The 29 Most Exotic Alcohols Worldwide That Are Worth Trying
We all know that wine comes from grapes, and whiskey is made with grains. But have you ever tried a spirit distilled from rice or one that allegedly has medicinal attributes? How about those with dead animals in them?
If you're feeling adventurous, why not explore some of the world's most exotic spirits? This blog post will explore drinks ranging from obscure with unusual ingredients to rare wines from far-off places.
Without further ado, here are some of the most eccentric and jaw-dropping alcoholic beverages!
Most Controversial: Absinthe (Switzerland)
Absinthe is a distilled, highly alcoholic beverage. It is typically green or yellow and flavored with herbs, including wormwood, fennel, hyssop, and anise. It originated in Switzerland in the late 18th century and quickly became popular in France.
In the 19th century, absinthe was nicknamed "la fée verte" and was associated with bohemian culture. It also became known for its purported hallucinogenic effects. With this, absinthe was banned in most countries in the early 20th century due to fears about its properties.
Before, absinthes were redistilled from eau de vie, and lower-quality absinthes were made from alcohols derived from grain, beets, or potatoes. Today, many craft distillers are brewing absinthes from various unique base spirits.
Absinthe's alcohol content is about 45-90%. Because of this, people usually don't drink it straight. Instead, it is diluted with water or mixed with other ingredients to create absinthe cocktails.
Origin: Switzerland | ABV: 45%-90% | Tasting Notes: Black licorice with hints of anise and fennel and bitterness from wormwood
Advocaat is a liqueur from the Netherlands, but in Germany, they call it Eierlikör. It is known to be thick and creamy and tastes like custard, similar to eggnog.
Most of the time, it has brandy as its base and is mixed with egg yolks and a large amount of granulated sugar. Some producers like to throw some spices into the mix for heightened complexity.
Legend says that the Advocaat might just be a renamed form of the Dutch word for avocado. It is also believed that the original recipe for Advocaat uses avocados and is made by people from Suriname and Recife. Advocaat made with eggs came to be because avocados in the Netherlands were scarce before.
One can find Advocaat around English-speaking countries. It is usually 15% ABV, but in some parts of Europe, they make it 40-proof. You can drink it alone, but some prefer mixing it to make cocktails. Snowball and Fluffy Duck are great examples.
Origin: Netherlands | ABV: 14%–20% | Tasting Notes: Smooth, creamy, or custard-like
Agwa de Bolivia Shots - Image by Pinterest
Agwa de Bolivia, or just Agwa, is a herbal liqueur manufactured in Amsterdam by BABCO Europe Ltd. It is prepared from coca leaves harvested in Bolivia with about 36 natural ingredients, such as ginseng and green tea.
The coca leaf of this alcoholic beverage is free of cocaine alkaloids and safe to consume. In fact, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, European Union Narcotics Commission, and TTB have all consented to the consumption of this drink.
The coca leaves are exclusively sourced from the Andes, about 2,000 meters above sea level, protected by armed guards, and delivered safely to Amsterdam, where they are produced.
Agwa comes off as sweet-tasting with herbal notes such as anise and caraway, along with others. You'll notice hints of mint and chili as you get close to the finish. Agwa's blended herbs and botanicals make it an exceptional and flavorful drink, perfect for mixing for homemade cocktails.
Origin: Amsterdam | ABV: 30% | Tasting Notes: Sweet, citrusy with floral and herbal undertones
Alpensahne is a creamy liqueur that has always been a staple at Austrian ski resorts. This concoction for winter sports fanatics is traditionally homemade, blending pureed alpine mountain pears, alpine cream, and Pear Williams brandy.
It is made by Josef Hofer Distillery, a family-owned and operated business that has been around since 1797 in Austria. The production starts with the fermentation of fruit and distilling it inside copper pot stills. It also goes through aging for about two years before it gets mixed with the other ingredients.
This liqueur is characterized by a yellow to brownish color, resembling farmyard eggs. When you swirl it, traces of liquid chunks are still evident on the glass. However, the cream is the highlight of this drink.
The cream used for Alpensahne is made from milk sourced from cows, specifically in Austria’s Ennstal Valley. The rich flavor of this liqueur is perfect for drinking on its own but if you're feeling particularly indulgent, try adding an espresso shot.
