I’m back at it after a few weeks of eating and drinking my way across Southeast Asia.  I was hoping to sample many curious liquors, but as the temperatures and humidity were oppressive, and ice safety was questionable at best, I mostly just drank a lot of local beers.

That said, I did come across a few fun spirits, like snake wine, for example. Despite the name, snake wine is actually a distilled spirit, rather than a wine. The booze is produced by infusing whole snakes in alcohol, creating a fearsome beverage indeed, as pictured.  Vietnamese locals assured me that snake wine promotes health and virility. I sure hope so, because it tastes like gamey grain alcohol.

Other local liquors included plenty of rice whiskeys, a few locally produced vodkas and rums and Mekhong, the official spirit of Thailand.  Otherwise, the standards were readily available at most bars, with a seeming predilection for Johnny Walker, which was everywhere.  Surprising—to me, at least—was the availability of Fernet Branca, which found space on the shelves of several bars in Vietnam and Thailand.

It was difficult to go thirsty in SE Asia, where the booze flows like water (probably in part because the water’s often unsafe for visitors to drink).  All in all – great trip, great food and great drinks.

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Ed Bell
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Want to read the latest exploits and insights into Asian Snake Wine

http://smokesandbooze.blogspot.com/2011/10/yes-we-can-have-more-on-asiansnakewine.html

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