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Anty Gin


The Cambridge Distillery, Histon, Cambridge, England, UK in conjunction with the Nordic Food Lab (the creative arm of Noma Restaurant), Christianshavn, Copenhagen, Denmark.


The Cambridge Distillery.


The Cambridge Distillery was established in Spring 2011, by husband and wife team, Lucy & Will Lowe. Will has over 15 years prior experience in the drinks industry, initially as a bartender and most recently as a teacher for WSET (The Wine & Spirits Education Trust). Based on a hobby, Will started experimenting and before he knew it had started making individual Gins for friends and family, creating the seed to start up and open this business in 2012.

Today their laboratory like distillery is based in a room in their home and is considered to be the smallest distillery in the UK. Besides distilling tailor-made Gins for institutions or small businesses (e.g. restaurants, bars etc.) and for private individuals, they also produce their own range of Gins. The botanical inspiration for these Gins is taken from the surrounding countryside while out walking “Darcy”, their dog. Meanwhile Lucy, with a background in Marketing, helps promote the business.

In 2012 the renowned chef and co-owner of Noma, René Redzepi started working with the possibility of using ants in his cuisine. The result was a much-lauded dish called “Ants”, featuring some of these duly anesthetized critters crawling over cabbage leaves and crème fraîche. From here it was only a step away from creating a suitable drink, and Michael Bom Frøst from the Nordic Lab, in conjunction with The Cambridge Distillery, began work together. This “Anty” Gin was debuted in 2013 and became commercially available at the end of 2014. We believe this is the first ever Gin to feature walking animals amongst it’s botanicals.

"Formica rufa on patrol" by Michael Hanselmann - Quaoar10 - Own work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons - http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Formica_rufa_on_patrol.jpg#mediaviewer/File:Formica_rufa_on_patrol.jpg


The base spirit is made from 100% organic English wheat and the Gin is produced using vacuum distilling equipment, where lower temperatures are used to capture the freshest flavors. Each botanical is infused (for up to several months) before being distilled individually to create a distillate. These individual distillates are blended to create the final Gin.

The ants are provided by a company, called Forager, based in Kent, UK. Led by Miles Irving, this conservationist company locates and supplies wild foods to restaurants and, is one of the UK’s most respected professional foragers. Over 6,000 red wood ants are required for each batch of Gin, with Cambridge Distillery drowning them in ethanol before distilling the solution to gain an ant distillate. This method of extracting their formic acid was first undertaken by John Ray, an English naturalist, back in 1671.

"A Formica rufa sideview" by Richard Bartz, Munich Makro Freak - Own work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 2.5 via Wikimedia Commons - http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:A_Formica_rufa_sideview.jpg#mediaviewer/File:A_Formica_rufa_sideview.jpg

The Gin is presented in a rectangular bottle with squared flat shoulders and a black wax sealed top. The bottom third of the bottle is screen printed with ants and above there is a large white square label with black text (including the gin’s name at the top), with “Nordic Food Lab” in green at the bottom. The first batch was a small run of just 99 bottles.


Distilled Gin.

Alcohol By Volume (ABV)

40% (80 Proof).

Price Range

$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$. Only available from The Cambridge Distillery in the UK, be prepared to add a further 25% for worldwide shipping.


The total number of botanicals used in this Gin is undisclosed, but it does include the following foraged ingredients: alexanders seed (Smyrnium olusatrum), herb bennet (Geum urbanum), juniper berries (Bulgaria), nettle (Urtica dioica), and red wood ants (Formica rufa).

Each bottle contains about 62 ants for their formic acid (used as a defence mechanism) that tastes like lemon citrus. The other botanicals you may be unfamiliar with, taste as follows: Alexanders is similar to celery or lovage and tastes like aromatic and bitter myrrh; and Herb bennet is a member of the rose family and tastes like cloves with a hint of cinnamon.


The name “Anty” is clearly inspired by the use of ants to partially flavor this Gin.

Tasting Notes

With much regret, we have yet to sample this Gin and would love to find out how the ants and other unfamiliar botanicals perform on the nose and palate. From the information provided by Nordic Lab and the Cambridge Distillery, we expect it to be heavy on the zesty lemon citrus, while hoping there are some nice nuances from the other botanicals. If you’ve managed to taste this Gin, please let us know what you think about it.

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