If you have been a diehard fan of Edward Michael Grylls, popular as Bear Grylls, have religiously followed Man vs. Wild, and read all his books, Mud, Sweat and Tears etc., you have clicked on the right link. This is where we introduce you to something so bizarre, that you might just back out in five seconds. But let me guess, you like challenges and this has got you sufficiently intrigued. Bear with us.
You have surely known for some time now that the street food of several Southeast Asian nations are often just different kinds of reptiles, worms, and bugs among other things. To be honest, while mostly it intimidates us, the very thought of putting a beetle in the mouth is nevertheless intriguing. We are the people who cannot contain the curiosity and are borderline experimental with things, particularly food and beverage. We are among those who believe that life is too short and we must make the most of it through learning and diverse experiences. Now, if you happen to swear by this too, snake liquor is going to be the next big thing in your life. I mean, we are way past oysters, squids, and octopuses anyway.
The obvious thing that you are wondering now is what snake liquor even is. If you have gathered a vague idea of what Tequila worm is, this is just a supreme version of it. I mean imagine a beautiful bottle of whisky with a cobra inside it! While a lot of people wouldn’t find this aesthetically pleasing, some of us actually think it is unique. But let’s be fair, although it is gaining a lot of popularity now, cobra whisky is nearly ancient. In fact, historical records show that cobra whisky and other kinds of snake liquor were first consumed during the Western Zhou dynasty in China. Till date, it is believed that Cobra whisky is a potential aphrodisiac and has medicinal properties to cure muscular pain or reinvigorate a person. That aside, a number of people believe it is a marketing gimmick to put a farm bred cobra inside a bottle. A few local brands from Laos and Vietnam also put a scorpion inside the mouth of the snake to make it appear deadlier than it already did.
The question that arises is if it is really safe to consume cobra whisky and if so, how it really tastes. Since a lot of people have vouched for it, our guess is that the high alcohol quotient balances the cobra venom. The rest is just a decomposing snake and perhaps a scorpion which is adding flavour to the whisky. However, let us remind you that snake liquor is locally crafted, meaning that there aren’t any international brands producing the cobra whisky. This also means you are basically relying on the expertise of whisky makers who aren’t often professionally trained and their methods and knowledge vary from region to region. (And trust us when we say this, they can go awry.) Since the recipe is probably handed down over generations with little modifications here and there, in an attempt to make the whisky more potent, there will always be a chance of alcohol poisoning, and to be honest it has happened before. Now we are not trying to scare you. Try cobra whisky by all means, but find a reliable source, preferably from a store which is popular.
As for the taste, people who have had it say it has notes of soy, ginger, sesame, and hot pepper. Cobra whisky is heavy fish saucy on the nose and palate, with a long, disturbingly hot finish. Several people and organizations have objected to the trade of cobra whisky as it is jeopardizing the natural balance of the planet. That apart, it is cruel to put a live cobra inside a bottle and pour burning hot rice whisky with ginseng roots and seed pods in order to make them expand their hood and open their mouth. But if you are not a conservationist, it won’t prick your conscience, so all is fair. Also, cobra whisky is highly neurotoxic, consuming a small quantity is a safer bet.