With T-minus 24 hours till Thanksgiving dinner, you’re wondering WTF to bring the folks who were nice enough to have you over.

Two words: cobra wine. You’ll find it at Obscura Antiques & Oddities.

Turns out the curiosity shop from the Science Channel’s “Oddities” sells bottles of “wine” (more like rice brandy, a clerk told us) stuffed with everything from geckos to scorpions. The $25 bottles are on the small side (about the size of a perfume dispenser) but trust us, your hosts won’t want more than a few sips of this gnarly stuff.

Owner Mike Zohn says a guy brings the bottles in from Vietnam — but he couldn’t say much more about their provenance (there aren’t any labels on them, and some are clearly recycled Courvoisier bottles). Occasionally he’ll get bottles with seahorses or starfish in them — and he’s hoping to one day get a full-sized cobra with a scorpion in its mouth. You can hear more about “Vietnamese Viagara” in this clip from the show.

I bought three varieties — a $125 bottle stuffed with an eight-inch-long gecko clinging to a ginseng root, and two $25 bottles (one containing an “adolescent” cobra and the other containing a scorpion) — and asked B+B reporters Nicole Disser and Patrick Hogan to try them out. Here are their tasting notes.


“Notes of garbage” –Nicole
“That’s awful… I like garlic but not in my liquor.” –Patrick

“It’s like fish sauce.” –Nicole
“Jesus Christ, that’s awful.” –Patrick
“Like the garbage can of a Vietnamese restaurant” –Nicole

“It tastes very strongly of sushi — like a tuna roll or something.” –Patrick
“I really hope the train isn’t packed on the way home because it smells like I ate a dead body.” –Nicole

We all agreed gecko was the most palatable (I’d describe the taste as mummy parchment soaked in spoiled plum wine — it has a musty, sickly sweet waft with a subtle undertone of model airplane glue. And it has the consistency of olive oil). But both of my tasters declined seconds. “That’s when you know you’re in a bad place,” said Patrick. “When you’re just by yourself drinking scorpion liquor.”

Speak for yourself, Pat — someone’s gotta finish this stuff.