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Communism Wins Again: North Korea Invents Hangover-Free Alcohol

Communism Wins Again: North Korea Invents Hangover-Free Alcohol

Communists may have lost the Cold War, but that minor defeat will surely be forgotten in the annals of history now that scientists in Pyongyang have announced a much more important victory: They have created hangover-free alcohol.

According to the Pyongyang Times, the liquor is around 30 to 40 percent alcohol and “exudes national flavor.” That patriotic taste can be credited to ginseng and rice, the alcohol’s two main ingredients. And it could even classify ginseng as a miracle plant: In August, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un claimed that a drug made with it can also cure Ebola, in addition to earlier claims it could cure AIDS and cancer.

The new liquor, called Koryo, was reportedly made out of insam — a local kind of ginseng. But scientists also replaced the sugar with scorched rice, which they credit with reducing the chances of a hangover the next day.  

The Taedonggang Foodstuff Factory is responsible for this week’s success, and the Pyongyang Times said it won a “quality medal for preserving national smack.” 

“Koryo Liquor, which is made of six-year-old Kaesong Koryo insam, known as being highest in medicinal effect, and the scorched rice, is highly appreciated by experts and lovers as it is suave and causes no hangover,” the article says. It also adds that the alcohol “has already been registered as a national scientific and technological hit.”

Foreign Policy was unable to independently verify the qualifications of North Korean experts and lovers, or find out what it takes to be considered a scientific and technological hit in the country.

That’s in part because as the world’s most isolated state, much of what goes on in North Korea remains mysterious to the outside world. But foreigners who have successfully visited Pyongyang report that citizens consume a huge amount of alcohol on a regular basis.

And in 2013, after Kim ordered the executions of two of his uncle’s closest aides, reports circulated that he was “very drunk” when he made that decision.

So for him, this might just be the biggest win for communism yet.

Photo Credit: Ed Jones/AFP/GettyImages