Crab-flavored whiskey? Yes, it’s real!
A New England distillery specializing in bourbon whisky has joined the fight against an invasive crab species with an innovative solution: by using the crustaceans to create a surprisingly tasty crab-infused spirit!
When life gives lemons, make lemonade, said an old saying, and the folks at New Hampshire’s Tamworth Distillery adapted it to their region-specific problem.
From time immemorial in fact New England’s fishermen have been complaining about European green crabs devouring their shellfisheries, but with no natural predators to worry about and increasing sea temperatures working in their favor, there is little anyone can do to stop them.
Originally from Europe, the green crab made its way to New England in the early 1800s via ships and quickly flourished due to their ability to tolerate extreme conditions. The cold New England winters have traditionally kept the population down, but rising temperatures over the last 10 to 15 years have caused the specie to explode.
And a single green crab can eat 40 to 50 clams a day, which has greatly impacted the ecosystem of the region.
However Tamworth Distillery has come up with a way to fight the invasive species while expanding its business, making a crab-infused bourbon named, not by chance, Crab Trapper.
By teaming up with a local fisherman who caught thousands of green crabs, Tamworth Distillery cooked the crustaceans down to a stock which was then distilled to create the key ingredient for their product.
Using the same mashbill of 82.4% organic corn, 11% organic Maine rye, and 6.6% malted barley for its new whisky as for its popular Old Man of the Mountain bourbon, the company then steeped the blend in a mix of crab distillate and an 8-spice mix.
“It has crab on the nose, for certain,” said Steven Grasse, owner of Tamworth Distilling, adding that the whisky is actually surprisingly delicious.
It apparently tastes like “a briny and better Fireball,” giving a bouquet of vanilla, maple, and caramel, which heads into notes of cinnamon, clove, and allspice on the palate.
“What we are left with is a liquid that by its nature defies categorization,” he added. “It is not meant to be slammed as a shot at a frat party. It is meant to be sipped, shared and explored with friends who enjoy detail and depth in their lives.”
Crab Trapper is being sold in 200ml bottles on the Tamworth Distilling online shop, for $65, and It’s a limited-edition product, so if it sounds like something you’d like to try, you’d better buy fast!
The Crab Trapper whisky initiative is trying to raise awareness about the green crab problem New England is facing, as the invasive species is ravaging the entire coastline, destroying fisheries and relocating entire ecosystems.
“We are raising awareness of the problem in a way that is fun and interesting,” he said. “We want more brave souls in the culinary arts to rise to the challenge: Defeat the enemy by eating them!”
When you think of invasive species, eating them may not immediately come to mind. Despite green crabs, which have long wreaked havoc on the New England coast, are in fact edible, another problem is that there’s very little meat on them, so selling them for food is not really the best solution….
Images from web – Google Research