April 28, 2010

Pass the snake juice, please

How 'bout a double?

I wrote some about my recent trip to Okinawa last week but just realized I forgot to mention a local beverage which I (almost) regret to say I didn't try. It's called awamori and is a distilled rice liquor.

The Gentle Reader has no doubt heard of mezcal, a Mexican beverage made from the plant maguey, a form of agave, which sometimes contains a worm. No disrespect to Mexico intended, but the Okinawans raised the stakes a bit. Why bother with an invertebrate when you can put a snake in instead?

The snake in question is the habu, a venomous fellow of the pit viper variety believed to have medicinal properties. Not all bottles of awamori are sold with snakes but the ones that have it are easy to find over there.

While El Cabrero will drink just about anything (within reason), somehow I didn't manage to try it this trip. Maybe next time.

(Note: it took all my self-discipline to avoid using a cheap caption with the above photo. Something like, "Is that a snake in your liquor bottle or is it just happy to be here?" I'm proud to say I resisted that temptation. I would never stoop to such a level. No way.)

UPPER BIG BRANCH MINE DISASTER UPDATES. The Mine Safety and Health Administration faced tough questions in a congressional hearing yesterday. According to Ken Ward's reporting in the Charleston Gazette,

One former Massey miner, Jeffrey Harris, testified that when he worked for the company mine management routinely ignored methane accumulations and fired miners who complained about safety problems.

"If an operator wants to, it's pretty easy to cut corners on safety," Harris said. "That's exactly what I saw at the Massey mines where I worked.

"Those people who died," Harris added, "they didn't have to die."

Here's more from the Associated Press.

SPEAKING OF DYING, here's information about the latest Death on the Job report from the AFLCIO.

DEFICITS, SOCIAL SECURITY, AND MEDICARE. Economist Dean Baker challenges prevailing opinions among deficit hawks here.

PASS THE AWAMORI. Given the possible health effects of soft drinks, that snake juice is starting to look better.


1 comment:

hollowdweller said...

The snake thing rocks.

Do they try to actually swallow the snake when they reach the end like the agave worm??

I was always told that the agave worm had some sort of powerful effect, possibly psychedelic but of course when you reach the end of a bottle of tequila how can you tell??

Then one day I was in a bar, I had only money for 2 shots. I got two shots of tequila and one had the worm in it. I can confirm that I felt no effect other than that of 2 shots of tequila in rapid sucession.

Another time I was at a festival and came upon my camp setting by the stage drinking a grain alcohol mix out of a plastic milk jug. When it came to me I saw something floating. "Drink the Worm man" my friend said. I didn't. It was grain not tequila and the worm was an Eastern Tent Caterpillar they had put in there not an agave worm.

PS What does the rice liquor taste like??