09/27/2012 11:41 am ET

Cocaine Liqueur: Coca Blue Made From Coca Leaves, But Won't Get You High

Coca leaf, the raw ingredient from which cocaine is made, is the base of Coca Blue, a new liqueur from Babco Europe.

The stuff won't be launched until November -- it's being marketed to mark the end of the Mayan calendar on December 21, 2012, otherwise known as the end of the world -- but The Spirits Business has some insight into the drink's production:

The coca leaves are picked 2000 metres above sea level in the Andes where, under extreme air pressure, they grow smaller and richer in flavour. Once picked, the leaves are shipped to Amsterdam where Babco they undergo a maceration and decocanisation process to remove the active ingredient inherent in cocaine.

Only about 100 cases will go on the market in the U.K., costing about $450 (£250) each. Of course, in keeping with the whole end-of-the-world theme, there'll be a global apocalypse-themed party circuit including cities like Las Vegas, London, Amsterdam, Seoul, Bangkok, Hong Kong, Auckland and Sydney.

Although liqueur may be new territory for coca leaves, it's been used in beverages for centuries. Many indigenous Andean peoples use the leaves to make a tea for medicinal purposes, often offering it to tourists to alleviate altitude sickness. It's said to have a mild, slightly bitter flavor similar to green tea.



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