Blaz Ogorevc is something like the Balkan Hunter S. Thompson, without guns and dynamite but with a lot of satiric stories involving substance abuse. So while he's not an inherently unreliable source, he's exactly the kind of dude who'd spin a tall tale about tree-f*****g under the influence of magic liquor. Had Cracked been fooled? There's nothing we take more seriously here than fact-checking, so I stole Editor-In-Chief Jack O'Brien's credit card, booked a flight to Slovenia, and spent a week finding out.
Most of the young people I met in the capitol, Ljubljana, had stories about salamander brandy. A few claimed to have tried it, always at a party with lots of other people, never with any evidence. Some people said it was just another sort of liquor; others wove lurid stories of intense drug trips. I think most of them were lying, or at least exaggerating. But as I got further out of the city, in the medieval town of Skofja Loka (the apparent world capitol of salamander-endruggening) I ran into stories with more specific details.
Skofja Loka: Where half the bars are older than the city I was born in.
First, it was schnapps -- not brandy. Many rural Slovenians take pride in their home-made schnapps, which varies in quality from delicious to "Holy s**t why would anyone make liquor out of cumin?" Most of the folks I spoke with in old taverns across the ancient town claimed salamander brandy is not hallucinogenic: It just hit harder than normal moonshine and "took the legs out from under you." When I asked if I could find any, the answer was always the same: "Not here. But some shady rednecks in the village over still brew it."