A horn is extracted from ox and buffaloes to convert it into drinkable vessels since middle age. Since historical times, mankind has hunted and reared animals to meet their daily needs; acquiring a drinkable horn vessel was one of them. The legacy of drinking horn lovers started ages ago, where people extracted and processed horn into drinkable vessels to consume several beverages such as ale, mead, wine, and milk. Thus, viking drinking horns have become an integral part of the historical culture, which is still flourishing in the modern age. Let’s get insights into how drinking horns have evolved from the ancient period to the modern era.

History of drinking horns

History of Viking Drinking Horn
Ox and buffalo horns have been used as drinking vessels for longer than we can imagine. The era of drinking horns started in the 7th-8th century BC. The ancient time when mankind was dependent on nature and animals to fulfill their basic needs such as clothes, food, and utensils, in which they could eat and drink. Drinking horns were one of those utensils, which people widely used to drink beverages. However, drinking horns have been best known as a practical drinking vessel to symbolize the hallowed past.

How drinking horns are made

Viking drinking horns are originally made from ox and buffaloes. To convert those horns into drinkable vessels, first, the inner core of the horns is removed. Next, the horns are boiled in water, followed by the scrapping out of the softened marrow to achieve this. After removing the core, the horn is once again softened through boiling or soaking. The artisans then press the horns to give it the desired shape.
Once the horn is formed, it is coated with a specially formulated food-safe water-based coating to make it suitable for drinking purposes. Next, the horn is further polished to give it a shiny look. At last, it is embedded with metal details or carved with etchings based on its design. After the last step is completed, the horn can also be personalized with engraving according to personal preferences.


The horn is naturally divided into two sections, i.e., the outer layer and core. The procedure for removing the core can be messy and complex, as it requires the horn-makers to boil the horn until it's soft and then remove the marrow completely. The thickness of the outer section of the horn once the core is removed varies from animal to animal. The core can also be removed using other methods where the horn maker boils the horn and leave it to dry until the core naturally separates from the horn.
The next step is pressing the horn to fit a design. It can be done either by the ‘hot’ or ‘cold’ method.
Cold method: The cold method involves using the natural shape of the horn without needing to mold it. A professional artisan can give a beautiful design to the horn using rasps, lathes, and other hardworking tools. 
Hot method: In this method, the horn is heated until its core becomes soft and removable. Here, a skilled artisan is required who is knowledgeable regarding the melting points of different horns. However, if the horn exceeds that point, it will become unusable. Therefore, using the correct temperature is necessary to make the horns pliable. 
Once the core is removed from the horns, it is then pressed into its designated shape. Back in 1700, the horns were pressed using heated iron plates to fuse and shape the horn parts. Once the horns are formed, they are cleaned and polished to give a shiny and smooth look. 

Modern use of horns

Since ancient times, viking drinking horns have been used to offer beverages. As time has evolved, drinking horns have emerged in various shapes, sizes, and designs. In the modern age, drinking horns are used in various forms, including viking horn cup, viking shot glass, drinking horn mugs, vessels, horn shot glass, viking drinking horn with stand, and bowls. These can be found for drinking purposes or as a centerpiece and wall showpiece at several homes and lounges. 
Drinking horns are originally made from animals' horns, which is itself a great material to use as a showpiece at your home. It grabs the attention of guests and adds a great feeling to the environment. Ancient drinking horns are a unique product to be used for home décor. 
The popularity of drinking horns has increased throughout the years, resulting in its wide usage at various clubs, bars, and homes.