I love snakes. Not big boa constrictors or mammoth pythons, but cute little green tree snakes about as long as a ruler. I've owned two, both of which met untimely deaths -- but those are stories for another day. I'd never thought of mixing my fondness for reptiles with my fondness for booze until the friendly staff at the T-Wa Inn showed me their snake wine: a large glass jug filled with wine and two coiled, very fermented snakes. In Vietnam, snake wine is a highly prized drink reported to cure arthritis and boost sexual potency; in the United States, snake wine can't be served, because it's at least 150 proof. So we satisfied ourselves with just looking at the wine (a spy says it tastes like paint thinner) while we enjoyed the Gekkeikan Sake Experience ($10): five shots of Japanese rice wine that arrived on a narrow wooden tray. My favorites were the dry Haiku and fruity Horin sakes, which I washed down with an Export 33 Vietnamese lager. Unlike many Asian restaurants on South Federal, T-Wa boasts a fully stocked bar; you can also slither on in for an exotic Scorpion or Plum Blossom cocktail to go with your savory spring rolls. Just remember to leave the decorative sauced snakes high on the back-bar shelf. -- Julie Dunn
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