An American Distillery Is Turning Invasive Green Crabs Into Whiskey

  • An American distillery called Tamworth Distilling is infusing whiskey with green crabs.
  • Green crabs are an invasive species that cause ecological harm along the New England coast.
  • Around 1,000 green crabs are used to make 500 bottles of the infused whiskey.

Invasive green crabs are ravaging New England’s coast, but one distillery is fighting back.

Green crabs thrive in New England’s climate-change-warmed ocean waters. The invasive species is known to be a quicker and more aggressive predator than local New England crabs: One green crab eats 40 clams a day and lays more than 185,000 eggs a year, per Ocean River Institute. With their voracious appetites, green crabs are causing a decline in the native seafood population, per the NOAA Fisheries

To control the invasive crab population, New Hampshire distillery Tamworth Distilling has developed a green-crab-infused whiskey. Named Crab Trapper, the whiskey features a four-year-old bourbon distilled with stock made from harvested green crabs. 

A bottle of Crab Trapper

One bottle of Crab Trapper costs $65.

Tamworth Distilling

“We take the necessary quantity of crabs and clean them the same as we would if we were to eat them,” the owner of Tamworth Distilling, Steven Grasse, told Insider. “We use around 90 pounds of crab, which is over 1,000 of the little buggers, for a 25-gallon batch, or about 500 200-milliliter bottles.”

The whiskey is also made with a blend of eight spices commonly used in crab boils, Grasse said. 

“It has a nice spicy aftertaste,” Grasse said. “Some people have even unexpectedly begun comparing it to a ‘Briny Fireball,’ due to this spice effect.”

Tamworth Distilling and online spirits retailer SeelBach’s are selling a 200-milliliter bottle of Crap Trapper for $65.

This is not the first time people have turned green crabs into culinary creations. Jeremy Sewall, the owner-chef of Boston seafood restaurant Row 34, told The Boston Globe in June that he has been serving green crab soft-shell sliders at his restaurant. Ali Waks-Adams, the former executive chef at Maine’s Brunswick Inn, told NBC in 2018 that she experimented with making green crab dips, bouillabaisse, and broth. 



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