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TexasTea

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I thought you guys might enjoy this. I didn't know where to put this, so mods, please feel free to move it or delete it.

On Christmas day, 2005 as I recollect, I was kinda down in the dumps since Christmas in China has about as much meaning as the 4th of July in Dubai. So my Chinese mother in law decided to make me the old family recipie – snake wine.

We went to the stock yards. Me, my wife, mother in law and daughter..What an experience. They had pigs, cats, dogs, horses, chickens, geese and every other thing they eat over here, including snakes. I saw a lady buy a cat. The cat dealer takes the cat out of the cage, whacks it on the head with a stick, and puts in a bag and gives it to the lady. I was speechless.

There were 3 snake dealers. We visited one, but his price was too high, so we went off to the next dealer, and those weren’t the right kind of snakes (they were about 8 feet long, and in a big hole, and looked like pit vipers- copper head looking things). Dealer number 3, didn’t have the right kind of snakes either. Ma Ma was looking for something called "Past The Mountain Snakes".

So we went back to dealer number 1. We agreed on the price and he grabbed a crate, which relieved me, and I thought cool, they are in a crate so maybe they are dead. He pops the lid on the crate and out pop the snakes, and they spread their hoods. I thought hmmmmm, past the mountain snakes means cobras. The dealer asked me, “do you want to grab the snakes or do you want me to?” I replied, hey son, you go right ahead, I will watch.

Well it was the most hilarious thing. I'm watching the guy grab the snakes, my wife , mother in law, daughter are all close behind me. I'd lean in for a closer look (everyone would lean in- in unison). One of the snakes would hiss or spit, and we would all jump back in unison.

The dealer grabs the snakes, one by one and hits their heads on the concrete floor to stun them. I saw one of the snakes next to the guys ankle moving and told my wife, that guy is gonna get bit. My wife replied, “ Oh don’t worry, that guy has killed a lot of snakes. Those snakes are afraid him." I said, yep, he's gonna be saying that in the ambulance, or somebodies gonna say it at his funeral .

He breaks the tail and drains out the blood (snake blood spoils the wine). He throws them in a big jar (7 kgs of snakes) and covers them with 10 kgs of rice wine. I notice the 2 biggest snakes are still moving. In the bottle, and say,”hey those 2 aren't dead yet”

The guy replies- don’t worry they will drown in the wine. . He wraps the jar up in cardboard. We all go back home. A few hours later my wife wants to see the snakes. I say honey, you can't drink the stuff for a year or two, just leave it wrapped up. Well, she was adamant about peeking at the snakes. So I unwrapped the jar, and the two biggest cobras are alive, heads above the wine, banging their heads on the lid trying to get out.

I said Yikes! The buggers are still alive. I thought hmmmmm, they know I'm the reason they are in that jar. I'm thinking they gonna escape and bite the crap out of me.

At that point, said photo was taken (thats me on the outside of the bottle looking in), since I know most people ain't gonna believe I got a jar of wine with 4 dead and 2 live cobras in it.

I spent the next few hours shaking that bottle, so the wine went over those 2 snake heads. I didn’t go to sleep, until they were under that wine, motionless for 30 minutes.

That’s how you get a jar of cobra wine.

Recipie:
7 kgs cobra
10 kgs rice wine
 

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Rish, It tasted fishy, I assume from amines that developed (STEM Major- I was a chemist in a former life). It wasn't a strong taste, but you could taste it. The snake swelled a bit and mama took them out of the wine, took out the intestines and gall bladders (a little green blob). Apparently they wait for the swell, and then remove the organs. I have no idea what she did with the intestines (she may have cooked them up in soup, I dunno. She passed away recently so I can't ask her). But she saved the gall bladders in a little separate jar of rice wine and told me to consume them in a shot of the wine every once in a while, which I did. That wine is considered a medicine and strong juju over there. They say it increases fertility, vitality, longevity, health and is an adaptogen and is an all around tonic. It's pretty well known and expensive over there, I'm guessing those snakes cost about 100USD , mama paid about 800 rmb and it was about 7 or 8 :1 at the time exchange rate.. Thats expensive for a retired Chinese person at the time. It's pretty well known over there.

It took me a couple years, but I finally drank it all. I had to leave it sit for a year or two. They were real adamant about waiting because apparently it takes the venom that long to denature in the alcohol. So poison mutates to adaptogen and tonic over time. If you drink it right away, you die from snake venom.

