What do you get when you combine high-octane white rum and a live snake? Viper Rum! I figured this was just a bit of Central American lore…wow, was I wrong.
Most Central American countries claim a wide array of bizarre alcoholic potions and home grown concoctions. Belize is no different. After listening to endless rumor about a strange spirit called Viper Rum, I set out to find a bottle and get the details for myself.
Following a week-long chase, I finally tracked down Viper Rum in a small cantina in San Pedro, Belize. The bartender explained that it is made by villagers in the mountainous region of the country and is indeed spiked with a live snake during the bottling process. It was $10 a shot and the bottle was nearly empty, apparently someone is drinking this stuff.
The origin of this strange concoction is still a bit sketchy. Some will tell you that its roots are in the ancient Mayan culture where it was common to infuse medicinal potions with insects and reptile parts. It is said that live critters were added to these potions so the imbiber would take on their spirit after a drink. Others will say that Viper Rum is brewed up every year before tourist season to make a quick buck off of drunken gringos. I’m not sure which version is accurate, but I’ll chalk it up as one of the more bizarre rums that I’ve come across.
As you may have guessed, the taste of Viper Rum leaves much to be desired (think Wray & Nephew with a hint of reptile) but I paid my 10 bucks for the experience and feel that I surely lost a brain cell and taste bud in the process. Still, I plan to bring a bottle back to Rum Connection headquarters and temp our crew into a nip of this peculiar rum.
Have you sampled any strange spirits during your travels? Be sure to tell us all about it!! Cheers!