The voracious Japanese giant hornet has a quarter-inch stinger that pumps out venom containing an enzyme so strong that it can literally dissolve human tissue. The sting of a giant hornet causes excruciating pain, yet some people are willing to endure a few stings while trying to capture them to make a special kind of shouchuu (Japanese liquor similar to vodka).
A person stung by a Japanese giant hornet who doesn’t receive proper treatment soon thereafter can die from an allergic reaction to the venom. About 40 deaths related to giant hornet stings are recorded every year. But this doesn’t seem to scare fans of shouchuu from risking their lives trying to capture the main ingredient of a bizarre alcoholic drink. It’s a rare concoction that isn’t usually commercially available in shops, but a team of RocketNews24 reporters traveled to Japan’s Kumamoto Prefecture in search of a huntsman who catches hornets and leaves them to ferment in alcohol for three years. According to their reports, fermented wasp shouchuu has an unappetizing muddy-brown color and smells a bit like rotting flesh. If you’re wondering about the taste of this unusual drink, it’s apparently a lot like that of regular shouchuu, but with a salty aftertaste that comes from the wasps poison. In conclusion, it looks disgusting, it stinks and it tastes really bad, so why would anyone want to drink this home-made fermented hornet brew? Well, for the health-related benefits, of course. The venom-infused liquor is said to make the skin more beautiful, boost recovery from fatigue and prevent “lifestyle disease” (whatever that is).