Hangover free alcohol: too good to be true?

Claims that North Korea have supposedly invented a “hangover-free” form of alcohol have emerged in their own press within the past week, with details emerging of the apparent secret ingredient: scorched rice.

Only a few weeks after claims of the testing of an atomic bomb emerged, again from their own sources, news of a hangover free alcoholic drunk must surely be taken with another great pinch of salt. The Pyongyang times, the state-run newspaper of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, recently featured widespread claims that something of a “suave” liquor had been developed by combining the somewhat baffling combination of sweet rice and ginseng, according to a source verified by the UK press.

The drink is believed to be between 30 and 40 per cent alcohol, which is about as strong as a standard bottle of vodka you could buy here, and has been in development for a number of years. North Korea’s Taedonggang Foodstuff Factory claim the process of scorching the rice removes the bitterness normally associated with liquors of such strength, but doesn’t leave you with anything even resembling a hangover.

The claims however have been swiftly denounced by esteemed medical experts, who have warned that the only effective way of curing a hangover is to drink less. An article published in the British Medical Journal back in 2005 dismissed popular home remedies for alcoholic hangovers, saying there is: “No compelling evidence exists to suggest that any conventional or complementary intervention is effective for preventing or treating alcohol hangover.” Despite the backlash of derision their creation has been confronted with, the author of the article covering the discovery, Jong Hwa Sun, claims the creation is “highly appreciated by experts and lovers as it is suave and causes no hangover.” The substance’s attraction does not stop with it being “hangover-free.” The article brags that the liquor “exudes national flavour” both in its taste and packaging.

Recently there have been a whole host of claims emerge from the country, particularly the bolder scientific claims that would undoubtedly eclipse this feat. Last year, the state media reported that the country’s researchers had developed medical products using ginseng extracts that could cure a variety of diseases, including MERS, SARS, the Ebola virus and even AIDS. Of course earlier this year the state claimed it had successfully detonated a hydrogen bomb for the first time, though the rest of the world has had a difficult time verifying that claim, which came after detection devices recorded a significant seismic event along the country’s coast. Sceptics will continue to doubt their movements until claims have been sufficiently verified.


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