No Potion Control: These Beverages Have A Dash Of The Bizarre
Image Credit: Chicha. Pond5

FANCY a tipple with a difference? From fermented rodents to pickled organs, humankind has concocted some truly bizarre beverages over the centuries. Read on for some of the strangest drinks you’ll ever wrap your lips around.  

Have a Ball (or Two) in Your Beer

Testicle Beer, also known as ‘Rocky Mountain Oysters’, is brewed using bull testicles. The gonads are peeled, boiled and then fried before being added to the brewing process. The result is a viscous beer with a strong, meaty flavour. Testicle Beer originated as an April Fool’s joke by Wynkoop Brewing Company in Denver, USA. However, the response was so positive that they decided to make a batch for real. Cheers to that!

A Dish Best Served Cold

Bird's Nest Soup, popular in China, is made from the nests of swiftlets. The nests are made of solidified saliva from the male swiftlets. When soaked in water, the saliva nests dissolve into a gelatinous soup. It is believed to have medicinal properties like boosting immunity and improving skin complexion. Bird’s nest soup is an expensive delicacy, with some nests costing up to $10,000 per kilogram. Not your average chicken soup!

Fermented Fido 

In some parts of China, a rice wine infused with dog meat is believed to bring virility and ward off illness. To make the wine, dog  meat is fermented in rice wine for a period of time before drinking. Campaigns against the dog meat trade have seen a decline in popularity, though it is still practiced in some rural areas. The taste is said to be bitter and gamey. 

A Drink to Dye For

Blue curaçao, a liqueur infused with orange peels, is coloured a vivid bright blue. The peculiar pigment comes from a dye called Brilliant Blue FCF, also known as E133. Although deemed safe in small amounts, the dye is a known allergen and may have long term health effects. The unnaturally neon colour is mainly for novelty value. Blue curaçao is used to colour cocktails like Blue Lagoons and Blue Hawaiians.

Plonk from the Pods

Coffee wine, made from fermented coffee beans, is popular in several African countries like Ethiopia, Kenya and Tanzania. Coffee beans are fermented with water and wild yeasts, then strained and bottled. The result is an alcoholic ‘coffee wine’ with a slight bitterness and lots of sediment. Some compare it to a strong, tannic red wine. A few commercial coffee wine brands have emerged recently, though traditional homemade versions still prevail.


The Proof is in the Pudding

Rumtopf, popular in Germany, is a spiced rum infused with fruit.  The peculiar part is the fruit used — anything from cherries and apricots to plums are fermented in rum for months or even years. The result is an alcoholic fruit stew or ‘rum pot’ that can be eaten as a dessert on its own, or used as a topping for ice cream or pudding. Some rumtopfs have been passed down through generations, with fruit continually being added and topped up with rum.

Have a Heart

Chicha de Jora is a Peruvian corn beer fermented using human saliva. The corn is chewed by women and spat into a pot, where it’s left to ferment for several days. The saliva contains enzymes that help break down the corn into sugars, which then ferment into alcohol. Chicha de Jora has been made for thousands of years and is considered sacred by some indigenous Andean cultures. However, the use of saliva does present health risks like the transmission of diseases. Commercial versions are now made without the chewing process.

A Drink That’s Hard to Swallow

Balut juice, popular in the Philippines, is made from balut eggs — duck eggs that have been incubated for around 17 days before being boiled. At this stage, the duck embryo inside the egg has developed into a partially formed duckling. The boiled egg, embryo and all, is cracked open and the warm juice inside is consumed. The embryo is said to have a mushy, liver-like texture. Balut eggs are considered a delicacy and aphrodisiac in the Philippines, though many find the idea of consuming a developed embryo unappealing. The juice is usually seasoned with chili, garlic and vinegar or calamansi juice. Definitely not for the faint of heart!

So there you have it, some of the strangest and most peculiar drinks ever concocted. From venomous snakes and bull testicles to duck eggs and blue dye, humankind’s creativity knows no bounds when it comes to brewing bizarre beverages. Would you dare to try any of these weird and wonderful tipples the next time you visit these places?