Or Habushu as it’s originally known is said to have special qualities. Some claim medicinal properties others claim it’s a type of aphrodisiac. A type of liquor called Awamori, similar to Shochu but originating in Okinawa, is first mixed with herbs and honey to give it is flavour and colour, then a pit viper is submerged in the jar and thereby drowned.
The server came to our table with about 6 juice glasses and promptly filled each one up with a ladle. We all ceremoniously raised our glasses and cheers and then gulped this disgusting liquid back. I don’t know what’s worse, the smell, the taste, the burning in your throat or the fact that some poor snake drowned in there. The benefits? A temporary raspy voice and a major buzz.
You can see how dangerously low the liquid is getting. I wouldn’t want to be the next set of patrons to order snake juice. But if you’re interested in trying this golden liquid don’t let my opinion dissuade you. Remember, medicinal powers AND an aphrodisiac, what’s to lose. I’m sure there’s a bevy of Japanese restaurants where you can find this delicious beverage, we were at Tokkuri-Tei on Kapahulu. The food was great and they’re open late!
Photos courtesy of Heidi Zumbrun