I've done alot of crazy stuff in my life but that was one of the crazier things,

As for rattlesnakes, I've seen them sold in vodka etc., in TX. Usually its south of the border citizens and Asians buying it.

Now the snake dude vendor and mama both told me that neurotoxic snakes (venom attacks nerves and brain- cobra, coral snake, sea snake yada, yada) make the best, most potent wine (medicine). The hemotoxic snakes (venom attacks blood) like rattlers, copperheads, moccasins don't make as good or potent of a medicine.
 
Great story. I've never made "snake wine," but I'm a big fan of Okinawan snake wine (known as "habushu"). Not sure why they call it "snake wine" when it's just a liqueur. Then again, calling sake "rice wine" is also pretty bizarre since it contains zero fruit and is brewed and fermented in a process more like beer than wine. You can also find some variants or habushu from Southern Kyushu. I've actually got a 2 liter bottle under my sink, though there's barely any left. My favorite kind starts with a base distilled from brown sugar (literally "black sugar" in Japanese), then has the venomous pit vipers ("habu") put in there and aged with a lot of herbs, spices, honey, and stuff like mandarin peels and other citric fruits. It's rather delicious. It apparently takes a while before the alcohol denatures the venom, and I'm not sure what specific flavor in it comes from the vipers themselves. Very delicious, but even most Japanese people are cautious about it since they'll be like "wait, it's made from venomous snakes, right?" Everywhere I see them sold, they try to act like they have properties that are good for your health, but it just seems like folklore to me.

How aged was your snake wine when you drank it? About two years?

Looks like there's a wiki about habushu if you're interested:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Habushu
 
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Great story. I've never made "snake wine," but I'm a big fan of Okinawan snake wine (known as "habushu"). Not sure why they call it "snake wine" when it's just a liqueur. Then again, calling sake "rice wine" is also pretty bizarre since it contains zero fruit and is brewed and fermented in a process more like beer than wine. You can also find some variants or habushu from Southern Kyushu. I've actually got a 2 liter bottle under my sink, though there's barely any left. My favorite kind starts with a base distilled from brown sugar (literally "black sugar" in Japanese), then has the venomous pit vipers ("habu") put in there and aged with a lot of herbs, spices, honey, and stuff like mandarin peels and other citric fruits. It's rather delicious. It apparently takes a while before the alcohol denatures the venom, and I'm not sure what specific flavor in it comes from the vipers themselves. Very delicious, but even most Japanese people are cautious about it since they'll be like "wait, it's made from venomous snakes, right?" Everywhere I see them sold, they try to act like they have properties that are good for your health, but it just seems like folklore to me.

How aged was your snake wine when you drank it? About two years?

Looks like there's a wiki about habushu if you're interested:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Habushu
Thanks worlddivides. I guess snake wine must be a feature of many Asian cultures. The only time I've ever been in Japan was on layovers and never got out of the airport (Narita I think). It was really clean. I was impressed. They said age it a minimum of 1 year but 2 years was better. I waited almost 2 years before drinking any.
 
Thanks worlddivides. I guess snake wine must be a feature of many Asian cultures. The only time I've ever been in Japan was on layovers and never got out of the airport (Narita I think). It was really clean. I was impressed. They said age it a minimum of 1 year but 2 years was better. I waited almost 2 years before drinking any.
It's actually kind of surprising how many countries in Asia make snake wine: China, Japan, Vietnam, Thailand, Korea, Cambodia, Laos, Taiwan, parts of India, and so on and so forth (it's often said that China was the first country to make it several thousand years ago). I'm hardly an expert. Just a fan of the Japanese/Okinawan version. But I'd be interested in learning how much each country's variants differ.
 
Dr. Jeff,

I've seen those little bottles with 1 snake for sale in grocery stores in China and Vietnam back in the day. I've seen them here in Texas with a rattler in place of a cobra.
I' ve never been to Thailand, thanks for letting me know they use it there too.
 
I thought you guys might enjoy this. I didn't know where to put this, so mods, please feel free to move it or delete it.

On Christmas day, 2005 as I recollect, I was kinda down in the dumps since Christmas in China has about as much meaning as the 4th of July in Dubai. So my Chinese mother in law decided to make me the old family recipie – snake wine.

