Viking drinking horns are no longer a thing of the past. Though most people still reach for regular cups, glasses, or mugs when they need to drink, a lot of people are also interested in using unconventional drinking vessels.

Drinking horns were widely used in ancient times. It supposedly began with the Scythians, who carried on through the Middle Ages. In the Modern Period, there was a decline in its use when glass, metal, and wooden drinking vessels came to be, but now, Viking drinking horns are making a comeback.

If you’re curious to know the process on how drinking horns are made, keep on reading.

Finding the Horn

A Viking drinking horn comes from animal horns. It can be from a cow, ox, or buffalo. Different horns from those different animals each have their own characteristics that make them unique, such as patterns and melting points.

For businesses that sell drinking horns, they can get the horn from the animals if they have a cattle farm, and they’ll be getting their materials from their own resources. However, for those who don’t own cattle farms, they can also get horns from meat stores. The general public doesn’t usually buy the parts that aren’t consumable such as the bones and horns.

Another way, which is a bit more complicated and may even take a lot of time, is to go hunting. Going out in the wild to find a buffalo to hunt is more for the hobbyist drinking horn maker.

Cleaning the Horn

The raw horns you get once cut off from the animal are not hollow. Drinking horn makers remove the marrow to make it suitable for drinking. For those who get their horns from horn stores, it may already be marrowless. But for those who have farms or go hunting, they’ll have to clean it out themselves.

There are two ways to remove the core, which is the marrow, from the outer horn:

  • Boiling – Boiling is the quick method to remove the marrow. Boiling softens the core, which will make it easy for the maker to scrape it out. It’s a messy process, but it’ll be clean in no time.
  • Drying – If you don’t want to create a huge mess because of the softened marrow, you have the option to leave the horn in a warm and dry spot. The core will naturally separate from the outer horn, but it will take a lot of time.

After removing the core, any remnants of the marrow needs removing, too. Drinking horn makers usually do it by pouring warm water and then scraping it off. They do it repeatedly to make sure that all the fleshy material gets removed.

Styling the Horn

Drinking horns can come in different styles. You are not limited to a single shape or design. But, of course, if you prefer a natural look, you’ll always find those options.


There are drinking horns that retain their natural shape. Makers don’t mold it to form new shapes, so it stays the way it is, which has an opening, a slim and slender body, with a pointed tip. Drinking horns like those that get cut, cleaned, and polished without further embellishments.

If you prefer a modernized drinking horn, there are plenty out there. Makers can mold the horn into a different shape. They do this by heating it and reshaping it when it softens. The process is a bit complicated because, as mentioned, horns have different melting points, and if the maker is not sure how to estimate the right temperature, pressing the horn too early or too late can result in breaking, which will make it useless.


Engraving makes the horn a little more personalized. Some drinking horn makers offer customization by letting you choose what engravings to put on your order. You can have your name or ask for it to have a Game of Thrones theme if you’re a fan, or whatever you might like that they can do.

Again, engraving is another complicated process. Carving too deep may put holes on the horn, which will make it useless as a drinking vessel. However, it can still be excellent home decor. If you work from home and put it on your desk, at least you have something interesting to look at when you need a break.


In ancient times, drinking horns didn’t have coatings. People in the olden days hollow it out, and then use it as it is, without coating the inside. People today may find it repulsive because there could still be a lingering taste or smell of the marrow. It also makes it prone to damage if you use it for dairy or acidic drinks.

To make the drinking horn last long, makers coat it with food-safe finishes so it protects the horn from any damage that some beverages can do. If it has a coating such as beeswax, it can hold any drink without any structural damage.

Final Thoughts

Drinking horns are starting to gain popularity these days. Unusual things like these catch the interest of people, which could be why there is a rise in the number of drinking horn sellers. Of course, popular culture may have something to do with it, too.  Shows like Game of Thrones and The Lord of the Rings have a historical setting where people use drinking horns. Whatever it may be, drinking horns is fun to have, and the process of its creation is also an interesting part of why they are so fascinating.


Feel free to ask questions, send feedback and even point out mistakes. Great conversations start with just a single word. How to write better comments?
Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

You May Also Like

2014 – Most Googled Games in Indian States

The folks from coupon sharing website have created an interesting infographic featuring the list of games that were Googled most in different states of the country. The image below is the result of their statistical analysis of Google Search by Indian users for gaming specific keywords. It enlists 33 games from 33 Indian states & union territories. See which…

Seven years on

5  7 years on, is something extraordinary for a hopper like me! Just saw a notification on the admin bar (which’s solely powered by Jetpack – a child of that I have reached another milestone with blogging platform. Started on 13th September 2010 – my journey with & Automattic, has completed its fifth year. Wonderful, enriching…


2014 was an amazing year for me. Things didn’t went that wrong, like they did in 2013 and year before that. Both my online and offline lives went smooth. This post is a summary of things I did/learned in 2014. It has primarily a personal approach and doesn’t intend to force any show-off to readers. 2013 : Learning with troubles 2013 had…

Welcome 2012 – The National Mathematical Year in India

I was very pleased on reading this news that Government of India has decided to celebrate the upcoming year 2012 as the National Mathematical Year. This is 125th birth anniversary of math-wizard Srinivasa Ramanujan (1887-1920). He is one of the greatest mathematicians India ever produced. Well this is ‘not’ the main reason for appointing 2012 as National Mathematical Year as…

I am not the Ghost Hunter.

  I am mohan kattimani. I lived navi-mumbai. sanpada yesterday i join in ppi course and i submitted in course fees 40,000 (21-8-2014)and my scan copy. i let he no when i started  in this course.i like work in grip team. i hope future we work in together ghost hunting. my cell no {redacted}. please sir when you have time reply…