10 Liquors Made With Crazy Ingredients
Spirits snobs may chuckle over “crazy” flavored spirits like pumpkin spice whiskey and bubblegum vodka, but those don’t have a patch on these stomach-turning ingredients. The offending distilleries claim these shocking ingredients have actual flavor merits (they never dreamed of getting attention on a gimmicky list like this, they swear!), but regardless, they deserve a spot on your booze bucket list. Here, 10 of the most insane liquors you need to try once—if you dare.
The most Alaska thing to ever Alaska, this vodka is infused with wild Alaskan smoked salmon to create a funky, fishy flavor that’s a great match with a Bloody Mary or Dirty Martini. That doesn’t make the production process any more appetizing, however. It involves skinning, deboning, de-fatting and grinding up the salmon, marinating the masticated salmon in ethanol and straining that essence into vodka. Delicious! If you want to embrace Alaska the vegetarian way, the distillery makes other unlikely vodkas from indigenous fireweed and birch syrup.
Pechuga may translate from Spanish to “breast,” but no, this mezcal does not taste like raw chicken breast. A traditional method, pechuga production involves washing a whole chicken breast in running water for three hours to remove any grease, then suspending it by strings inside the still (in the vapor, not the liquid) for 24 hours. Del Maguey says this balances the mezcal’s fruity flavors, but we still think it sounds like witchcraft. Distillers then hang the pechuga in the family Altar room to symbolically represent the heart. Oh. Good. Definitely not witchcraft then.
For anyone who has recurring nightmares about colonies of ants swarming their body (*raises hand*), this is not the gin for you. The realistic image of hundreds of ants piled in the bottle is terrifying enough, never mind the fact that each bottle is distilled from approximately 62 real wood ants.
This green vodka is infused with the spicy, sharp Asian condiment usually reserved for sushi, giving it a fiery, horseradish heat. While it might make a killer Eastern riff on a Bloody Mary, we suggest you don’t take this as a straight shot to avoid a Princess Diaries-style scene.
Finally, someone has stepped up to provide something literally nones of people have been clamoring for: liquor infused with animal genitalia. Sold in supermarkets across China, this seemingly innocent bottle of rice wine is infused with the holy trinity of animal penises: seal penis, deer penis and Cantonese dog penis. Drinking it is said to give men a boost of virility. If you wanted to know what the opposite of cupcake vodka was, now you know.
Made using handpicked seaweed from the Celtic coast, this gin is the preferred quaff of mermaids everywhere. The slimy sea plant sits in gin for three weeks to give it a briny flavor and light green hue, before being triple filtered and ideally, served with seafood and a dinglehopper.
The concept of vodka made from pure cow’s milk tends to throw people, but the result is surprisingly appealing. This English-made vodka doesn’t taste anything like sour milk, in fact, we liked its grassy flavor and yogurty tang so much, we named it one of the best new vodkas of 2016.
The Scoville scale measures the spice level in peppers and this hellfire vodka is infused using a 500,000 Scoville Naga Chilli pepper. For reference, banana peppers are under 500 Scovilles and jalepeños clock in around 3,500. Since that intensity may be too much for even the hottest of hot-heads, the distillery also offers a more modest variety that uses a 250,000 Scoville pepper.
Eating the worm at the bottom of a tequila bottle is for wimps. The real hardcore eat a whole dang scorpion. This vodka comes with a massive, pickled Chinese scorpion inside, which the distillery describes as the ultimate chaser. Not to mention totally safe to eat without any risk of death or paralysis (a quality we look for in all of our food).
This liquor isn’t sold commercially (for reasons that will become abundantly clear) but is produced throughout Southeast Asia by individual vendors. The liquor is usually made from rice wine and herbs such as ginseng. Then it’s infused with a entire venomous snake. The production of snake wine goes back centuries (snake venom is touted as a healing elixir in traditional Chinese medicine). We hear the liquor has fallen out of favor with today’s younger folk, since the snakes are often bottled live. Still, Fear Factor-loving tourists can’t get enough.