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So a setting I had in mind has vampires, of the rather traditional kind. They aren't as inhumanly strong or fast, but in turn they aren't instantly incinerated by sunlight, instead just being really prone to sunburns.

Here is the thing: "My" vampires still need to eat, but all their food has to contain some content of blood, either human or animal. Of course they wouldn't want to miss the chance of getting drunk if possible, so here is my question:

Would it be feasible to make an alcoholic beverage with blood as its main ingredient?

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    $\begingroup$ Would perhaps blood obtained directly from an intoxicated person or animal work? $\endgroup$ – N2ition Jun 30 at 19:05
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    $\begingroup$ Alcohol dissolves in blood as easily as it dissolves in water. There is no difficulty of making a Bloody Mary by mixing vodka with blood instead of tomato juice. You must explain what is the difficulty envisaged by the question. $\endgroup$ – AlexP Jun 30 at 19:30
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    $\begingroup$ According to Riddick, cutting blood with peppermint schapps gets rid of the copperish taste if that helps... $\endgroup$ – Tim B II Jun 30 at 23:13
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    $\begingroup$ Curious: Why must they make alcohol out of blood rather than just mix blood and liquor? $\endgroup$ – elemtilas Jul 1 at 1:52
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    $\begingroup$ "The difficulty would be making the alcohol out of the blood instead of just pouring some blood into one's drink": that is not what the question asks. The question asks about an alcoholic beverage with blood as its main ingredient. Bloody Mary is an alcoholic coctail with tomato juice as its main ingredient. $\endgroup$ – AlexP Jul 1 at 5:01
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It certainly should be and it should be relatively simple too. Take blood, heat blood to kill off any competition, add yeast, this is a fungus that turns simple sugars into alcohol, and wait for the yeast to do it's work, this usually takes a couple of weeks, then serve. There are some issues with this scenario that are peculiar to blood:

  • Most people have very little sugar in their blood to start with, yeast will have very little to work with, this will mean a very low alcohol content in the raw fermentation.

  • Blood is quite saline this will kill many yeast strains before they have a chance to do anything.

Mixing blood with sugar water first will dilute its salt content and increase the sugar levels to the point where yeasts will be able to survive easily and have enough to work with to raise the alcohol content of the raw fermentation to something that will to be "worth drinking" (read will get you drunk relatively easily, think wine or beer rather than whiskey).

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    $\begingroup$ Heating blood will cause the protein of the serum to coagulate. Look at what happen when you grill a steak. $\endgroup$ – L.Dutch Jun 30 at 19:49
  • $\begingroup$ @L.Dutch this is dependent on how hot you heat it. You can pasteurize it just like we do milk. $\endgroup$ – John Jul 1 at 2:42
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    $\begingroup$ Maybe Vampires like a creamier drink than ordinary Humans? Also note that koumis (fermented milk) is fairly creamy, so thick alcoholic beverages are a thing. $\endgroup$ – elemtilas Jul 1 at 3:23
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    $\begingroup$ You can sterilize the blood using sulfites probably, the way wine makers do on grapes juice. $\endgroup$ – m.raynal Jul 1 at 12:50
  • $\begingroup$ @L.Dutch I know this isn't your point but there's not actually any blood in a steak (pedantic caveat - there's probably some blood in there but it's a vanishingly small amount). $\endgroup$ – MikeTheLiar Jul 1 at 17:41
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Yes. Sort of.

Snake blood wine involves fermenting the drained blood of a snake, along with its body. In some versions, the blood is simply added to the alcohol.

Winemakers on Quora speculate that, yes, you can. But none have tried it.

Blood has been used for fining (removing impurities from wine) but isn't common now and also doesn't leave much, if any, blood in the mix.

Blood also can be fermented into something edible (for pigs anyway).

Overall though, you're much better off with fresh blood added to an alcoholic drink.

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As other answers have noted, blood contains fairly little glucose (blood sugar), so that makes for weak drinks unless external sugar is added, or the glucose is somehow extracted and distilled separately from the rest of the blood.

However... If you don't mind taking a dark turn, you could spin this into a world where human diabetics are farmed for high glucose blood.
Diabetics can have much higher glucose levels than humans, and while that is a big problem for anyone suffering from diabetes, it could be an opportunity for vampire wine-makers.

Wile normal blood sugar level would usually be below 7.8 mmol/L 2 hours after a large meal, diabetics can go higher - much higher. In 2001, a diabetic was admitted to a hospital with a glucose level of 147.6 mmol/L (source: Guinness World Records - highest blood sugar level)

So you could have an economy where "harvesters" track down and capture "Gilberts" (makers of vampire wine call diabetics Gilberts, after the movie Gilbert Grape), and them bring them to "wineries" where they are force fed candy (and probably also alcohol) until glucose levels spike to a lethal level, where upon they are murdered by having the sugar-rich blood drained to a fermentation tank.
Even if the blood loss did not kill the victim, the high glucose level would, from organ failure. Some blood farmers probably prefer to keep their grapes "on the vine", meaning that they are kept alive for longer periods of time, with blood drained over a number of sessions - perhaps they are even treated with blood transfusions from non-diabetics (whose blood is less valuable to the vine maker).

Keeping Gilberts "on the vine" is also referred to as "milking"; most blood wine connoisseurs prefers wine from sources that have been "squashed" (all blood drained in a single session), these wines are seen as more pure - where as milking Gilberts is seen as cheating/low quality.