We went to the stock yards. Me, my wife, mother in law and daughter..What an experience. They had pigs, cats, dogs, horses, chickens, geese and every other thing they eat over here, including snakes. I saw a lady buy a cat. The cat dealer takes the cat out of the cage, whacks it on the head with a stick, and puts in a bag and gives it to the lady. I was speechless.

There were 3 snake dealers. We visited one, but his price was too high, so we went off to the next dealer, and those weren’t the right kind of snakes (they were about 8 feet long, and in a big hole, and looked like pit vipers- copper head looking things). Dealer number 3, didn’t have the right kind of snakes either. Ma Ma was looking for something called "Past The Mountain Snakes".

So we went back to dealer number 1. We agreed on the price and he grabbed a crate, which relieved me, and I thought cool, they are in a crate so maybe they are dead. He pops the lid on the crate and out pop the snakes, and they spread their hoods. I thought hmmmmm, past the mountain snakes means cobras. The dealer asked me, “do you want to grab the snakes or do you want me to?” I replied, hey son, you go right ahead, I will watch.

Well it was the most hilarious thing. I'm watching the guy grab the snakes, my wife , mother in law, daughter are all close behind me. I'd lean in for a closer look (everyone would lean in- in unison). One of the snakes would hiss or spit, and we would all jump back in unison.

The dealer grabs the snakes, one by one and hits their heads on the concrete floor to stun them. I saw one of the snakes next to the guys ankle moving and told my wife, that guy is gonna get bit. My wife replied, “ Oh don’t worry, that guy has killed a lot of snakes. Those snakes are afraid him." I said, yep, he's gonna be saying that in the ambulance, or somebodies gonna say it at his funeral .

He breaks the tail and drains out the blood (snake blood spoils the wine). He throws them in a big jar (7 kgs of snakes) and covers them with 10 kgs of rice wine. I notice the 2 biggest snakes are still moving. In the bottle, and say,”hey those 2 aren't dead yet”

The guy replies- don’t worry they will drown in the wine. . He wraps the jar up in cardboard. We all go back home. A few hours later my wife wants to see the snakes. I say honey, you can't drink the stuff for a year or two, just leave it wrapped up. Well, she was adamant about peeking at the snakes. So I unwrapped the jar, and the two biggest cobras are alive, heads above the wine, banging their heads on the lid trying to get out.

I said Yikes! The buggers are still alive. I thought hmmmmm, they know I'm the reason they are in that jar. I'm thinking they gonna escape and bite the crap out of me.

At that point, said photo was taken (thats me on the outside of the bottle looking in), since I know most people ain't gonna believe I got a jar of wine with 4 dead and 2 live cobras in it.

I spent the next few hours shaking that bottle, so the wine went over those 2 snake heads. I didn’t go to sleep, until they were under that wine, motionless for 30 minutes.

That’s how you get a jar of cobra wine.

Recipie:
7 kgs cobra
10 kgs rice wine
I come from China. There are many traditions of making wine with snakes here. Some people even pour snake venom into high concentration Baijiu for direct use. Alcohol can promote the denaturation of snake venom proteins and make snake venom lose its toxicity. Generally, snake wine is helpful for rheumatoid arthritis
 
I come from China. There are many traditions of making wine with snakes here. Some people even pour snake venom into high concentration Baijiu for direct use. Alcohol can promote the denaturation of snake venom proteins and make snake venom lose its toxicity. Generally, snake wine is helpful for rheumatoid arthritis
Hi Douban, welcome to the forum. What part of China are you from? I worked there extensively until late 2016, and still do remote consulting for some firms there. I worked mostly in Guangdong (Guangzhou, Dongguan, Jiangmen) , some in the Shanghai area. But out of all my travels there , I really like Xinjiang the best. It is beautiful out there, Tian Shan, Lake Kanasi etc. I liked Hainan too (Sanya and Haikou).
 
Hi Douban, welcome to the forum. What part of China are you from? I worked there extensively until late 2016, and still do remote consulting for some firms there. I worked mostly in Guangdong (Guangzhou, Dongguan, Jiangmen) , some in the Shanghai area. But out of all my travels there , I really like Xinjiang the best. It is beautiful out there, Tian Shan, Lake Kanasi etc. I liked Hainan too (Sanya and Haikou).
很高兴认识你,teaxstea,我来自山东省临沂市,我去过广东江门鹤山等地区,很遗憾我并没有去过上海,我今年36岁,还是一个比较无知的农民,自己酿酒已经4年了,不过我只是单纯的看书或者通过短视频学习,并没有真正的去读酿造专业,来这里只是为了得到更多的交流机会,希望以后我们多多交流,我会向你们请教更多的问题

Moderator's Note:
^ Per our rules, the carrying language on our forums is English. So, please, post in English.
Google Translate can help where needed.

