"Ask Beau" February 2005
Chris A. from cyberspace (no location given) asks "Do you sell Habu Sake?"
I selected this question as it has arisen several times in the "Ask Beau" question machine. Chris the answer is No! For several reasons. The first being that Habu Sake is not sake at all. Well then what is it? Habu is one of four venomous snakes found in Okinawa prefecture. The sake they refer to is actually a distilled rice beverage (Awamori) very similar to shochu. Put together and you get a "snake in the glass". Habu Sake originally came from China and the thought was that the venom of a snake had medicinal qualities. Many believe that Habu Sake is an aphrodisiac or a stamina enhancer, and perhaps with 19 special Amino Acids found in snake flesh and venom this could be true. Think of Tequila with the worm, and you have the proper image. The cheaper Habu Sake just has venom added to it, whilst the more expensive has the entire snake in the bottle. To make Habu Sake they take a snake and place it 95% alcohol to embalm it. After a month of soaking the snake is transferred into a 59% alcohol blend for 50 days, and followed by its final resting place in a 35% alcohol distilled rice fluid that is steeped in local Okinawa herbs. The ultimate goal is to have the snake in a recoiled position, mouth wide open, ready to strike. In all honesty Chris I have heard of more negative experiences than positive ones when people speak of this Okinawa treat.
Please send your sake specific questions to askbeau2 @ truesake.com. (This address is not for general questions and I only review the questions once per month. All correspondence should use info @ truesake.com.)