Let's up the ante

Over the past two months we have steadily grown our gin collection to encompass a wide variety of tastes, both traditional and unique. One of the most fascinating, I think is Anty Gin. Produced in the Cambridge Distillery, in conjunction with Nordic Food Labs. This unassuming gin, comes in a clear 70cl square bottle with a hand typed medicinal looking label which is typed on an authentic 1920’s typewriter, on which the ingredients are listed in their Latin form. The back of the bottle has what at first glance appears to be a black spotted pattern, on closer inspection, this pattern is in fact hundreds, if not thousands of ants.

Originally produced for restaurants, this gin was designed to inspire Westerns to step out of their comfort zones and try something different. Insects are widely consumed throughout the world, and yet that trend has never really reached our shores. The Cambridge Distillery worked to use the ants well-loved distinct flavours to produce a product for the more adventurous of us Brits.

Anty Gin is produced in batches of just 99 bottles and is the world’s first gin made from insects. It is created using the essence of 62 Red Wood ants that give the gin a distinctive citrus flavour. This truly remarkable gin may seem for only those with a strong disposition, however the taste is smooth and unlike traditional gins; this gin does not have an overpowering aroma and flavour of juniper but more subtle nettle notes. This gin is labour intensive, as the ants are foraged by hand in Kent, then when submerged in ethanol the citrus flavours come to life.

To up the ant…e a final flair of showmanship comes in the form of a small brown bottle. From this, a pipette emerges containing Ant Distillate. This clear liquid is 100% ant at pleasingly, 40% proof.

I personally believe that this gin is best enjoyed over ice, but due to the high alcohol content of 42% it’s not for the faint hearted. If you are inclined to have a tonic, I would certainly recommend a light or slim line tonic; as the lighter varieties offer a gentler taste. Often, traditional tonics have a strong flavour of quinine which in this instance would certainly over power the delicate nature of the gin.