Unlike scorpion vodka, snake whiskey or cheap mezcal, no deceased creatures await you at the bottom of a bottle of Anty Gin. Instead, it's distilled quart by quart from an infusion of more than 6,000 foraged red wood ants and ethanol.
Created as a collaboration between The Cambridge Distillery and Copenhagen's Nordic Food Lab, the idea for the gin "evolved parallel with with our growing fascination of [red wood ants'] flavor," says Nordic Food Lab's Product Development Manager Jonas Pedersen. "[We're] trying to use deliciousness as an argument for entomophagy (the scientific term for eating bugs)."
Red wood ants produce formic acid as a defense mechanism as well as a host of pheromones. These chemicals are very reactive with ethanol, so distillation produces a citrusy flavor (from the formic acid) along with a bunch of scent compounds (from the pheromones) to yield a unique taste combination.
Anty Gin's name is also a play on formic acid's role in ant venom: it is an antigen that red wood ants spray on anything threatening their habitat.
According to the product's website, each bottle of Anty Gin contains "the essence of approximately 62 wood ants," Bulgarian juniper berries, and "a handful of prime-quality, wild springtime botanicals."
If you want a taste of the first run, buy quickly: only 99 bottles of it are available for sale. At £200 (approximately $310), they don't come cheap, but each bottle comes with a 50 ml sample of the wood ant distillate. Buggy cocktail, anyone?