The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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There’s a cobra in my pub poison

Bangalore, Dec. 16: The whisky quenched your thirst but the real kick came from the cobra.

The two-and-a-half-foot-long dead snake, hood spread out, floated in the whisky inside a centaur-shaped bottle on the counter. In the Nyx pub’s dim light, its glazed eyes seemed to stare eerily at you.

A small peg of whisky drawn from the bottle would, however, cost you Rs 1,500. After all, it was a “cobra shot” that could do your love life a world of good.

The Nyx on Residency Road — Bangalore’s “pub street” — sold it as an aphrodisiac to select clients till last night when forest department officials raided it with police.

Deputy conservator of forests V.V. Singh denied that the immersed cobra made the drink more “potent”, as the pub claimed. In Goa’s bars, whisky bottles with dead snakes inside are becoming a common sight and the Nyx may have imitated them, sources said.

Cobra venom as well as blood is considered an aphrodisiac in parts of Asia, and the knowledge that he is drinking it may give a believer a psychological boost, bringing on the desired effect to an extent.

The cobra, however, is a protected species and possessing even a dead one can bring a minimum two-year term.

Officials are trying to find out if the poison was removed before the snake was shoved into the bottle. Cobra venom, even when mixed with alcohol, can cause death if someone drinks it.

The only other drink served with living or dead creatures is the tequila, made from a cactus plant in Mexico. The tequila is often served with live worms in the glass to give drinkers a kick. The worms are not released into the bottle but are dumped in the glass before the drink is poured.

At the Nyx last night, a patron who quaffed the “cobra shot” was asked how it tasted. “Excellent,” he said. It was only then that he was shown the two-litre, half-horse-half-man-shaped bottle with the snake inside.

Srinivas A.K, a vegetarian, was aghast. “How can you do this to me'” he asked the waiters. “It was a revolting sight. But it tasted like any other glass of Scotch,” Srinivas said.

His woman friend tipped the forest department off. The management and staff have been questioned but arrests, if any, would be made after the department prepares a report.

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