Extreme Foods

'Booze Traveler' Jack Maxwell opens up about bizarre beverages and wildest trips

Jack Maxwell travels the globe trying different alcoholic drinks on “Booze Traveler."

Jack Maxwell travels the globe trying different alcoholic drinks on “Booze Traveler."  (Travel Channel)

If your dream job is to travel the world drinking cocktails made from insect venom or cow's blood, then Jack Maxwell,  host of the Travel Channel’s “Booze Traveler,” is the man you want to be. 

The former actor, who hails from Boston, now traverses the globe, meeting people from different cultures, while sampling some of the planets more unusual libations.

Now filming season four of the show, Maxwell says his love of travel and storytelling comes from his days in south Boston pubs, shining shoes and shooting the breeze over beers.

Fox News recently spoke with 54-year-old Maxwell in Los Angeles, and he shared a few of his favorite stories from the road, leaving our minds officially blown and our palates officially thirsty for more.

Fox News: What are some of the strangest drinks you've ever encountered? 

Jack Maxwell: I’d say in Peru, in the native villages of the Amazon, it’s called chicha. It’s made from fermented corn. Also in Peru in the market, they skin a frog, and throw it in a blender-- it’s still alive now and they blend it in front of you.

I’ve had cow’s blood with the Maasai. They cut the neck, and it goes into a gourd with honey wine.

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In Cambodia, I drank tarantula venom wine. They catch them, snip their fangs, put them in a rice-based spirit and in a few hours or days you drink it. They pour it in the glass and they put a dead tarantula in the bottom, and then it comes out and it falls on your face. And I mean a tarantula like the size of your hand.

Fox News: Have you ever gotten sick from anything you've had to eat or drink?

Maxwell: Nothing’s ever made me sick. I take all the required immunizations. Before season one or two, I had nine shots in a week, but some last for years. We’re filming season four now, but in the whole show, I’ve only ever missed taping on one episode. I got the stomach flu in Brazil. But we all got sick. The whole crew.

Fox News: Are you ever scared to be in remote places being the only foreigner around?

Maxwell: I’ve never experienced an ounce of racism. People around the world judge you based on what kind of guy you are.

No one has ever said anything to me about being white or an American. We’re sitting down over cocktails, that makes us all a little color blind -- if not blind drunk.

I’ve had to be cautious. I’ve had a boa constrictor around my neck that could have squished me. I’ve run with the bulls in Madagascar, and that was dangerous, but [I've encountered] more natural disasters than people intending to do us harm.

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Fox News: What’s the biggest surprise you’ve had while traveling?

Maxwell: I get surprised all the time and that’s the beauty of travel. The people you meet when you duck inside little cafes. The show is really focused on the people and the cultures. The drink just gets us in the door.  

I was in Norway and I found that the indigenous people have a great sense of humor. These people who were spared by the Vikings, because they thought they were shamans. They’re super-funny people.

In Mongolia, people just go walking all the time. Sometimes traveling hundreds of miles as nomads. I asked one guy what it’s like to not have a house, and he looked at me and he felt sorry for me, and he said, “The land is our living room, the sky is our roof.”

Fox News: You're on the road a lot but what do you consider vacation versus travel? 

Maxwell: Hawaii is a vacation. But to live, to feel the blood pulsing through my veins, I want to sail through a fjord in Norway.  I want to go to Turkey, a 99 percent Muslim country, and drink with folks. That’s what turns me on. You’d have to be dead not to enjoy this. I’m having the time of my life. Who knew the highlight would happen in this part of my life.

Fox News: What do you think makes you uniquely equipped to handle this kind of extreme travel? 

Maxwell: I’m good at this because I’m an Irish kid from Boston and I easily become familiar with strangers.  I have an appreciation of it and you never know what it’s going to be like with the Maasai or Sumo wrestlers. I’ve realized we have so much more in common than differences. Everyone wants to love and be loved and at the end of the day, they want to kickoff with a cocktail.

 

Rebekah Sager is a writer and editor for FoxNews.com. She can be reached at rebekah.sager@foxnews.com. Follow her on Twitter @rebekah_sager.