Gin with distilled wood ants

Each bottle of Nordic Food Lab’s Anty Gin contains formic acid distilled from approximately 62 wood ants.

The formic acid from Formica rufa is used for self-defense, and is "a very reactive compound in alcohol." The gin retails for £200 per bottle.

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Would You Drink Beer Flavored With Live Lobster?

Inventive breweries are going to wild ends in their attempts to make beer better (or at least, weirder). We’ve told you about an ice cream-flavored beer, one made with real Sriracha, beer that’s been to space, and even iced coffee that tastes like beer. But this latest offering, from Oxbow Brewery in Newcastle, Maine, pushes the boundaries of what you want wetting your whistle. Their new brew, called Saison dell’Aragosta, is made using live lobster.

Tim Adams, co-owner and head brewer at Oxbow, explained to Boston.com that the quirky beer was part of a collaboration with Giovanni Campari, the brewmaster at the Italian brewery Birrificio del Ducato. According to Adams, the initial plan was to create "an esoteric German beer that was low in alcohol and used wheat along with barley." But first, since they were in Maine, they went for lobster rolls.

"Giovanni turns to me and says, ‘We gotta put some lobster in the beer we’re brewing,’" Adams said. "I was slightly taken aback and hesitant, but I couldn’t say no to him. The guy traveled all the way from Parma to Maine."

They purchased a dozen live lobsters and cooked them in the boiling wort—the pre-fermented mash of sugar and yeast that’s created at the start of beer brewing.

"We cooked the 12 lobsters until they were done, and then we pulled them out and we ate them," Adams said. And if you have some boiling wort lying around, you might want to consider making lobster because he attests that, "I grew up in Maine and I’ve eaten plenty of lobster. But this was the best lobster I’ve ever had in my life."

But what about the beer?

After finishing it with some Maine sea salt, the flavor profile featured "a balance between the sweetness of the lobster, the sharpness of the acidity, and the salinity of the salt."

If you’re interested in this crustacean-inspired brew, about 3,000 bottles-worth is available at Oxbow’s brewery in Newcastle, their Portland storefront, and select Maine bars and restaurants.

[h/t Esquire]

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Now You Can Smell Like Carlsberg Beer With New Grooming Products

Carlsberg asks that you shower responsibly

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The Ants That Smell Like Blue Cheese—Or Is That Pine-Sol?

The Ants That Smell Like Blue Cheese—Or Is That Pine-Sol?

Researchers put these ants to a sniff test.

The post The Ants That Smell Like Blue Cheese—Or Is That Pine-Sol? appeared first on WIRED.





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In 1938, ‘The New York Times’ Thought Cheeseburgers Were a Weird New Fad

People love to make fun of the New York Times‘ trend section—their umpteen pieces on this millennial craze have been called "hate-reads," and their dissection of cultural norms such as oversharing, defriending people in real life, and chopped salad at lunch as "trends" can be hilarious and infuriatingly obvious.

But while their pieces perhaps aren’t exactly timely, they will certainly make for interesting reads in a few decades—just like this throwback piece on a California fad called "cheeseburgers" from 1938. In a new column called "First Glimpses," the Times is looking back at the first time certain words or phrases were used in their record of note. 

When "cheeseburger" was first mentioned in the October 1938 article, it was in a long list about the "whimsy" of California eateries. Then, nine years later in May 1947, the Times revisited the fad, writing, "At first, the combination of beef with cheese and tomatoes, which sometimes are used, may seem bizarre." But luckily, their intrepid reporter could see the bigger picture. "If you reflect a bit, you’ll understand the combination is sound gastronomically."

And now, nearly 70 years later, you can not only ask for gourmet cheeses like brie, goat, or gorgonzola on your burger—or spend upwards of $300 on one—there are multiple burger chains where you can order stacks on stacks on stacks of cheeseburger patties. That weird little West Coast fad has become a multi-billion dollar industry, and cheeseburgers are practically our national food (arguably in hot contention with apple pie). Congratulations, America! We did it!

[h/t: The New York Times]

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Would You Drink this Ant-Infused Gin?

Image Credit: Cambridge Distillery

Looking for something unusual to put on your bar cart? Then check out Anty Gin, a collaboration between The Nordic Food Lab and the Cambridge Distillery ("the world’s first Gin Tailor"), which is made from the essence of the red wood ant Formica rufa.

According to the booze’s website, the ants “communicate using a host of chemical pheromones … and they defend their complex communities by producing formic acid in their abdomens and spraying it in the direction of any invader … Formic acid (the simplest organic carboxylic acid, with the chemical formula HCOOH) is a very reactive compound in alcohol, serving as an agent for producing various aromatic esters.”

Jonas Astrup Pedersen of the Nordic Food Lab explained via email that they’d “been working with insects … for a period, and still do, trying to use deliciousness as argument for entomophagy,” the process of eating insects. “We came across these red wood ants and simply found the flavour astonishing.”

For those of us who don’t know what ant distillate tastes like, Pedersen compares the flavor to those of lemon and lime, and “a bit of lemongrass as well.” To balance the citrusy taste, the gin also contains “herby notes from wood avens, nettles, alexander seeds and of course, juniper.” The base alcohol is made with wheat.

To produce the first batch of 99 bottles, Forager, the appropriately named team in Kent, UK, found and preserved more than 6000 Formica rufa in alcohol. When the alcohol is distilled, the different parts of the liquid separate through evaporation and condensation. Each 700 milliliter bottle contains the essence of about 62 ants and comes with a 50 ml bottle of pure wood ant distillate.

If insects aren’t normally included in your personal food pyramid, the idea of ant gin may not strike your fancy. However, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations reported that “insects form part of the traditional diets of at least 2 billion people,” and “more than 1900 species have reportedly been used as food” [PDF]. And ants, along with bees and wasps, make up 14 percent of the “most commonly consumed insects.”

A bottle of Anty Gin costs £210, or about $321, plus shipping. Unfortunately, it’s not available in the United States, so you’ll have to try it the next time you travel to Europe.

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Gin made from red wood ants

The Cambridge Distillery collaborated with the Nordic Food Lab on Anty Gin, a limited-edition spirit containing red wood ant distillate. Read the rest

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40 Hot Dog Dishes From Around the World

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Image credit: Food Republic

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Whimsical grinder for making insect flour

Student Courtney Yule designed the Entopod, a "starter kit" for eating bugs.

It includes a grinder for making insect flour, detachable containers for heating the insecto-food in the oven, and more!

[via]

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