Snake Wine

image I belong to the wine club of a local Southern California vineyard, but although they've sent me some nice merlots, chardonnays, etc., they have yet to send me any snake wine. Although I just found out about this stuff myself, evidently it's quite real, and fairly well known... at least in south-east Asia, where it's predominantly found. Snake wine consists of rice wine mixed with (you guessed it!) snake. You buy it in bottles with the snake coiled up inside (here's a picture). Very pleasant. Reportedly, the more venomous the snake, the better the wine. For a more in-depth account of snake wine, check out this article by Jerry Hopkins where he describes visiting the Snake King & Completely Restaurant in Guangzhou and sampling not only snake wine but also Five Testes & Penises Wine. (via Mostly Harmless)


Posted on Tue Aug 31, 2004


This is absolutely true. I have seen snake and penis wine in China with my own two eyes. it is thought to make men more virile
Posted by a guy  in  USA  on  Tue Aug 31, 2004  at  04:42 PM
Wow, and I thought the worm in Mescal was heavy....
Posted by Paul  on  Tue Aug 31, 2004  at  05:39 PM
Snake wine is certainly real-- the consumption of snakes/snake blood/snake organs is a well-known practice in many Asian (and a few non-Asian) cultures.

However, I suspect that the "snake in a bottle" photos shown are embelishments of the truth. The skin which makes up the hood of the cobras depicted on the bottles (Naja sp.) is very loose, and the hood will collapse when the snake releases muscle/vascular pressure. (In other words, non-agitated and dead cobras do not show their hoods.) I find it highly unlikely that the snakes were somehow preserved in a hooded state and then put in the bottles.
Posted by Andy  on  Tue Aug 31, 2004  at  11:56 PM
I once bought a couple of bottles of some Chinese spirit with lizards in them - the lizards were about ten inces long, and guttet although the rest of the flesh was intact. The spirit itself was pretty much like a schnapps or something - just a clear spirit - so it was quite evident that what flavour there was came from the lizards.

It was quite nice actually - after the first glass or two, anyway. (A chinese friend of mine almost died laughing though - he said it meant I'd be a 'real man' and that it was usually drunk by old men... so draw your own conclusions:))
Posted by Paul in Prague  in  Czech Republic  on  Wed Sep 01, 2004  at  06:40 AM
The pictures of snake wine are authentic. I bought a similar bottle in Vietnam last year. I can't tell how the cobra's hood is made to stand up or how it was got into the bottle for that matter.

