Updated at: 18-07-2023 - By: John Lau

Are you intrigued by eccentric and exotic spirits from across the globe? Habu Sake, an alcohol native to Okinawa, Japan is as unique as it gets.

Our guide will dive into what this infamous snake wine truly is, how it’s made and important aspects surrounding its consumption.

Let’s slither our way into the world of this venomous yet fascinating Japanese drink.

What is Habu Sake?

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Habu Sake, also known as Habushu or Okinawan Snake Wine, is a unique and potent alcoholic beverage from the Ryukyu Islands of Japan.

The exotic drink is crafted by merging the venomous habu snake with awamori, another local specialty.

The habu viper belongs to the same subfamily as rattlesnakes and copperheads making it an intriguing element in this celebrated traditional Okinawan drink.

Fermented for its distinct flavor, Habu Sake boasts a blend of bite and spirit that’s unparalleled in how it marries alcoholism with Asian snake liquor culture.

This Japanese snake-infused liqueur may be controversial due to its manufacturing process but remains highly sought after across Asia for its uniquely bold profile and potential medicinal properties.

How Habu Sake is Made

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Habu Sake, also known as Habushu or Okinawan Snake Wine, is made through a fascinating and somewhat controversial process.

Here’s how it’s done:

  • Venomous snakes, specifically the habu snake, are caught in the wild.
  • The snakes are then euthanized and preserved in jars filled with Awamori, a traditional Okinawan spirit made from long-grain indica rice.
  • The jars are sealed and left to ferment for several months to allow the venom and other properties of the snake to infuse into the liquor.
  • During this fermentation period, the venomous snake’s skin color may change due to chemical reactions with the alcohol.
  • After fermentation, the snake – infused liquid is strained and bottled for consumption.

Tasting Habu Sake

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Offers a truly unique tasting experience. This awamori-based liqueur from Okinawa, Japan combines the venomous habu snake with another local specialty, creating a potent and distinctive flavor profile.

The habu snake is closely related to rattlesnakes and copperheads, lending an exotic touch to this traditional Okinawan drink.

When you take your first sip of Habu Sake, you’ll notice its bold and complex taste. The rich flavors of the fermented beverage blend with the essence of the venomous snake-infused liquor. It’s a one-of-a-kind combination that delights adventurous drinkers seeking new and unusual liquors.

Tasting Habu Sake can be an intriguing experience for those looking to expand their palate. However, it’s important to consider the controversial production methods behind this unique alcoholic beverage.

While Habu Sake remains popular in Asia despite criticism of its manufacturing process, there are concerns about its safety due to the poisonous nature of habu snakes.

So if you’re up for trying something out of the ordinary in the world of spirits, give Habu Sake a try – just make sure to do so responsibly and with awareness of its potential risks.

Benefits and Risks of Habu Sake

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Habu Sake, a unique Okinawan alcoholic beverage featuring the venomous habu snake, presents several benefits and risks that are noteworthy.

Below is a comprehensive table breaking down these aspects to better understand this Asian delicacy.

Benefits Risks
1. Habu Sake is known for its potent and distinct flavor, offering a unique tasting experience not found in other alcoholic beverages. 1. The production of Habu Sake involves the use of venomous snakes, which has raised safety concerns about its consumption.
2. It is made with awamori, a specialty of the Ryukyu islands, offering a taste of Okinawa’s rich cultural heritage. 2. Due to its high alcohol content, there’s a risk of alcoholism and other health issues associated with excessive drinking.
3. Despite its controversial creation process, Habu Sake remains a popular drink in Asia, indicating its appeal and cultural significance. 3. Animal rights activists criticize the production methods of Habu Sake as barbaric, damaging its reputation and creating ethical concerns for potential consumers.


In conclusion, Habu Sake is a fascinating and controversial beverage that combines the traditional awamori liqueur with the venomous habu snake. While it may be considered exotic and unique, there are concerns about its production methods and safety.

Regardless, for those adventurous enough to try it, Habu Sake offers a potent taste experience unlike any other alcoholic drink.