The 8 Weirdest Gins You Can Buy
Gin, most often, brings to mind juniper berries, citrus peels and other aromatic botanicals. But what about ants and wild mushrooms?
Over the past few years, daring distillers have proven that gin knows no bounds. Using unexpected ingredients during distillation—the more bizarre the better—they are creating a new category of insanely flavored spirits. Here are seven gins that will make you do a double take.
This Cornwall-made gin gets its wow factor from the English county’s most well-known dairy product, Cornish clotted cream. After distilling a batch of gin with 12 botanicals, the distillery lets it rest while distilling a neutral spirit with clotted cream. Then, they blend the two spirits together to create what the distillery calls a “velvety smooth spirit” spirit.
If you’ve been wondering how to get a little extra protein in your cocktails, this English gin may be the answer. The product of a partnership between The Cambridge Distillery and the Nordic Food Lab, each bottle of Anty Gin is distilled with approximately 62 wood ants. Those brave enough to order their own bottle will also receive 50 ml of pure wood ant distillate so they can accurately pick out the ant flavors in the spirit. Thanks to the formic acid the ants release, the resulting spirit is apparently quite citrus-forward.
Canada boasts many intriguing signature foods and drinks including the ever-scrumptious, curd-studded poutine, ketchup-flavored chips and briny Caesars. Now, our neighbors to the north can add mushroom-flavored gin to the list. This past summer, Quebec’s O’Dwyer Microdistillerie announced its latest creation: a gin made with five varieties of local wild mushrooms sourced from the Gaspésie Forest. Rather than a boozy embodiment of a savory ragout, the gin purportedly (and unexpectedly) tastes like honey and maple syrup.
This fantastical liqueur is made with a classically botanical-forward gin base and enhanced with a sweet, sugary liqueur. While we can’t substantiate whether or not it’s actually made with real unicorn tears, we can confirm that it contains edible silver pieces—same thing, right?
If there ever comes a time in your life when you can’t decide between a Gin and Tonic or a healthy pour of scotch, look no further than this smoky and herbal spirit. To achieve a peaty flavor worthy of an Islay scotch, distillers infuse the gin with peat- and chipotle-smoked juniper, as well as Lapsang Souchong tea and even more chipotle. Inspired by The Great Fire of London in 1666, it will make for one smoking good Martini.
Though this German gin may initially seem like a regular, everyday dry gin, it’s blended with something unusual—wine. To make Saar Gin, distillers infuse neutral grain spirit with 30 different botanicals, including lavender, rosehip, sloe and almond shell. After this process is complete, they finish the spirit off with Riesling from the Saarburger Rausch vineyard.
You’ll immediately notice something strange about this gin: It’s bright, poppy blossom hue. Distillers use saffron in both the distillation and the finishing of the spirit, giving it a gorgeous color and spiced, floral flavor. Made with eight other botanicals including iris, coriander and fennel, it’s a lively match for even the simplest gin cocktails.
There’s no need to relegate seaweed to sushi: Welsh distillery Dà Mhìle infuses its gin with seaweed gathered from the Celtic coast. The seaweed infusion rests for a full three weeks before it’s strained and filtered three times to rid the spirit of a slight greenish tint. The idea, says the distillery, is to pair this gin with seafood—perfect for your favorite hand roll.