Origin: Austria | ABV: 16% | Tasting Notes: Light sweetness with yogurt and mild fruit flavors on the nose
First introduced in September 1989, the Amarula Cream Liqueur is a nutty, citrus-forward beverage made with marula fruit from sub-equatorial Africa. The marula fruit is akin to an apple in size but tastes like a mix between plum and melon.
The fruit is only harvested after elephants across the South African Savanah are drawn by its smell and have shaken the fruits loose from the trees. The outcome is sufficient to last for a year's worth of Amarula Cream manufacture until the next harvest.
Distillers separate the seeds from the fruit’s flesh, ferment and double-distill it to make this drink. After that, it is aged in old French oak barrels for two years, which is responsible for giving its toasty vanilla flavors, then blended with fresh cream.
This drink is known for its creamy texture, like Baileys Irish cream but with slightly tangy orange notes. We recommend serving this liqueur over ice to bring out its rich, layered taste of caramel contrasted with delicate, sharp citrus notes.
Origin: Africa | ABV: 17% | Tasting Notes: Sweet citrus, nutty, vanilla, and toasty flavors in a velvety texture
Bottles of baijiu white liquor - Image by The Jakarta Post
Although the origins of Baijiu are up for debate, it has existed for many years in China. It is even considered China's national drink and is one of the most consumed alcohols in the world.
Baijiu is a general term that refers to a category of Chinese liquors. The four main types of Baijiu are categorized based on aroma: light, strong, rice, and sauce. For those interested in trying this drink, it's worth noting that the variation that smells like soy sauce is the most costly, as demonstrated by the Moutai brand.
Generally, baijiu is prepared by fermenting cooked sorghum, a protein-rich plant high in fiber, and a jiuqu starter. This white liquor has a reputation for being potent, with an ABV ranging from 35% to 80%.
Westerners describe baijiu as nasty, with a decaying, sweet berry flavor and a hint of nuttiness. Some also noticed that it has a soy sauce-like fragrance. The unique flavor and potent scent come from a thousand-year-old manufacturing technique that has been carried down through generations.
Origin: China | ABV: 35%-80% | Tasting Notes: Overripe fruit with a hint of savoriness, nuttiness, and sweetness
Bajtra is a specialty from Malta. It's uniquely produced from opuntia, more commonly known as prickly pear or pear cactus. Prickly pears didn't exist in the Mediterranean region until the Americas presented them sometime in the late 15th century.
Since then, prickly pears have been abundant, especially in Malta and Gozo. They are sourced from local farmers during August and September, and their pulp needs to be fished out to be sieved into vets and then fermented.
The reason behind the popularity of Bajtra goes beyond its unique taste and ingredients; it is also quite known to be highly beneficial for the human body. It is said to contain great levels of antioxidants and can cure stomach issues, inflammation, and even bee stings!
This drink is sweet, floral on the palate, and somewhat similar to a fresh watermelon. It pairs well with other alcoholic drinks such as tequila, vodka, and other clear distilled spirits. You can also make sangria with it, mix it with Champagne or pair it with a cheese board or vanilla ice cream.
Origin: Malta | ABV: 25% | Tasting Notes: Floral and fruity, similar to a watermelon with a sugary sweet aftertaste
Caribou drink in ice shot glasses - Image by CityNet Magazine
French-Canadian traders invented the first Caribou in the late 1600s. During their adventure to Canada and U.S. to barter, they made an exquisite winter drink which, as legend says, blended whiskey and caribou blood to make them warm.
Today's version of Caribou has been improved to be more appealing and animal-friendly. It's a simple concoction of three ingredients: hard liquor (usually rye whiskey), red wine, and maple syrup. It is a regular drink at Quebec's most awaited event - the Winter Carnival.
Because Caribou has two kinds of alcohol in its recipe, you can expect strength and complexity - just what the Quebec winter requires! Double the enjoyment of drinking Caribou by pouring it into "Bonhomme canes" or ice cube shot glasses, just like the locals do!
Origin: Quebec, Canada | ABV: 22.9% | Tasting Notes: Strong and sweet, like a mix of fortified wine and other liquors
Cynar is a known digestif or digestivo, as it's called in Italy. It takes 13 herbs to produce Cynar, but its key ingredient is artichokes. Artichokes are linked with many health benefits; hence, Cynar is usually seen as an almost-medicinal drink.
This alcohol was created in 1952 by Angelo Dalle Molle, an entrepreneur, and philanthropist from Venice. It first gained popularity due to the commercials of Ernesto Calindri, a popular Italian actor.
