Because who wouldn’t want a whiskey with an entire cobra in the bottle? Snake whiskey traces its origins back to traditional Chinese medicine, where it was considered to have important curative and reinvigorating properties. The principle is simple: the entire snake is placed into a bottle of whiskey, which neutralises its venom and absorbs the ‘essence’ of the snake before being drunk. Lovely.
Fun Fact Alert: bottles in which the snake is coiled as if to strike are particularly prized as the snake’s position suggests it was fierce in spirit and will make the drinker fierce in turn!
If this sounds like your cup of tea (or dram of whiskey) snake whiskey can be found across South-East Asia from Vietnam to China, with the Huaxi night market in Taipei particularly renowned for the wide selection of snake spirits on offer.
Ardbeg Space Whisky
Nestled on the remote Scottish island of Islay is the Ardbeg distillery, which has been manufacturing world-famous Scotch for over 200 years. In 2011, Ardbeg decided to do something a tiny bit different and create the world’s first ever space whisky, to find out what effect (if any) a sojourn in outer space had on an unmatured Ardbeg single malt.
Actually, this one is really quite fascinating. A vial of whiskey was sent up to the International Space Station, where it orbited the earth 15 times a day travelling at a mind-boggling 17,277 miles per hour. Meanwhile, an identical vial was kept safely in Scotland at the Ardbeg distillery. The space whisky touched down on earth in Kazakhstan in April 2014 and the two samples were compared. There were very clear differences between the two, with the space sample revealing a unique profile of subtle, smoky flavours never found before in an Ardbeg whisky.
Sadly, just one small vial of Ardbeg whisky made its way into space so there’s currently no way of trying it for yourself… but who knows what the future holds?