Bugs are crawling their way into cocktails—but not in a way that warrants a call to the health inspector. Bartenders around the world are taking cues from places like Mexico and Southeast Asia, where consuming insects is commonplace, and incorporating bugs into Fear Factor-worthy cocktails.
Scary as they may be, using bugs in cocktails isn’t just an icky stunt. London-based edible insect purveyor Grub is striving to prove that with an upcoming pop-up dinner featuring insect-based cocktails from mixologist Tomas Lenko of Strongman’s Tipple.
“If you treat it as a gimmick rather than something amazing with value, you can’t expect people to take it seriously,” says Grub co-founder Neil Whippey. “Crickets and grasshoppers have a mild and nutty taste, while ants have a wonderful citrus flavor due to the formic acid in them, and mealworms are oaty.” He is encouraging bartenders to incorporate these unique flavors into drinks and “make their customers realize how versatile and interesting [insects] are.”
Lenko created three cocktails for the pop-up: a Toasted Mealworm Negroni, bottled and aged with a toasted mealworm-infused vermouth; a Beer, Bug and Bourbon, a lager drink made with an orange buffalo worm marmalade; and the No Espresso Martini, made with vodka, cricket powder, dandelion root brew and a chocolate porter reduction.