In 1995, Campari added Cynar to its list of acquisitions. This move garnered the interest of many U.S. bartenders, particularly those of Italian descent. They began experimenting with the unusual bitter liqueur and found it excellent for cocktails.
Cynar showcases a beautiful deep brown color. Compared to Campari, its ABV is on the lesser end. Campari boasts a 24% ABV while Cynar has 16.5% ABV. Meanwhile, Aperol's ABV is much lower at only 11%.
Cynar is characterized by its bittersweet qualities, with dominant notes of cinnamon, toffee, caramel, and a strong herbal finish. Compared to Amari, Cynar is sweeter but not as sweet as Aperol. You can try it as an aperitif or mix it with orange juice, soda, or tonic water.
Origin: Italy | ABV: 16.5% | Tasting Notes: Sweet and bitter with hints of cinnamon, toffee, and caramel in a herbal finish
Feni has the Geographical Indication (GI) status and is declared a heritage drink by the Goan government. It comes in two varieties: cashew feni and coconut feni.
Goa had an abundant source of coconuts before; that's why it was utilized to make this liquor. But when Portuguese colonists brought cashew trees to the state, people began to make Feni out of the new fruit.
Cashew apples are crushed in a hilltop rock basin to extract the juice when making this alcohol, which flows into an underground earthen or copper pot to ferment. Then, it is distilled three times via woodfire, and about 4% of the fermented juice transforms into alcohol.
Like most rare liquors, Feni also possesses medicinal properties for dental, stomach, and respiratory issues. Flavorwise, it boasts a robust fruity taste with a powerful aroma reflective of its careful manufacturing process.
Origin: India | ABV: ≈45% | Tasting Notes: Tropical fruits with a spicy, citrusy, and nutty flavors
Fisk is a Danish liqueur that delivers an exceptionally smooth and delightful flavor with an alcohol concentration of 30%. It is produced from an interesting combination of premium vodka, menthol, eucalyptus, and licorice, but the exact recipe remains a secret blend.
It is known to be the unofficial spirit of Scandinavia, and it has been reported that more than 9 million bottles are sold around the globe. In fact, Fisk is on a path to equal Jägermeister in terms of sales in Finland and Sweden.
Fisk is best drank as a cold shot or enjoyed with soda or lemon juice. Some connoisseurs like to enjoy its flavor profile without ice.
Origin: Denmark | ABV: 30% | Tasting Notes: Refreshingly smooth, minty, and sweet
Ice wine, or Eiswein in Germany, is a sweet wine produced from frozen grapes and is typically offered after a meal or with a dessert. It was created in Germany in the 1700s and made its way to Canada in the 1900s.
Winemakers select, squeeze, and process the grapes while they're still frozen. Only the heavily concentrated juice is extracted from the frozen fruit, leaving the freezing water crystals behind and yielding a product with a strong taste.
This process results in a very sweet taste, nearly double the sugar content of soda. As a result, ice wine is frequently packaged in smaller bottles.
The highly sweet flavor of ice wine complements sugary treats such as fruit and chocolate and can balance the saltiness of different types of cheese. It may also be consumed on its own as a dessert substitute.
Origin: Germany/Canada | ABV: 6%-13% | Tasting Notes: Intensely sweet with bright acidity in a silky mouthfeel
Kumis is an old Turkic term referring to a fermented drink derived from a mare's milk that has been acidified. Kumis made from cow's milk or any other domestic animal's milk has never been done by Kazakhs because they always specifically utilized mare's milk. This beverage is commonly seen in Central Asia, Mongolia, Bulgaria, and Turkey.
The traditional way of making kumis is by stirring or churning unpasteurized mare's milk inside organic horse-hide bags for a few days. After this time, lactic acid acidifies the milk, and yeasts create alcohol.
The taste of some of the drink types varies based on the alcohol level addition, but it typically has a sour and salty flavor with a white and foamy appearance. It is also considered nutritious and packed with vitamins, which can help with weight loss, cardiovascular, gastrointestinal conditions, and more.
Origin: Khazakstan | ABV: 0.7%-4% | Tasting Notes: Light-bodied with a sour taste and refreshing finish
Kvass is a beverage derived from naturally fermented stale rye bread and is Russia’s traditional drink. It is immensely famous in the country and the post-Soviet states, with rising consumption due to extensive advertising touting its health advantages.
