Despite all of our differencesâ€”ethnic, religious, geographical, politicalâ€”the one thing that binds us human beings together as a species is our need to get drunk. From the dawn of time, almost every culture all over the world has figured out ingenious and (sometimes) tasty ways to make (and ingest) alcoholic beverages.
Today, certain methods for making alcoholic beverages have become well-established and, therefore, â€œnormal.â€ But although whiskey, vodka, and rum may be liquor cabinet standards, they are not the only forms of booze out there.
Today we celebrate the â€œalternative spirits.â€ So here is a list of 9 of the strangest liquors, liqueurs, and spirits youâ€™ll ever find.
9. Cynar (Artichoke Liquor)
I thought grappa was the weirdest liquor they made in Italyâ€”thatâ€™s made from the skins, pulp, seeds, and stems that are left over after they make wine. Itâ€™s pretty pungent. But then I came across Cynar, which is booze made by fermenting artichokes. I donâ€™t know how it tastes, but it sounds…uh…delightful.
Whatever. What we know for sure is that the stuff is made from sugar cane, birch bark, black tea leaves, wintergreen, cinnamon, and cardamom. So this is an 80-proof liquor that really packs some punch.
7. Pulque (Mexian Aloe Liquor)
Also sometimes called octli, pulque is a thick milk-colored booze made from the fermented sap of maguey (aka aloe) plants in Mexico. It dates back to the 15th and 16th centuries and just goes to show that, no matter where in the world humans live and no matter what the resources available to them, they will find a way to get drunk.
Why? For the novelty. They only sell it in shot-sized 70mL bottles or slightly larger 250mL bottles.
As for the scorpions inside, they are said to give the booze a â€œwoodyâ€ taste, and have supposedly been â€œpurifiedâ€â€”meaning they are safe to (make freshmen pledging your fraternity) eat.
5. Mamajuana (aka â€œDominican Viagaraâ€)
No word on what this stuff was nicknamed before Viagara existed, but as you can guess from the moniker, itâ€™s supposed to make you quite virile. Itâ€™s a spirit made from a mix of herbs, sticks, and woodâ€”sounds tasty, right?â€”that are soaked in wine, rum, and honey for several weeks.
If anyone reading this out there in internetland has tried the stuff, please chime in and let us all know if it works.
4. Kierewiet Liqueur (Pot Booze)
Iâ€™m sure anyone whoâ€™s made a marijuana-seeking pilgrimage to Amsterdam has come across this stuff. Itâ€™s made from cannabis, is bright green, and is 14.5% alcohol by volume. I havenâ€™t had it myself, but if I had to guess Iâ€™d say it tastes â€œearthy.â€
If youâ€™re doing the math on that, then youâ€™ve figured out that this stuff is basically used to make alcoholic smoothies. Which is a good idea, but why not skip the importation of fancy European alcoholic yogurt and just add vodka to a regular smoothie?
2. Smoked Salmon Vodka
For some reason, the Alaska Distillery decided to make a vodka infused with the distinctive flavor of smoked salmon. As you can see from the photo, the makers suggest using it in Bloody Marys. But tomato juice and vodka is already an acquired taste. I think smoked salmon flavored vodka would just make it worse.
1. Baby Mice Wine
Baby mice wine is no joke. In certain parts of Korea (the creepy parts, I imagine), there is a tradition of making this delightful beverage by placing 3-day old baby mice in a bottle of rice wine and letting them ferments for a year or two. And yes, then they drink it.
Why? Itâ€™s supposed to be a magic elixir thatâ€™ll cure anything. Obviously.