I also had Seahorse wine in Vietnam which is apparantly good for ths spine.
Posted by Mike  on  Wed Sep 01, 2004  at  11:22 AM
All products made from seahorses are now illegal in international trade and in those countries subscribing to CITES (the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species). Seahorses are seriously threatened worldwide and I beg anyone reading this not to patronize any trade in seahorse bodies or seahorse parts for alleged medical or decorative or any other purpose.
Posted by Big Gary C  in  Dallas, Texas  on  Wed Sep 01, 2004  at  02:07 PM
Having lived in China for the past 2 1/2 years I can say that snake wine is very real, and not really that bad either. There is a 'social' club that I belong to in Shekou that makes you drink two heavy shots of the stuff to become a member, but my fondest memory of it was when we ordered a live king snake for dinner in Shenzhen. They gut the snake in front of you and then serve the gall bladder in a large shot of snake wine. You have to understand that the king snkae we got was a good 6 feet, so the gall bladder was of decent size - it took a lot of throat coaxing to get it down. While it did not have a hallucenigenic effect I can say that an hour later I was REALLY horny!
Posted by Jimbo  in  China  on  Thu Sep 02, 2004  at  12:36 AM
Let's all start drinking snakes, elephant tusks, tigers, and mini monkeys from Brazil.
Posted by Robbert  on  Thu Sep 02, 2004  at  03:22 AM
Actually i remember reading an articale about a guy that would throw a rattlesnake into his homemade tequila about 2 years ago.
Posted by Jared  on  Thu Sep 02, 2004  at  02:35 PM
Great idea, Robbert.
Posted by john  in  NH  on  Fri Sep 03, 2004  at  11:25 AM
So snake wine is no snake oil. Sorry, couldn't resist cheese
Posted by Isaac  on  Thu Sep 30, 2004  at  08:36 AM
I had no knowledge of snake wine, but it is common to see some sort of liquor with a lizard inside the bottle on chinese restaurants here in Portugal. Usually only the chinese costumers drink it... smile
Posted by corax  on  Mon Oct 04, 2004  at  08:20 AM
It's called "Mam" after the mamushi snake (a Japanese version of a copperhead).
Posted by Tralfaz  on  Wed Jan 26, 2005  at  07:38 PM
We do that in france to with liquor. My dad's friend makes it himself. He has a couple of good ones. It hhas no particular taste tho, they stave the "beast" for a week before putting it in the bottle alive and it drunks itself to death...
Posted by Akashka  on  Fri Jan 28, 2005  at  05:13 AM
I have a bottle of snake wine. It has a cobra in it with another snake in it's mouth. Never been opened & supposd to be from the 60's. It's for sale if anyone is interested.
Posted by dthompson  in  paducah ky. U.S.A.  on  Sat Feb 05, 2005  at  03:23 PM
How can I buy Snake wines
Posted by Rene Marquez  in  Chicago Illinois  on  Sun Feb 20, 2005  at  09:52 PM
dthompson how much are you asking for that Snake wine and were are you located at. this is my e-mail .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) I will buy all the wine bottles but let me know how much first
Posted by Rene Perez  in  Chicago Illinois  on  Sun Feb 20, 2005  at  09:56 PM
CALL ME AT 708-799-3410
Posted by Rene Perez  in  Chicago ILLINOIS 708-799-3410  on  Sun Feb 20, 2005  at  09:59 PM
hi, reading all your comments is there anybody out there that would like to sell their bottle of snake/lizard or any other animal wine to me please, i am contactable at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) if you can, many thanks
Posted by Barrie Vardon  in  uk  on  Sun Jun 12, 2005  at  01:34 PM
Posted by ebay auction  on  Mon Oct 10, 2005  at  09:32 PM

Anybody interested in snake wine can contact me and/or check on ebay where I sometimes put an auction. But if no auction I always keep a bottle in advance that I could sell to you.

Posted by Frank  on  Sun Oct 30, 2005  at  12:56 PM
You can contact me at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)
Posted by Frank  on  Sun Oct 30, 2005  at  01:02 PM
I just had some bujiu a few hours ago. This one had deer antler in it, but there were a half dozen bottles. Some had snakes, some had clams, some had these big flying lizards. It tasted like a combo of vodka and pearl river water. But it was only 30rmb for a jug with 9 shots.
Posted by matt  in  shanghai  on  Sun Mar 12, 2006  at  07:02 AM
Snake wine still available...
Posted by  on  Mon Mar 13, 2006  at  12:33 PM
I have a bottle of snake wine a cobra with a scorpion in it's mouth a friend was just in Vietnam and brought back several bottles.
Posted by Scott  in  Bradenton,Fl  on  Tue Jul 18, 2006  at  12:31 PM
My in-laws are Asian and they got it on a trip to Vietnam. The Cobra is put into the bottle and then teased until it stands and flares. Then the rice wine is added or some other liquor, until the snake dies. In the dead state the snake muscles tighten, causing the snake to release the venom and maintain its composure. You only are supposed to have a cap full once a day. When I drank it, I felt my heart start to burn after 5 minutes and then the burning shot through my whole body. It was intense.
Posted by wade  in  Minneapolis  on  Wed Sep 06, 2006  at  11:51 AM
I just got the bottle I ordered on the snake wine website, very nice.
Posted by Steffi  in  Canada  on  Sat Mar 24, 2007  at  04:30 PM
I have a bottle of this snake wine. "Real speciality Of Vietnam" Usage Rheumatism, Lumbago, Sweat Of Limbs
Got it from my sister who was over in Vietnam 7 years ago. I have had it on my book shelf since then. Should either be pretty strong or weak, any one have any suggestions?
Posted by Nick  in  Illinois  on  Fri May 04, 2007  at  07:36 PM
I own one of these bottles. cobra with hood open and green tree snake in its mouth. Real as can be. And no, I don't want to sell it or drink it.
Posted by Dave  on  Tue Jun 12, 2007  at  02:13 PM
BTW - I hear it is now illegal to import these bottles of snake wine to the US - since 1998. See Wikepdia. true?
Posted by Dave  on  Tue Jun 12, 2007  at  02:16 PM
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