Kvass typically contains less than 1.5% ABV, but if matured for longer, the alcohol concentration can rise to at least 2.5%. Unlike beer, kvass is traditionally regarded as a nonalcoholic beverage and is freely consumed by children of all ages. It's also not a top-secret Russian recipe, as you can easily make it at home.
In Russia, the sourness of drinks and foods is appreciated. Fermentation allows vitamin-rich fruits and vegetables to last during the harsh winter and the acid produced by fermentation provides a pleasant flavor with a distinctive sour taste. Other versions of Kvass either substitute or complement the bread with beets and fruits.
Origin: Russia | ABV: 0.3%-1.5% | Tasting Notes: Sweet and sour with a bit of bitterness like beer or kombucha
Lambanog is a coconut liquor well-known for its potency, ranging between 40% and 45% ABV. Coconut plantation farmers have undoubtedly handed the recipe down through centuries, and it is now primarily manufactured in the Philippines' Quezon Province.
The Philippines is the world's second-largest producer of coconuts; coconut trees comprise about a third of the country's agriculture. During the pre-colonial era, islanders invented Lambanog, which has been produced and enjoyed by many Filipinos since then.
Like rubber tree tapping, the method entails extracting sap from the coconut bloom. Tuba, a famous palm alcoholic liquor, is made from sap through certain fermentation processes. And Lambanog is derived by distilling the tuba.
Origin: Philippines | ABV: 40%-45% | Tasting Notes: Slightly sweet with an everlasting aroma and clean finish
Makgeolli is a traditional Korean beverage among the country’s oldest alcoholic drinks dating back to 918-1320 during the Koryo Dynasty.
It was traditionally made at home and consumed by farmers, but today, it's making a rightful resurgence in Korea and throughout the world. It is on par with beer and soju, the most popular alcoholic beverages in North and South Korea.
This drink, developed by combining rice and a fermentation starter called nuruk, is usually unpasteurized and contains probiotics, giving it short shelf life. Regarding its alcohol content, Makgeolli can range from 6% to 18%, but commercially-made Makgeolli now has an alcohol concentration of roughly 6% to 9%.
Makgeolli is a hazy, sweet-tasting sparkling rice wine that is abundant in fiber, vitamins B and C and has a low cholesterol content. It is best served chilled in small cups paired with various Korean dishes.
Origin: Korea | ABV: 6%-9% | Tasting Notes: Slightly fizzy with a milky, sweet, and sour flavor and a mouth-puckering feel like yogurt
Mama Juana is a distilled spirit that hails from the Dominican Republic. It is one of the oldest spirits distilled in the Americas, with its inception dating back to more than 500 years ago when it first became popular among the native Taino people.
In the 1950s, Jesus Rodriguez created his version of Mama Juana, and it was originally meant to be a herbal medicine. Aside from being a natural aphrodisiac, it was also said to help cure various sicknesses like the flu and improve circulation and digestion.
Traditionally, it's made from scratch, with every family creating their version and passing them on to new generations. No matter how each family tinkers with the recipe, four core ingredients are present: red wine, dark rum, spices/tree bark, and a form of sweetener like honey.
Those who have tried Mama Juana say it tastes like strong mulled wine or port wine. Others equate it to Jägermeister because of its herbal qualities. However, its overall notes still boil down to the proportions of the ingredients and the extra components added.
Origin: Dominican Republic | ABV: ≈30% | Tasting Notes: Depends on the recipe, but it's often likened to mulled or port wine
Mastika in a glass - Image by Greek Boston
Mastika is a distinctive liqueur native to Greece, specifically on the island of Chios. It is derived from mastic trees abundant throughout the Mediterranean, but only those grown in Chios are worthy of making authentic mastika.
Producers make this liqueur relentlessly, as they like to stick with tradition. It involves using the sap extracted from the bark of mastic trees and harvesting the resin, the bottom part of the tree that needs to be trimmed.
After the harvest, it gets added with calcium carbonate powder which acts as a protective coating. Mastic crystals will then form, which producers can pound until powdered or leave in their natural form. These crystals (or powder) will be set for distillation and mixed in with pure alcohol with sugar.
Mastika has a sweet, pine-like flavor that is often enjoyed after meals. It is also used in traditional medicine since it's thought to have digestive and antiseptic properties and is sometimes used as a treatment for colds and coughs.
