This whiskey is made from fizzy crabs and tastes like a fireball
Crab-flavored whiskey? Yes, it is a thing.
Tamworth Distilling in New Hampshire is changing things up with an innovative effort to help eradicate the invasive European green crab. The limited-edition House of Tamworth Crab Trapper whiskey is made with aged bourbon and over 90 pounds of green crab harvested from a local fisherman. Thousands of crabs are cooked in stock, blended with bourbon, and marinated in spices reminiscent of seafood boils in the Low Country.
The result is a “greater and better fireball”, according to Tamworth founder Stephen Grass. You’ll find notes of maple, vanilla, and caramel on the nose with the warm flavors of cinnamon, cloves, and all the spices adding a little heat.
“Quite unexpectedly, crab and whiskey actually go together. But who knew that the unique flavor combination would create such a natural, sustainable urge to Fireball? We sure didn’t!” said Grass.
When you think of invasive species, eating them may not immediately occur to you. But green crabs, which have long wreaked havoc on the New England coast, are actually edible.
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“People have a negative connotation of things that are quotable without quoting gas,” said Gabriella Bradt, Ph. D., founder of the NH Green Crab Project and fisheries specialist at the University of New Hampshire Cooperative Extension. “Just because it’s not supposed to be here doesn’t mean you can’t eat it.”
Bradt, who worked with Tamworth to develop crab whiskey, is considering creating viable markets and fisheries for green crab to help mitigate the problem. The green crab is very small, which is why it is often used as bait or to make broth. But you won’t steam and eat green crab like blue crab. “The amount of time it takes to get it, then process it and everything, it’s just going to drive up the price of the pound,” Bradt said.
Originally from Europe, the green crab made its way to New England in the early 1800s via ships and thrived quickly due to its ability to withstand harsh conditions. Cold New England winters have traditionally reduced populations, but rising temperatures over the past 10 to 15 years have caused the population to explode, according to Bradt. One green crab can eat 40 to 50 clams per day, which has greatly impacted the New England ecosystem.
This cooperation [with Tamworth] is a really unique and exciting opportunity to help educate the public about green crabs, climate change and sustainability,” Bradt said.
“All of us at Tamworth Distilling are passionate about the outdoors. The sustainability and wilderness surrounding our facilities in Tamworth, New Hampshire, is a key inspiration for all new products,” Grass said in an announcement. “The unexpected results of these wild experiments are why we love using local flora and fauna as ingredients. In our spirits.”
The limited edition Crab Trapper whiskey (92 proof, 200 ml, $65) is available at seelbachs.com, Tamworth Distilling and Philadelphia’s Art in the Age.
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Allison Arnold is the Associate SEO Editor at Delish, where she writes about kitchenware, food, and culture. She loves to exercise almost as much as she does to eat, and has an extensive Google Maps rating system for her favorite restaurants and bars. You can find her flinging hot in the world of food and planning her next trip, all while popping open several soda cans at once.