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9 strange brews from around the world

By: Josh Lew on Nov. 4, 2014, 10:48 a.m.
Drinking palm wine from a gourd

Photo: Nick Hobgood/Wikimedia Commons

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Palm wine

Palm wine goes by a number of names because it's made in many parts of the world, from the Philippines to India to West Africa. This is one of the most natural alcoholic drinks you are likely to come across. Palm wine is made by tapping the top of a palm tree and collecting the sap. Often, the sap is allowed to leak into a container (traditionally a gourd or coconut shell). The liquid begins to ferment almost immediately, and after about four or five hours, you can drink it.

The alcohol content of most palm wine is about 4 percent. Because of its natural makeup, palm wine is “on the house” for anyone who has access to a palm and has the skill and bravery to climb high enough up the trunk to get usable sap. There is a catch, however. After 12 hours, the sap becomes too acidic to drink, basically turning into a vinegar. So you have to drink palm wine the same day you collect it.