Origin: Greece | ABV: 20%-30% | Tasting Notes: Bittersweet pine flavor with hints of anise and other herbs
Pisco is Peru's national spirit and a popular drink across South America. It is alleged to have originated in the 16th century, but it is unclear whether it was invented in Peru or Chile.
Pisco is a brandy that is made by the distillation of freshly fermented grapes grown in the lands of Peru. Some compare Pisco to Grappa, a pomace brandy since both are created from grapes. Others liken it to tequila due to its herbaceous and nearly woody flavors.
However, Pisco has its distinct characteristic, so the generalization of the beverage with other liquors is frequently miscarried.
Different Piscos will have unique attributes since they are manufactured from different grape types. This alcohol is also usually mixed to make some of the most sought-after classic cocktails like Pisco Sour and Pisco Punch.
Origin: Peru | ABV: 30%-50% | Tasting Notes: Generally akin to burnt wine with fruity, floral, and herbal flavors
Pulque poured into a glass - Image by Michael Tercha / Chicago Tribune
Pulque is characterized by its white color, almost milky but not as opaque, and thick consistency. Before the 19th century, it was arguably the most popular alcoholic drink in all of Mexico.
During the Mesoamerican civilizations, it was considered an exclusive drink for a specific group of people for special events. It also played an important role in religious beliefs and practices, often associated with feast days and ritual ceremonies.
Pulque is made using an extract or sap called aguamiel from maguey plants. It starts as sweet sugar from the sap and then transforms into ethanol over time through natural fermentation, thanks to the natural microorganisms within the maguey plants.
Dried bottle gourds are what pulque makers traditionally use to store their collected, fermented maguey plant sap. After the collection, all the sap is added together in big ceramic jars with maguey seeds to finish the fermentation quickly.
Origin: Mexico | ABV: 5%-7% | Tasting Notes: Sweet but not overwhelming with a slight fizziness and sourness
If you've ever had the chance to try Retsina, you'll know it's one of the most distinctive wines. Some love it while others hate it, but there's no denying it's a unique Greek wine.
Retsina, also known as retinitis oenos, is believed to have been produced for thousands of years. It commonly employs white wine as its base, but in rare cases, rosé wines are used too. The grape variety savvatiano is usually used to produce Retsina, with rhoditis accounting for a lesser proportion.
After the natural resin is extracted from Aleppo Pine, it gets thrown in with white or rosé wine while still in its fermentation process. After the resin imparts its aroma to the wine, it is removed.
The name "Retsina" is reserved for wine made in Greece using the traditional method of using Allepo pine resin. The European Union treats it as a Traditional Appellation for Greece and a Protected Designation of Origin.
Origin: Greece | ABV: ≈12% | Tasting Notes: Slightly bitter with a carbonated finish and a strong balsamic aroma
The first question about scorpion vodka is, "Is it safe to drink?" Apparently, yes!
It was believed to provide strength to drinkers when first discovered during the Western Zhou dynasty, as per traditional Chinese medicine.
At another time, Scorpion vodka was thought to be the beverage of choice for soldiers of the former Soviet Union, which helped them survive the cold weather in Siberia. This strong liquor was also used as a base for new cocktail creations.
According to experts, while being stung by a scorpion is life-threatening, drinking vodka with a venom-filled arachnid isn't. On the contrary, the scorpion gives the vodka a woody flavor and smoothes out any harsh notes. It is also detoxified, so you can snack on it after emptying the bottle.
If you want to try this intimidating alcohol, check out the prominent brand Thailand Unique. It offers a triple-distilled rice grain vodka infused with a farmed-raised Chinese Armor Tail scorpion about 3 to 4 cm long in each bottle.
Origin: Siberia/Thailand | ABV: 40% | Tasting Notes: A bit spicy and grainy from the vodka and nutty and woody from the scorpion
Shochu, sometimes known as "Japanese vodka," is one of Japan's most delightful alcoholic beverages. It is a traditional hard liquor derived from distilled vegetables and grains. Sweet potato, buckwheat, rice, barley, and sugar cane are the most prevalent fundamental components.
Shochu is usually compared with sake in Japan, but the latter is more popular outside the country. One of the main dissimilarities between the two is that shochu is distilled, whereas sake is fermented.
Moreover, shochu may be consumed in several ways due to its high alcohol concentration, ranging from 25% to 37%. It can be served either warm, cold, plain, on the rocks, as a cocktail mixer, or with a soft drink or water.
