Bootleg Drinks Around the World

Booze can be damn expensive, hard to come by or downright illegal in some parts of the world.  But as they say in the brewing community, “where there’s a still there’s a way”.  To help you understand the extent some people go through for their buzz, OTP's cooked up some of the funkiest, dangerous and tastiest bootleg purple-drank from all over the globe.

This drink abounds in local stores, churches and livers, but the better (and stronger) shit is only found in the private pantry.  A number of fruit--even walnuts, biatch!--can be used to make this spirit, but the most common mixes involve plums or grapes. Your point of entry is at a funeral, where everyone takes a cup of it, pours a nip for the dead and kicks the rest back. They also serve it as Christ’s blood in church (who knew Jesus cured Sunday morning hangovers?)


Brazil:  Maria Louca (&*wtf%?!)

Translating to Crazy Maria, this stuff’s a swig of sheer willpower.  Depending on the ingredients, which can vary from fruit peels to candy (and perhaps prison-bitch tears), your cup might taste of jolly-ranchers or bittersweet horror!  It’s the drink of choice for starved (yet resourceful) Brazilian prisoners, so don’t go looking too hard for it.  Instead, make your own next Halloween; nobody eats those damn strawberry-wrapped things anyway.

Bum wines (see also: ‘Night Train’, ‘MD 20/20’ and ‘Cisco’) were made for one reason, and that’s to get hobos drunk and warm for little to no cost.  Thunderbird’s the most famous for its 70’s ad campaign--what’s the word?--and smells/ tastes like fucking fossil fuel mixed with toddler-nuggets, with the added bonus of dying your tongue a mysterious shade of black.  Finding the stuff is a classic American snipe-hunt, as it’s only found in select liquor stores, often in the worst parts of town.  See if you can get some without getting shot up with bullets or meth.  Luckily, drinking the stuff isn’t said to make you homeless--immediately.

The street slang for this shit is ‘pétrole’, whatever that means.  When scoring your Lotoko, make sure to ask what’s actually inside of the oil barrel (if you like to live or whatever).  This moonshine’s either made from corn, yucca or plantains, and the corn stuff can kill you (or at least fuck you up the wrong way).  Methanol--which is toxic--will be floating around in the corn cob barrels, so make like Food Inc. and say no to corn.


India: Tharra (90%)

When you’re a migrant laborer in rural India, there’s only one way to feelin’ good.  Tharra is a nasty-smelling sugarcane brew that's so putrid, it needs to sit in the fields to air out (and that’s coming from people who sometimes cook their food with cow dung). To steer clear of the stink, rock your body with some Toddy.  It’s a palm wine that South Indians drink to get schwayze when the weather’s nice and the day's long.


OTP Bonus:  Feni is a popular underground drink in Goa made from cashews that has recently taken a turn toward the tourist circuit.



They call this stuff ‘kill me quick’ on the streets. The corn or millet-based liquor is nothing short of a gang bang for your insides.  While the alcohol content is high, the real danger lies in the post-fermentation junk added by vendors. Battery acid’s a local favorite, and jet fuel comes in for a close second. Even the locals know, Changaa’s often a last resort, so dangerous that the government legalized it just so they could stop the havoc.

The ‘water of life’ these days is a high-class digestif on dessert menus, but its history goes all the way back to the French boondocks.  If wine’s weak brandy, brandy’s weak Eau de Vie.  Anyone who’s tried it before (and likes their eyebrows) knows not to breathe near open flames as its so freaking strong, your eyeballs will evaporate. For something similar with the extra twist of illicit-ness, find some Tsipouro while packing through Greece.  Same stuff, different context.

Consider yourself informed: if the beers are too pricey wherever you might be, there’s always some liquid love bubbling in someone’s backyard.  Moonshine is a global phenomenon, anywhere you go will have its stories, and some characters to tell them to your over a drink.  Just don’t go chugging liquid poison of the actual killing kind.