True to its name, ‘Anty Gin’ is literally made from red wood ants. British distiller Will Lowe collects thousands of ants from the forests of Kent and prepares the gin at his lab-style distillery in Cambridge. The bizarre concoction is the world’s first gin to be made from insects, so naturally, it doesn’t come cheap. Each 70cl bottle costs £200 ($313), and contains the essence of 62 ants.
The idea for Anty Gin came about when Danish organisation Nordic Food Lab contacted Lowe, who makes custom gins for a living. “We were approached by a company from Copenhagen called Nordic Food Lab who explore the culinary qualities of insects and argue for the eating of them in western cuisine. They asked us to come up with a gin where the typical citrus flavor came not from lemon or lime peel, but from ants.” Lowe said.
This might come as a surprise to many, but insects are actually known in the culinary world for their distinct citrus flavor. “Insects are eaten the world over and it’s only us westerners that tend to turn our noses up at them, but some of the world’s top restaurants are now using insects in their dishes,” Lowe said, adding that this is by far one of the most creative projects he’s ever worked on.
“We did a lot of research and found that the reason ants taste like citrus is because they spray formic acid as a method of defence. Hundreds of years ago formic acid was made by distilling ants, and so that’s what we decided to do,” he explained.
Lowe started with 6,000 ants and soaked them in high strength ethanol. He then distilled the liquid to make an ant concentrate, which he mixed with juniper, stinging nettle, wood avens root, alexanders seeds, and other botanicals foraged from the forest.
“The result is a spectacular, one-of-a-kind gin that is being very well received worldwide,” he said. “People are astounded at how good it tastes. It’s expensive because it is so labour intensive – Anty Gin was almost a year in the making.”
Lowe revealed that wants his creation to shock and surprise people. “The whole point of Anty Gin is to open people’s eyes to the possibility of insects being used as a viable source of food and flavor.”
via Daily Mail