Habu Sake

Just take a look at this tasty beverage

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That reptile staring back at you is the Habu, otherwise known as an Okinawan Pit Viper, and the deadliest snake on this island. It makes sense of course, then, that someone would want to drink liquor with one fermented in it. Americans call the drink ‘Habu Sake’, which is really a misnomer since Sake is the rice wine and this liquor is Awamori, which I refer to as “rice whiskey”. Awamori is distilled so its anywhere from 30 to 50 percent alcohol. I bought (and finished) two bottles, and they both still had that almost buttery taste that Sake has, but with a burn that is between whiskey and rocket fuel. Needless to say, I kind of liked it.

Locals call the drink Habushu (translation: liquor of Habu snake). From what I’ve read online, there are two methods to insert the Habu snake. Both are pretty brutal. The first is by placing the snake in the bottle and filling it with the alcohol, thereby drowning the snake. The second is by putting the snake on ice until it goes unconscious. The snake’s organs are removed and the blood is drained, and then the snake is put in a bottle with alcohol. The snake will gradually thaw out and awaken, but die quickly because some dud just took out his organs and blood, and so dies in a pissed off aggressive pose. The pose is a desired aspect of the bottling.

Okinawans believed (and continue to) that the Habushu provides energy and long life, along with fighting impotency. While I’m not concerned with impotence, I am very interested in taking one of these bottles home.

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