What you posted above translates to this (per Google Translate):

Nice to meet you, teaxstea. I am from Linyi City, Shandong Province. I have been to Jiangmen, Heshan and other areas in Guangdong. Unfortunately, I have not been to Shanghai. I am 36 years old and a relatively ignorant farmer. I have been making wine for 4 years. , but I just read books or learn through short videos, and did not really major in brewing. I came here just to get more communication opportunities. I hope we can communicate more in the future, and I will ask you more questions.
 
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Shandong, yep I've been there. I liked Qingdao, and worked on a project near Jinan. Do you make baijou (rice wine) or grape wine or both?

I really liked the commercial beer in China much better than the US. Apparently the Germans in the shanghai area had breweries and passed on the art way back when. I used to drink Harbin, Wusu when I could get it, but mostly Zhujiang (pearl river beer) from Guangdong. Tsingtao was good but Zhujiang was a little cheaper.

I have a garden and grow some crops too. I planted a loquat tree for my wife (who is Chinese) so she could enjoy the fruit.

Anyway, its nice to meet you. I'm fairly new to brewing (only on my second batch) but the people here are very helpful with answering questions.
 
Shandong, yep I've been there. I liked Qingdao, and worked on a project near Jinan. Do you make baijou (rice wine) or grape wine or both?

I really liked the commercial beer in China much better than the US. Apparently the Germans in the shanghai area had breweries and passed on the art way back when. I used to drink Harbin, Wusu when I could get it, but mostly Zhujiang (pearl river beer) from Guangdong. Tsingtao was good but Zhujiang was a little cheaper.

I have a garden and grow some crops too. I planted a loquat tree for my wife (who is Chinese) so she could enjoy the fruit.

Anyway, its nice to meet you. I'm fairly new to brewing (only on my second batch) but the people here are very helpful with answering questions.
I'm about 2 hours away from Jinan and 3.5 hours away from Qingdao. It's just a driving situation. If I take the high-speed railway for about 40-60 minutes, although I'm Chinese, I don't like to drink Baijiu or rice wine, but I prefer beer. Since I drank my own brewed Al beer, I rarely continue to try industrial lager beer, but I also drink it occasionally. Harbin, Wusu, and such breweries have been bought by Budweiser. Qingdao Beer seems to be bought by Asahi Beer, at least in my strict sense, they are Sino foreign joint ventures
 
Do you grow your own hops for making beer? If so, what kind of hops? I think they would grow well in Shandong since its about 36 degrees lattitude. Do you grow your own barley for making beer?

I am trying to grow hops here but they aren't doing great because I'm too far south at about 30 degrees lattitude. My wife said her mother used to make beer in China. Do a lot of Chinese people make their own beer?
 
Do you grow your own hops for making beer? If so, what kind of hops? I think they would grow well in Shandong since its about 36 degrees lattitude. Do you grow your own barley for making beer?

I am trying to grow hops here but they aren't doing great because I'm too far south at about 30 degrees lattitude. My wife said her mother used to make beer in China. Do a lot of Chinese people make their own beer?
I don't grow hops by myself, because the consumption of flowers is too large. If I plant hops by myself, it is likely that my place is not enough for me to brew and use, and it seems that China can't find so many varieties of hops, most of them are locally made flowers, which may need to be purchased in Xinjiang. Shandong has many malt processing factories, and I have made malt myself, but the actual finished products and the amount of money bought are almost the same. Online shopping in China is relatively easy. Generally, people can buy malt or hops particles within 24-48 hours. Brewing beer is a minority in China, and Baijiu is brewed a lot, but I don't like to drink Baijiu
 
I find the whole concept of dead animal essence in a beverage revolting af :oops:
There is a kind of insect soaking in Baijiu soaking, that is, male semen and high concentration Baijiu. Chinese people generally believe that this kind of thing can strengthen the body and enhance their sexual function, but 80% of people think it will have a good effect when they drink it. Chinese medicine soaking wine is a work with a long history and many varieties in China. Soaking wine can really treat or relieve a lot of pain. As for sex, it is really effective
 
I'm curious how you found anything regarding race, sex, or national origin in my statement.

