Tuesday, Nov. 16, 2010

Palm Wine

Talk about tropical idyll: wherever there's a critical mass of palm trees, there's sure to be someone guzzling down their syrupy contents. From West Africa to the islands of the Pacific, people have for centuries tapped the sap found in palm trees and let it ferment. Then they got trashed. The drink is perhaps the most time-honored and universal moonshine around — and not just among humans. It's been found that the Malaysian pen-tailed shrew, a tiny, long-nosed creature, subsists almost entirely on the fermented nectar of flower buds from palm trees.