absinthe again. Here are a few examples of absinthe from the Czech Republic, which often have a high alcohol content and there’s even a cannabis flavoured brand.


(images via 1, 2)

If you’re interested in sampling any of these mind boggling strong drinks, or indeed any of the above weird concoctions, maybe your drink could be served in a bottle like this one, which is possibly especially designed for taking shots:


(images via 1, 2)

Here is a flask disguised as binoculars... to see double, or doubly clear? (order it here):


(image via)

So there you are, a look at the weird, the wonderful, the unusual and the plain bizarre liquors of the world. Cheers!


(image via, see more here)

Drink responsibly. You know.


(original unknown)

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Simon Rose is the author of science fiction and fantasy novels for children, including The Alchemist's Portrait, The Sorcerer's Letterbox, The Clone Conspiracy, The Emerald Curse, The Heretic's Tomb and The Doomsday Mask.

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YOUR COMMENTS::

30 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Becherovka is not an absinthe. It's no even green. It only has a green bottle.

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Anonymous george said...

Exactly, it's just wodka with herb flavor, similar to jagermeister

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Anonymous arakell said...

The first two mead bottles (Hromčíkova hořká) is actually Czech or Slovak, not Polish. The third one, however is Polish all right (not very high quality, though...).

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

I seem to remember reading that the ancient Inca alchohol drinks made from maize were first "chewed" by Incan women to start the fermentation process - is this true?

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

When it comes to strong beverages, you seem to have left out Stroh rum ( http://www.stroh.co.uk/ ) that has 80% alc. It's personally one of my favorite liquors.

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Anonymous marvin said...

Aha!, the alcohol works as rat bait. I don't want to drink vodka with whole animals submerged.

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Blogger Harold Fowler said...

No way dude thats jsut too cool

www.privacy-tools.be.tc

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Anonymous David said...

Hey - fascinating page! There's one other notable drink in the 'strange floating animal' category that I thought I would mention actually. The Slovenian Salamander Brandy – and yes, that's exactly what it sounds like. The only thing is that the salamander is actively poisonous, giving the drink a decidedly strong and possibly hallucinatory effect. It’s also supposed to have a very sexual effect - “getting in touch with your deeper sexual feelings”. It’s not legal in Slovenia and is very clandestine – actually finding it is very hard and requires a lot of networking. You cant just ask people. I’ve never tried it myself – I only discovered it existed after my year there was over. Here’s the link: http://www.grailtrail.ndo.co.uk/Grails/brandy.html

Slovenia is also one of the homes of the famous Viljamovka with an entire pear miraculously sealed inside the bottle (actually grown inside it of course!).

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Blogger Kristi Bernard said...

The snake beer is really gross and the little rodent one too. But very interesting.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

http://img809.imageshack.us/img809/6671/sn851628a.jpg

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Blogger Brandon said...

There's a 96% Polish vodka out there called Spirytus I had in Japan a few years back. Nasty stuff. I used it to blow fireballs out of my mouth to start bonfires and also to make turbo screwdrivers. Here's a link:

http://www.emit.kr/attach/1/1141195309.jpg

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Anonymous B. S. said...

Yup, the first mead is Czech, not Polish. As for chili vodka, there's the Ukrainian Nemiroff (see http://www.e-waspol.pl/foto/1129/maxi/91.jpeg ) which is a traditional "nastoyka" (but there's more than one!). Also, one weird liquor missing is the Danziger Goldwasser - a vodka containing thin petals of gold that one actually drinks ( http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/a/a0/Danziger_goldwasser_original_der_lachs.jpg )

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Swiss make "Gold Schnee", which is a cinnamon flavoured schnapps with gold leaf.

Only 20% though, I just checked my only bottle ;)

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Anonymous Mike said...

I tried inferno vodka once, it was probably the most vile thing I've ever tasted.

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Anonymous speak said...

How do you come up with these great posts?

I tried to send you a link through tweeter but could not get through.

http://www.designsdelight.com/uncategorized/fat-lava-fat-lava-vases/

tell me do you do any consultancy?

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

96% Polish drink called Spirytus is not a vodka. It's pure alcohol. It doesn't go to 100% purity. It always has 4% of water. No wonder it was nasty. No one in his right mind would drink pure alcohol as he would drink vodka.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

there are strong beverages made from mead distilate, at least up to 75% alc. http://www.midus.lt/en.php?p=Product&pid=57

calling kumis alcohol mixed with horse milk is a bit of insult, there's no mixing with alcohol, it gets there naturally, as in bear for example.

great article though, as allways :)

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Anonymous Kristen said...

I have a couple of bottles of spyritus and they're actually %76.6 acl. That snake wine is super cool, I wish I had a bottle of that (to display, not drink), though I must comment that the mouse wine is just plain sad and very unappealing.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Neat, the "liquor/guns" sign is for real! I believe it is between San Antonio and Uvalde, Texas. They really do sell those two items in the same edifice (ammo too, of course), but if memory serves correct there is an interior door or something between the two halves. Go Texas, lol!

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Speaking of strange liqour... Ok so it's beer, but it is 55% alcohol. And poured out of dead (taxidermied) animals. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/newstopics/howaboutthat/7904698/Beer-to-be-sold-in-dead-animals.html

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Anonymous Adriaan said...

South African Mampoer and Witblits, up to 80% alcohol according to this article, although I have heard of some reaching into the 90's:

http://food.iafrica.com/happy_hour/988569.htm

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi,

I bought some Snake wine on http://www.asiansnakewine.com/ but they said that they don't want to discount even if I buy 10 bottles, so do you know where i could get better price ? Thank you very much.

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Anonymous Mary said...

Сool,worth a try.

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Anonymous Ilya Genkin said...

I must say that vodka with chilies is actually VERY good. It may looks really scary but it's tasty. I'm actually making it by myself - vodka with chilies and honey. This is the best medicine against cold and flu. Who needs to take pills when you have 100% natural cure?

But anyway guys, drink responsibly... :)

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Blogger zdub said...

Great post, as usual. But there is no such thing as a non-venomous spider (unless they are de-venomed which I doubt.) Maybe you meant non-poisonous to humans?

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Anonymous Bge said...

Stroh 80 (80%) is a famous Austrian rum, famous not only for its strength but also for the tasty rum-raisin ice cream.

You should take care drinking strong alcohol strait up because your lungs could get damaged of fumes or liquid.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

@Brandon, Spirytus is not a vodka and it is not meant to be drunk by people in this form. No wonder u were able to blow fire XD

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Blogger Czarny said...

Yeah but if you really want to be wasted fast and hard the Spirytus is what you need ;d

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Exist a (mostly illegal) drink that contain the most highest level of alcohol. It is used by people that live or work in high altitude places (such a mountain, for example a miner) because the alcohol lose their degreed at some altitude. Though, this drink is mortal at sea level.

Also exist Green Bird (Pajaro Verde), a drink composed by Turpentine and Varnish. If it is incorrectly prepared then it can be mortal.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

This article is INACCURATE. BABY MICE WINE is NOT at all SOLD in Korea. Everyone in the Korea would be grossed out by that. Throughout 23 years that I been in Korea, I've never set my sight upon a such kind of drink nor heard about them. Besides, the label on the bottle is in Chinese, not in Korean. This would be very unsual in Korea. Please verify before you write.

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