Drink a Shot of Snake Whiskey in Laos

In Southeast Asia you will find the Golden Triangle, where the countries Burma (Mynamar), Thailand and Laos meet with only a narrow river as the boundary. While I was visiting on the Thailand side, there was the opportunity to take a long boat across the Mekong River to step foot on Laos. There was not a chance I was passing up a 300 baht ($9.63 usd) opportunity to step foot on a different country while in Thailand. A twofer.

What happened on the other side was another strange and unexpected bucket list moment, a shot of snake whiskey. Laos Boat Annette White in Laos

The boat dropped us off at a dusty shore with a rinky-dink tourist market selling a variety of trinkets. We aimlessly walked through the first store that was lined with all the typical souvenirs; t-shirts, hats, Laos currency and shot glasses. No thanks.

But, towards the back of the store there was something that caught my eye, vats of almost clear liquid each filled with a different lifeless animal; mostly snakes.

The shopkeeper proceeded to lift each one out of the liquid just to cement the gross factor. It worked.Snake Whiskey in Laos Snake Whiskey in Laos   Snake Whiskey in Laos

The glass vats were said to be filled with whiskey, the animal spirits supposedly infused the liquor and then those spirits were transferred to any brave sole who would take a drink. I was a brave sole. Even braver after the experience of eating insects and a preserved century egg at Chiang Mai’s Somphet Market days earlier. May as well keep this bizarre food trend going.

With a ladle, they scooped out a shot glass size from the snake jar and handed it to me. Bottoms up. Annette White drinking Snake Whiskey in Laos

The snake whiskey, which smelled like rubbing alcohol, went down like a fine tequila. Maybe more like a shot of cheap vodka. And that’s exactly what it tasted like, with a hint of scaly, snake funkiness.

I walked out of the shop, feeling like a stronger women. That was possibly just a side effect from the snake whiskey buzz.

We perused some of the other shops, only purchasing some grilled potato and butternut. Mostly, to get the snake taste out of my mouth.
Street food in Laos Street food in Laos

Have you ever had snake whiskey?

2018-12-22T08:30:22+00:00June 23rd, 2013|Categories: Asia, FOOD, Laos, QUIRKY, TRAVEL|Tags: , , , , |


  1. Marcy June 23, 2013 at 10:13 am - Reply

    I went to that exact same spot and had the snake whiskey, too. It was pretty gross, but exciting to try. I wrote about it here: http://www.tootimidandsqueamish.com/2013/05/getting-the-strength-of-a-cobra-in-laos/

    Chok de!

    • Annette White June 23, 2013 at 10:38 am - Reply

      I loved your story! I am a sucker for unique & gross experiences like this, apparently you are too 🙂

  2. Daryl June 23, 2013 at 6:05 pm - Reply

    Reading your blog always feels like an adventure! Please never stop trying crazy, weird things and writing about it, I need to live vicariously through you.

    • Annette White June 23, 2013 at 7:23 pm - Reply

      Thanks 🙂 But, I don’t think I can ever stop, I am addicted!

  3. Heather June 23, 2013 at 9:07 pm - Reply

    I haven’t tried snake whiskey, but I did drink a glass of deer antler wine in Shanghai. I felt like a total badass afterwards 🙂

    • Annette White June 23, 2013 at 9:24 pm - Reply

      Oh Crap, that’s one more thing I have to add to my bucket list!

  4. Savi of Bruised Passports June 24, 2013 at 12:49 am - Reply

    Haha- this is gross- Thus, I NEED to have it 😉 Sounds exciting- will hunt it down in Laos

    • Annette White June 24, 2013 at 4:40 am - Reply

      Ha.Ha! I am always caught saying, “that looks gross, let eat it.”

  5. This is one thing I won’t be snagging from you to add to my bucket list O:-)

    • Annette White June 24, 2013 at 7:42 am - Reply

      That had lizard whiskey too, if you’d rather. 😉

  6. derek roe June 24, 2013 at 2:01 pm - Reply

    There was something similar in France years ago called Viperade. What is was was as follows.
    A Viper was caught in the vineyards and put in a bottle.
    The viper ‘went to sleep’ when the bottle was sealed.
    The bottle (with snake) was opened and filled with Marc de Bourgogne, a brandy made from grapes.
    The snake woke up and angry and emitted venom into the brandy.
    The Bottle was sealed, snake & all.
    The theory was if the vineyard workers took a shot of this before going to the fields to work it would protect them from the adverse effects of a viper snake bite.

    This ‘brandy’ was banned in France but is still available on the black market and Phoney viperade (with plastic snakes inside)

    • Annette White June 24, 2013 at 3:05 pm - Reply

      Wow! That’s an incredible story, though I understand why the brandy was banned. Thanks for sharing.

  7. Andi of My Beautiful Adventures June 24, 2013 at 4:08 pm - Reply

    Hahaha I agree with Heather!

    • Annette White June 24, 2013 at 5:06 pm - Reply

      I can completely understand why 🙂

  8. Jessica June 25, 2013 at 6:36 pm - Reply

    When we were in Luang Prabang there was a women at the market selling bottles of whiskey with all kinds of things in it. We tried a shot of snake whiskey, and one with a scorpion in it too. Both just tasted like strong liquor to me, but it was still a cool thing to try!

  9. Casey @ A Cruising Couple June 27, 2013 at 12:51 am - Reply

    I’m a fan of whiskey but I’m not sure about this one. There’s a famous place in Taipei called Snake Alley where they sell snake blood shots. Not sure about the authenticity though. We took a stroll through the area but didn’t have the nerves to try it 😛 Thanks for sharing! Maybe I’ll be brave enough to give it a try next time.

    • Annette White June 27, 2013 at 6:56 am - Reply

      I had never heard of snake alley, but now I must go!

  10. Upcoming Bucket List Adventures & A Special Thank You July 6, 2013 at 7:56 am - Reply

    […] attractions I can find. Plus, he will hesitantly eat anything I ask him too. With the exception of drinking snake whiskey in Laos. He passed on […]

  11. sufie April 12, 2016 at 5:21 am - Reply

    the scorpion wiski was the meanest

  12. Diana February 8, 2017 at 8:02 am - Reply

    Yes, I tried the Snake whiskey and got a headache after. I wasn’t going to pass up a free shot with a marinating Cobra!

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