Year of the Snake


Happy New Year, readers. It’s the Year of the Snake and what better way to celebrate than a little post on Snake Wine.

In south China – and much of Southeast Asia – snakes are all the rage. Snake wine is typically a steeped alcohol, or paojiu, but it’s also a yaojiu or yingyangjiu (health alcohol) . . . or whatever. It all comes to the same thing: a big jar of alcohol filled with scary looking snakes.

It’s from Chinese snake wine and assorted slithery ointments that we get the American expression snake oil salesman, meaning seller of medical quackery. But joke’s on America. Chinese water snakes are loaded with omega-3 fatty acids, so they’re healthful after all. Who’d have thunk it.

So how does one get their hands on snake wine? Well, you can order it online (this site says they’ll give me free snake wine if I mention them in my blog, so consider it mentioned) or buy it from your friendly neighborhood snake vintner,[1] but most people elect to make it themselves. There are two methods for this.

Method 1: Steeping

  1. First you’re going to need to find a shitload of baijiu (rice baijiu is advised, but any baijiu will do).
  2. Take a snake, preferably a dead snake, and drop it in the baijiu.
  3. Let sit for several hours, days, months or years. Steep to taste.
  4. If you suffer from joint pain, headaches, soreness, anxiety, shortness of attention, apathy, cultural insensitivity or apoplexy drink the snake wine.
  5. If that doesn’t work, drink more snake wine. Or just kind of like break off a piece of snake and chew on it for a while.
  6. If you are still experiencing consciousness, put down the snake wine.

Method 2: Hardcore Leonardo-Di-muthafuckin-Caprio-in-The-Beach Method

  1. Surround yourself with screaming, shirtless Southeast Asian stereotypes. The closer you get to the end of Deer Hunter, the better.
  2. Cut the gall bladder out of a live snake. Step 1 should make this easier.
  3. Squeeze bile into a glass half-filled with baijiu.
  4. Drink in one gulp, slam glass on the table with a savage, sub-human scream.

Pro-tip: Repeating steps 1-4 several times may make The Beach watchable.

That’s all for now. Back to more heavy drinking with heavy artillery (read: shitty Chinese fireworks). Just hope that I don’t do a follow up post for the Year of the Horse.

Disclaimer: 300 Shots has never attempted to make snake wine, and does not recommend you actually try making your own snake wine. Liability for any death related to snake bite, alcohol poisoning, or any complications related to the manufacture or consumption of snake wine will be adjudicated in accordance with Murphy’s Law. We accept no responsibility. As the Indian in Natural Born Killers says: “Look, bitch, you knew I was a snake.”

[1] Though snake wine salespeople are easier to find in China, I can’t help but suspect that some Brooklyn hipster will soon have the New York artisanal snake wine market cornered.

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