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People Are Going Nuts For This Liquor Made From Fermented Giant Hornets

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One of the best things about traveling the world is getting to see how people in other countries live. Learning about new cultures and all of their traditions can help you create memories to last a lifetime.

The foods and drinks that people in different countries enjoy either for pleasure or for their health benefits can paint a really vivid picture. What you might consider “gross,” they might consider a delicacy.

However, there are some foods and drinks that are so unique they can really take your breath away! When a man in Japan was found stuffing hornets into a jar of grain alcohol, visitors thought he was crazy. Then they learned the reason…

The Japanese hornet is notoriously terrifying. Its stinger is a quarter of an inch long, and it pumps out an enzyme so strong that it can literally burn through human flesh. It’s a fearsome little creature, but that hasn’t stopped some people from using it in a very unique way…

Needless to say, being stung by one of these hornets is absolutely beyond painful to endure. However, some folks don’t have any problem risking these stings. That’s because these hornets are the key ingredient to a special liquor called shouchuu.


Don’t be fooled: the sting of a Japanese hornet is so dangerous that, if you were ever stung by one, you’d need to seek immediate treatment. A person who is stung and doesn’t seek out treatment could actually die. So, why would they even risk putting them anywhere near their liquor?

If you want to try this very special—and dangerous—drink, you will have to travel further than a Japanese liquor store. The drink is not commercially available. However, in rural parts of Japan, it is often made and sold by the cupful by locals.


In order to make this drink, the wasps must be left to ferment for more than three years. Once the fermentation process is complete, the liquor itself turns a muddy brown color and gives off a smell that has been compared to human flesh. But why would anyone want to try this concoction?

People who have sampled this liquor say it tastes a lot like some forms of vodka. However, the venom from the wasps gives the drink a sharp and salty aftertaste unlike anything else you might savor in the average bar or restaurant.

So if the drink is nothing special in the flavor department, you might be wondering why people drink it. Apparently, the hornet liquor boasts incredible health benefits, which is always a plus if you’re going to be knocking back shots full of insects!


The liquor is said to make skin look more youthful and much more beautiful, and it’s supposedly an effective way to combat fatigue and headaches. Interestingly, people claim that it’s a great cure for hangovers, too. A little hair of the dog—er, hornet, huh?

To catch one of these wasps, you must first located a nest. People who make this liquor prefer underground nests where all they must do in order to catch the insects is hold a plastic bag over the entrance and make noise to summon the hornets from the hole.


Then, the hornets are transferred into a container full of grain alcohol. Angry at being disturbed, the hornets release their venom. The venom is neutralized by the alcohol during the fermentation process, thus giving it its signature flavor!

While it might sound pretty dangerous to make, the fermentation process is, apparently, safe to drink. That said, whatever you do, please don’t try to make your own batch at home!

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