Or did you misunderstand the "shrink" reference?
"Shrink" as in a mental health professional, psychiatrist? As in anyone who enjoys "snake wine" should have their head examined?

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Snake_wine

Snake wine (Chinese: 蛇酒; pinyin: shé-jiǔ; Vietnamese: rượu rắn; Khmer: ស្រាពស់, sra poas) is an alcoholic beverage produced by infusing whole snakes in rice wine or grain alcohol. The drink was first recorded to have been consumed in China during the Western Zhou dynasty (c. 1040–770 BC) and believed in folklore to reinvigorate a person according to Traditional Chinese medicine.[2] It can be found in China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, North Korea, Goa (India), Vietnam, Okinawa (Japan), Laos, Thailand, Cambodia and throughout Southeast Asia.

I guess I could compare it to saying "Anyone who likes kimchi needs a shrink exam, stat."
 
I'm curious how you found anything regarding race, sex, or national origin in my statement.

Or did you misunderstand the "shrink" reference?
Some people misunderstand the idea of racist statements. Some believe disliking anything that is normal in other cultures is racist. For example, I find the idea of buying a cat that has just had its head beat in so I can use it in a soup extremely revolting, but I understand it's fine in other cultures.i know you also know this, but I'm trying to clarify it for others.
 
Some people misunderstand the idea of racist statements. Some believe disliking anything that is normal in other cultures is racist. For example, I find the idea of buying a cat that has just had its head beat in so I can use it in a soup extremely revolting, but I understand it's fine in other cultures.i know you also know this, but I'm trying to clarify it for others.
There's a pretty big difference between saying, "I don't like kimchi" or "I don't like sushi" or "I don't like snake wine" and "If you like kimchi/sushi/snake wine, there's something wrong with you and you need to get your head checked." Whether it's, as I said, "kinda racist" or just an absurd and over-the-top statement doesn't really change my point. Though, in this specific case, you couldn't really say "I don't like X" if you haven't even tried it before. And I am aware that some people do thoughtlessly make rather extreme expressions, even for things they've never personally tried before.
 
Chinese medicine soaking wine is a work with a long history and many varieties in China. Soaking wine can really treat or relieve a lot of pain. As for sex, it is really effective
This is so true. My sifu (kungfu teacher) showed me how to make "dit da jow" (hit hard wine- I think that may be cantonese) when I was doing iron palm/iron bell training many decades ago. It was a collection of herbs soaked in vodka that you would rub on your fists, forearms, shins, ribs, feet etc. after striking increasingly hard materials over many years to mitigate the damage and strengthen the body. Some of the herbs were poisonous and it was for external use only. It was pretty strong stuff. I'm sure you are familiar with that kind of soaking wine.
 
This is so true. My sifu (kungfu teacher) showed me how to make "dit da jow" (hit hard wine- I think that may be cantonese) when I was doing iron palm/iron bell training many decades ago. It was a collection of herbs soaked in vodka that you would rub on your fists, forearms, shins, ribs, feet etc. after striking increasingly hard materials over many years to mitigate the damage and strengthen the body. Some of the herbs were poisonous and it was for external use only. It was pretty strong stuff. I'm sure you are familiar with that kind of soaking wine.
You may be talking about safflower oil, which is soaked in saffron. It has a good effect on injuries caused by bruises, blood circulation and blood stasis. There is also a strong liquor soaked in scorpions, an arthropod. It has a good effect on joint pain caused by waist injuries. My mother has some back pain and waist pain. We went to the Chinese medicine market to buy some herbs and soaked them in high concentration Baijiu. We drink 40-50 ml every day, which has a good effect on her pain. We have to admire our traditional culture
 
This is so true. My sifu (kungfu teacher) showed me how to make "dit da jow" (hit hard wine- I think that may be cantonese) when I was doing iron palm/iron bell training many decades ago. It was a collection of herbs soaked in vodka that you would rub on your fists, forearms, shins, ribs, feet etc. after striking increasingly hard materials over many years to mitigate the damage and strengthen the body. Some of the herbs were poisonous and it was for external use only. It was pretty strong stuff. I'm sure you are familiar with that kind of soaking wine.
What you're talking about is Chinese liquor{跌打酒} Although I don't understand Cantonese very well, I can tell from your pronunciation that this wine is what I mean by safflower oil. Although it is made of wine, we call it oil, like soy sauce
 

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