22 moonshines from around the world that will probably make you blind
Ever since we humans developed intelligent thought, we've been looking for substances to make us more stupid. And while the US has a long and storied history of secretly distilling blindingly strong liquor, we're not alone -- these 22 other countries all have illustrious traditions of making alcohol in containers even dirtier than bathtubs. Here are the details on the most interesting homemade alcohols from around the world, ranging from Trinidad's "mountain dew" to Iran's "alcohol dog".THE AMERICASName: ScreechCountry of Origin: CanadaIngredients: Molasses...? Fun Fact: Legend has it that this rum-esque booze got its name after a first-time drinker screamed at the taste. Whether that drinker was actually Dustin Diamond has yet to be determined by forensic pathologists. Name: Ba-bashCountry of Origin: Trinidad and TobagoIngredients: Sugarcane, molasses, and citrus winesFun Fact: Also known as "mountain dew". Really. Though you can imagine their version of "mountain dew, code red" means something slightly different. Name: Maria-louca (Crazy-Mary)Country of Origin: BrazilIngredients: Sugar, uncooked rice, yeast, and whatever fruit you can steal from the prison cafeteriaFun Fact: Mostly cooked by inmates, this concoction can earn you 30 days in solitary according to this Vice investigation, but it's apparently really delicious.Name: CushaCountry of Origin: GuatemalaIngredients: Corn and fruitFun Fact: Shamans value it for its cleansing powers and spit it on people who need to be healed. Who subsequently need to be re-cleansed with a shower.Name: PitorroCountry of Origin: Puerto RicoIngredients: Sugarcane, grapes, prunes, raisins, dates, mango, grapefruit, coconut and pineappleFun Fact: Pitorro can be either white wine or rum, and is often buried in the ground to cure with either fruit or savory additives like cheese or rare meat, giving it a very rare taste.
Name: Tsikoudia or Raki
Country of Origin: Greece
Ingredients: Grape skins, lemon rind, rosemary, and honey
Fun Fact: One or two very popular Greeks per village have licenses to make this liquor, which uses grapes that have fermented for six weeks. Depending on the batch, it can be kind of delicious and kind of not very delicious at all.
Country of Origin: Finland
Ingredients: Grain, sugar, and potato
Fun Fact: This triple distilled liquor is similar to vodka, but named after the French wine Pontet-Canet. Finnish travel bloggers report that the wine was popular with wealthy Finns in the 1800s, and home distillers used the name in order to make their hooch sound more high class.
Country of Origin: Ireland
Ingredients: Potato, sugar, and yeast
Fun Fact: Poitín was illegal from 1661 to 1997 and can now only be produced by two distilleries in the Republic of Ireland. It's still banned in Northern Ireland, also known as The Decidedly Less Fun Ireland.
Country of Origin: Russia
Ingredients: Sugar, beets, potatoes, and bread
Fun Fact: Rural Russians drink 4.8 times more samogon than vodka.
Country of Origin: Serbia
Ingredients: Plums, grapes, sugar, and yeast
Fun Fact: According to Brewer & Distiller International, one out of two families in rural Serbia makes their own rakija. And according to the family that does, the other one is a total mooch.
Country of Origin: Norway
Ingredients: Sugar and turbo yeast (regular yeast cooked while holding down the L and R buttons)
Fun Fact: Norway has the strictest liquor laws outside of the Muslim world and it's super-expensive because of state-owned liquor stores.
Country of Origin: Poland
Ingredients: Sugar, water, and yeast
Fun Fact: Unregulated liquor is very popular in Poland, with a per capita consumption rate of 3 liters per year, which is an unfathomable amount of milliliters.
Country of Origin: Democratic Republic of Congo
Ingredients: Maize (creates a very unhealthy dose of methanol!), yuca, and plantains
Fun Fact: Nicknamed "petrole" because it's made primarily in oil drums.
Country of Origin: Kenya
Ingredients: Millet, maize, jet fuel, embalming fluid, and battery acid
Fun Fact: The name translates to "kill me quick" and, according to the perverts at the Economist, you can sometimes find women's underwear steeping in the drink, making it a true panty-dropper.
Country of Origin: South Africa
Fun Fact: Light a bit of it on fire and if it burns with a blue flame then it is the good stuff.
Country of Origin: Uganda
Ingredients: Bananas, yuca, millet, and sugarcane
Fun Fact: The name translates roughly to "war gin", coined by British occupying soldiers. The drink accounts for 80% of liquor sold in Uganda.
ASIA / MIDDLE EAST
Name: Lao Lao
Country of Origin: Laos
Ingredients: Sticky rice, rice biscuits, and rice husks
Fun Fact: Although spelled the same, the two words in the name of this 5x distilled rice whiskey are pronounced differently.
Country of Origin: China
Ingredients: Sorghum, wheat, barley, millet, and Job's Tears (the grass, not what Steve's reaction would be to the current Apple stock price)
Fun Fact: The liquor has made its way to the US thanks to the happy-go-lucky brand Swellfun.
Country of Origin: Pakistan
Ingredients: Sugarcane, wheat husk, rotten fruit, molasses, and shrubs
Fun Fact: Bootleggers often cut higher quality liquor with tharra and the drinkers can't tell the difference.
Name: Aragh Sagi
Country of Origin: Iran
Ingredients: Raisins and pure ethanol
Fun Fact: Although popular before the regime change in 1979, drinking the "alcohol dog" can now earn you 74 lashes.
Name: Lao Theuan
Country of Origin: Thailand
Ingredients: Sugar palm sap, coconut milk, and sticky rice
Fun fact: This white alcohol translates roughly to "jungle liquor" and can vary between 10 and 95% ABV.
Country of Origin: Egypt
Ingredients: Barley and old bread
Fun Fact: Bouza is often made and sold in bars, which are inspected three or four times a year to make sure they aren't adding methyl alcohol to the mix.