Origin: Japan | ABV: 25%-37% | Tasting Notes: Each type’s main ingredient reflects the flavor and can either be sweet, fruity, or earthy
Men drinking Tej - Image by CNTraveler.com
Tej often referred to as the "King's Drink," is Ethiopia's national alcoholic beverage. It is created by fermenting honey with water and gesho (Rhamnus Prinoides) and then flavoring it with different spices. It's one of the varieties of mead.
What differentiates Tej from the usual mead is the fermentation agent used. For regular mead, yeast is utilized to kickstart the fermentation, whereas in Tej, gesho (a type of buckthorn) is used and is responsible for its distinctive bitterness.
Fermenting Tej usually takes about two weeks; however, producers may go as long as five weeks for a more potent result. The alcohol content varies, ranging from 10% to 40%, depending on the fermentation time.
Origin: Ethiopia | ABV: 6%-14% | Tasting Notes: Sweet like orange juice with a bitter aftertaste and strong aroma
Three lizard liquor in jars - Image by Go Vietnam Tours
China and Vietnam are major producers and consumers of the infamous Three Lizard Liquor. These countries are not believers in the well-known phrase "less is more" because they almost always put three lizards in a bottle of rice wine.
They believe lizards or geckos contain some powerful energy inside them, called qi. And when you drink a lizard-infused liquor, that energy is transferred to you. Hence, the more lizards are in the alcohol, the more power you'll possess. The locals also think drinking the Three Lizard Liquor can ward off evil spirits trying to get you.
Liquor experts who have tried the three lizard liquor are often asked about the flavors and sensations this peculiar drink brings. According to them, it shares similar tastes with brandy with a distinct aftertaste that feels almost mystical.
If you want to give this exotic drink a shot, you must visit China or Vietnam because it's not widely available anywhere.
Origin: China/Vietnam | ABV: ≈35% | Tasting Notes: Similar to brandy with a strong aftertaste
Ti-Toki's invention in circa 1970 involved a certain winemaker who wanted to create a new liqueur that mirrors New Zealand. He wanted to do so by using the fruit of a tree native to the country called Alectryon Excelsus.
The winemaker's liqueur endeavors took about three years until he succeeded in his goal - to make a beautiful mixture of flavors and aromas from Manuka, Titoki leaves, and Kawakawa leaves.
The Ti-Toki liqueur is easily recognizable in special handmade bottles or tekoteko crock made of ceramic. In Maori culture, a tekoteko is a carved human figure placed atop a meeting house or war canoe. These figures typically depict an ancestor and are believed to possess supernatural powers.
Ti-Toki boasts a sweetness that will remind you of Nassau Royal or Licor 43. Manuka flavors are also evident in this drink, as well as vanilla. The flavors are very complex, especially if you're not accustomed.
Origin: New Zealand | ABV: 37% | Tasting Notes: Vanilla and smooth sweet aftertastes
Chinese snake wine is thought to have originated during the Western Zhou era when it was utilized for medicinal and healing purposes. In traditional Chinese medicine, it's believed that most snake parts naturally have health benefits.
For instance, the Chinese consume snake meat as it is helpful for the body's circulation. It is also thought that snake gall, skin, and bones can help heal migraines, rheumatism, and sciatica. Snake wine is also widely lauded in Asia as an aphrodisiac that increases sex drive.
Snake wine may be made in various ways, but the most well-known method is placing a whole snake in a bottle of rice wine or grain alcohol. Several herbs and spices can also be infused into the alcohol to mask unpleasant flavors and aromas and make the drink more complex.
Even though venomous snakes are utilized in this drink, the rice wine's ethanol component inactivates the snake's venom. Rice wine also brings earthiness and a subtle sweetness, while the snake offers tastes akin to chicken or fish.
Origin: China/Vietnam | ABV: 30% and up | Tasting Notes: Earthy with a cross between chicken and fish flavors
Ya Dong drinks on top of a plate - Image by Remote Lands
Ya Dong is a Thai herb-infused alcoholic beverage produced from Lao Khao, a cheap and unpleasant rice whiskey popular among Thailand's rural population and medicinal plants.
"Ya Dong" is directly translated as "pickled medication." This liquor was usually sold on the streets, but this method of selling has become illegal due to poisoning issues, which is why the liquor is often dubbed "Thailand moonshine."