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  • $\begingroup$ Since not everyone is familiar with moles, can you compare the sugar concentration of the diabetic patient with the sugar concentration of, i.e., grape juice? $\endgroup$ – L.Dutch Jul 1 at 11:37
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    $\begingroup$ @L.Dutch I am not much of a mathematician, but i think 147.6 mmol/L => 2,656 mg/dl => 26 grams of sugar (glucose) per liter. So that is still weak for making wine, but significantly higher than normal (healthy) human blood sugar levels. Since the wine maker has no interest in the health of the Grape, maybe sugar levels could be forced further up - the record bearer survived, after all. Also, the wine produced could be distilled further, to a liqueur. Would probably be bloody expensive (pun intended). $\endgroup$ – Olemak Jul 1 at 12:30
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    $\begingroup$ I like the idea of farming diabetics. Hemophiliac Diabetics would be even better because the clotting factors will be reduced. $\endgroup$ – Paul TIKI Jul 1 at 18:09
  • $\begingroup$ Excellent work on the grimdark aspect; but sadly the Vampires are still going to be quite sober! $\endgroup$ – elemtilas Jul 2 at 4:09
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    $\begingroup$ @elemtilas Thanks! I thought of a work-around for the low alcoholic content: I always figured that vampires don't digest the way mortals do, but rather, blood drawn from victims is "injected" directly in the vampire's bloodstream. So a blood wine is simply "injected" in their blood stream. Rough example: thirsty vampire has 5 liters of blood in bloodstream. drinks a pint (5 dl) of blood wine with alcoholic content 1 vol %. Vampire bloodstream now has 5.5 liters of blood with (1 vol % / 11) about 0.1% alcohol in it - tipsy vampire! $\endgroup$ – Olemak Jul 2 at 20:39
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The cheating way to do is to just add distilled alcohol to blood.

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    $\begingroup$ The cheating way is giving a bag of goon to a wino and drinking him. $\endgroup$ – Thorne Jul 1 at 1:50
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Totally Feasible

BUT

There's a caveat:

Blood is composed of a number of components: various kinds of cells(1) and a liquid suspension(2). The solids are the cellular bodies: red blood cells; white blood cells (lymphocytes, monocytes, eosinophils, basophils, neutrophils) and platelets. The liquid plasma is mostly water (good for making alcohol) with a number of proteins (albumin & fibrinogen), clotting factors, ions (the usual suspects), dissolved gasses, nutrients & wastes.

Normal blood sugar range (human) is 90 to 130 mg/dl;

Concord grape juice contains 36000mg of sugar per 8oz of juice;

8 oz is about 2 1/3 dl, so about 302mg of sugar in an 8oz serving of human blood.

Weight per weight, you get about half the amount of alcohol as you had sugar(3). So, 300mg sugar in the blood will give you something less than 150mg of alcohol whereas 36000mg of sugar in the grape juice will give you something less than 18000mg of alcohol.

If I did the maths right, your grape juice wine is about 19proof while your blood wine is about 0.02proof.

Your vampires aren't going to get very drunk off this stuff.

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  • $\begingroup$ Maybe it is possible to concentrate the raw fluid in first place? Like sea water to win sea salt? $\endgroup$ – Allerleirauh Jul 1 at 11:18
  • $\begingroup$ @Allerleirauh -- Sure: they can centrifuge off the cellular matter and then progressively perform fractionation to remove the proteins. This would leave a solution of ions, sugar, waste, gas, etc. Presumably they could then freeze concentrate that solution, mix a number of portions of concentrate together, heat it up and ferment that. Then they could perhaps get a bit tipsy, but it would be a very expensive and time consuming process. The result just wouldn't be traditional Vampire Wine, though! $\endgroup$ – elemtilas Jul 1 at 13:21
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    $\begingroup$ It is a question of decadence I think. Like a very old wine or other rare things (for example coffee from "cats excrements"). Maybe the "original blood wine" is fermented like you describe, but there are "cheap copies". For the copies people only add sugar to reach the needed level... $\endgroup$ – Allerleirauh Jul 2 at 5:48
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    $\begingroup$ @Allerleirauh -- sniff Really. Only the lowest class Vampire would stoop to such adulteration! $\endgroup$ – elemtilas Jul 2 at 15:38
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I'm going to look at this in a different manner, instead of making alcohol out of blood, you could instead increase the BAC for the blood itself to have a greater kick. You could simply feed alcohol to an animal until it drops dead from the amount of alcohol and then serve that blood. ("straight from the vein")

Look here for the inspiration for this. Basically, if you use adult humans you would get something mildly alcoholic but it might have a better effect with some other animals (or even babies). It's up to you to decide what your vamps are ok with.

*Note that there is no making an alcoholic beverage here, it's simply getting blood that can also get you drunk.
(Also humans can get a surprisingly high BAC before they kick the bucket)

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  • $\begingroup$ A typical lethal BAC for humans is around 0.4%. This is less alcohol than is in most products that are sold as "non-alcoholic" alternatives to beer, wine, etc. I don't think there would be enough alcohol here to be noticeable. $\endgroup$ – plasticinsect Jul 1 at 16:52
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    $\begingroup$ what-if.xkcd.com/98 $\endgroup$ – Nosajimiki Jul 1 at 22:01
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As @Cyn already mentioned, bloody beverages exist. Now take into account not all bloods are equal.

Ours is Iron based, Horshoe crabs got Blue blood due to Copper. Sking got Green due to biliverdin.

So feel free to order some wide array of Pints, shots and cups at your Undead friendly bar.

List of colours and typs

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