Bugs In Booze


We’re used to dealing with pests in lots of strange places, but in your cocktail? It’s not as odd as you might think, though. We have found some weird and wonderful drinks from around the globe, all of which contain household pests. So it’s with great pleasure, and mild bemusement, we bring you our compendium of thirst-quenching (and some stomach-turning) refreshments.


Tequila wormTequila

The tequila worm was introduced as a marketing gimmick in the 1950′s. The worm is actually moth larvae otherwise known as the increasingly sought after agave worm which lives in the blue agave plant from which tequila is made. If one of them lands in your glass, you’ve supposed to down it!


Snake Wine

Snake wine By therefromhere on FlickrBackpackers who’ve visited Vietnam or Thailand may have come across snake wine. It’s an important part of traditional Chinese medicine, having been around since at least 770BC, and it is apparently good for curing all kind of disorders, from back pain to hair loss to impotence.

It’s made by placing whole venomous snakes in rice wine, with the idea being that the intact snake will infuse the alcohol with its power. The wine is safe to drink as the alcohol breaks down the proteins in the venom.


Scorpion Vodka

Scorpion-vodka-150x150[1]Apparently adding to the flavour, the scorpion is infused in vodka for at least three months.  Not only that, but these farm-raised scorpions have had their venom removed, to make them safe for human consumption. Which is to say, you can eat the scorpions after you’ve drunk the vodka. Hmmm… I wonder if they are chewy?



Baby Mice Wine

Mous-wine-150x150[1]If you’ve got this far through the list, you can probably believe there is a wine that contains mice. This wine, popular in China and Korea, is made by stuffing mice into rice wine. As with many of the drinks in this list, it supposedly has medicinal powers, but the only reason I’d drink it is if it gave me superpowers. But even then, I don’t think I would try it.



Lizard Wine

Lizard-wine-150x150[1]Another drink hailing from Asia, this peculiarity apparently helps improve eyesight. Personally, I thought carrots did something similar, and they are far less nauseating. Unsurprisingly, the gekkos are stuffed in – you guessed it – rice wine. China has exported this product for centuries, so maybe there’s something to all this “pests in alcohol” related drinks.



‘The End of History’ beer with squirrels and stoats

End-of-History-150x150[1]Okay, this one’s not quite the same because instead of a squirrel in your beer, you get your beer in a squirrel.  Produced in a now sold-out limited run of 12 bottles by Scottish company BrewDog, this blond Belgian ale, called The End of History is unbelievably potent (55% ABV).  BrewDog categorically states the stuffed squirrels or stoats were all road-kill victims.


Green Tree Ant Larvae Drink

The Aborigines of North Queensland used to mash up ant larvae with water to form a refreshing drink that was used to treat headaches and colds. The potion could also be used as an antiseptic.


So, there you have it.  A run-down of pests pickled in booze or mashed-up for medicinal purposes. But bug hunters beware – lots of red or orange drinks contain carmine – a colouring made from beetles. Bottoms-up!

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  1. Keith
    Posted November 12, 2010 at 8:47 pm | Permalink

    I’d have to be drunk first to drink that stuff, yuck…….

  2. Arnie
    Posted November 13, 2010 at 12:40 am | Permalink

    I will avoid bars from now on , for sure!! lol

  3. freibooter
    Posted November 15, 2010 at 3:13 pm | Permalink

    “The tequila worm was introduced as a marketing gimmick in the 1950’s.”

    No, it wasn’t.

    To quote Wikipedia:

    The worm

    It is a common misconception that some tequilas contain a “worm” in the bottle. Only certain mezcals, usually from the state of Oaxaca, are ever sold con gusano, and that only began as a marketing gimmick in the 1940s. The worm is actually the larval form of the moth Hypopta agavis, which lives on the agave plant. Finding one in the plant during processing indicates an infestation and, correspondingly, a lower quality product.

  4. Posted November 15, 2010 at 4:50 pm | Permalink

    Sources vary on the exact date of the introduction of the ‘worm’ but if you are feeling brave sample Mezcal Beneva (www.mezcalbeneva.com/mezcal1.html). The factory homes 2.5 million pickled worms!

  5. Posted March 3, 2011 at 5:41 pm | Permalink

    I don’t think I’ll ever try any of these beverages!

  6. chris
    Posted August 22, 2011 at 12:35 am | Permalink

    i know the alchol makes the snake venom harmless but what dose it do with other types of venom. i here scorpion venom when mixed with tequila can produce halucanaginic reactions. of course there isn’t any legal brand with such effects. i just wonder if it’s true. you never know with chemical reactions. as far as the snake wine gose i think i might order some for a party, only no one can see the inside because they would spue every where.

  7. Jason
    Posted August 2, 2012 at 4:11 am | Permalink

    It’s a myth that alcohol breaks down snake and scorpion venom. Snake and scorpion venoms are generally safe to drink – the proteins are broken down in the stomach. Exceptions apply to people with stomach or mouth ulcers – which allow the venom to pass directly into the bloodstream.

    What makes it worse if you are envenomed while drinking is that the liver is the one that detoxifies both alcohol and venom, and alcohol will compete with venom for detoxification, lengthening the half life of the venom.

    Did you guys read anything before preparing this article?

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