However, you can still purchase Ya Dong in markets and other establishments. This drink improves libido and vigor and has been used as a medicinal and blood tonic for centuries.
While the street version of this liquor is influential and particularly loved by Thai workers, Tep Bar, a contemporary bar establishment in Bangkok, has created a name for itself by producing an upmarket version of Ya Dong. They accompany shots of Ya Dong with chasers, including pandan-infused water, unripe mango, salt, chili powder, and sugar dip.
Origin: Thailand | ABV: 35%-40% | Tasting Notes: Earthy, sweet, sour, or medicinal, depending on the blend
The idea of seagull wine came from the Eskimos, who were believed to have invented this nauseating drink to save themselves from hypothermia. Those brave enough to try it typically do so out of curiosity or as a dare, and only a few people venture to drink it again.
Unlike snake wine, you don't mix a dead seagull in a bottle of alcoholic drink. Instead, put the carcass in a water bottle and let it sit in direct sunlight.
The dead seagull and water combination takes a long time to ferment. Being so time-consuming, you'd think it would yield world-shaking results, and it does! Just not in a good way.
Experts and people who took a sip of seagull wine describe the taste as similar to carburetor fluid. Due to its foul taste and smell, this exotic alcohol is not widely available for purchase. If you want to get a hold of it, you'd have to book a flight to the Arctic circle.
Origin: North Pole | ABV: Unknown | Tasting Notes: Much like gasoline, full of character and eccentricity
There's no denying that alcohol is among the most diverse and interesting topics, especially if they are exotic.
These liquors and spirits on the list are not necessarily the most expensive alcoholic drink, contained in a gold-painted bottle or involve in crazy marketing campaigns. Instead, what makes them unique is their interesting ingredients, detailed processes, rich history, and distinctive flavor profiles.
If you want to try more interesting beverages, check out the best canned cocktails and CBD-infused drinks. Did this post ignite your interest in bizarre and exotic alcohol? Which one would you like to drink first?
Exotic liquors don't have to be expensive alcoholic drinks to be exotic. It's more on the uniqueness and availability of the components.
Since these liquors are uncommon, it depends on what you want to try. In addition, it's pretty mandatory to know the ingredients, especially if you have allergies or dietary restrictions.
Fermentation and distillation are common processes for most of the liquors we featured, but different details can make each one unique. Infusing and aging also play a role in the final taste of alcohol.
Beyond the contribution to the flavor profile, understanding the production process may also be a field of interest to alcoholic drink enthusiasts, teaching them more about what comes into play with each beverage.
Experience and curiosity about the taste are what drive people to give exotic alcohols a try. They are generally described as having a weird flavor, but you can interpret them differently.
While it's important to have an idea of what a drink can taste like for you to evaluate, some of the exotic alcoholic drinks have vague reviews; but don't worry, that just adds more to the element of surprise!
Some exotic spirits are also useful in mixology due to their range of flavors. If you're trying to make new cocktails, it's smart to get versatile alcohol.
The thing about exotic alcoholic drinks is that they're usually not widely available in the U.S. or any other country. Most of the time, they are only found and bought in their native place of origin.
So you definitely need to check first before you get excited about trying exotic alcohols. Chances are there's one in your local liquor store, or you'd need to book a flight to a certain country to get a taste.
Exotic liquors vary not only in flavor but also in price. Check how much a particular alcohol costs first so you can prepare a budget for it.
Some commercially produced liqueurs are relatively affordable, but others are expensive due to rare ingredients or lengthy manufacturing methods.
Alcohols that are produced properly and are certified are safe to consume. But not all are made the same. For instance, those made with dead animals may have some risks, especially if they're not produced properly or if you are sensitive.
Ensure you're getting them from a reliable source to prevent health complications. No matter what alcohol you want to try, it is always important to drink in moderation.
Food pairings vary from one drink to another as they all differ in taste. The safest way is to match them with something that offers similar notes or contrasts them.
For instance, ice wine would work well with sweet treats such as chocolates, but you could also pair it with cheeses because it helps cut the saltiness.
We believe that our readers should have access to unbiased, well-informed reviews when deciding which products to buy, and we work hard to provide that type of content. Our editorial team is experienced and passionate about mixology and bar equipment. In addition, we often consult with industry professionals when gathering information, which gives us an insider's perspective on the products we're reviewing.