Would You Drink this Ant-Infused Gin?

Image Credit: Cambridge Distillery

Looking for something unusual to put on your bar cart? Then check out Anty Gin, a collaboration between The Nordic Food Lab and the Cambridge Distillery ("the world's first Gin Tailor"), which is made from the essence of the red wood ant Formica rufa.

According to the booze's website, the ants “communicate using a host of chemical pheromones ... and they defend their complex communities by producing formic acid in their abdomens and spraying it in the direction of any invader ... Formic acid (the simplest organic carboxylic acid, with the chemical formula HCOOH) is a very reactive compound in alcohol, serving as an agent for producing various aromatic esters.”

Jonas Astrup Pedersen of the Nordic Food Lab explained via email that they’d “been working with insects ... for a period, and still do, trying to use deliciousness as argument for entomophagy,” the process of eating insects. “We came across these red wood ants and simply found the flavour astonishing.”

For those of us who don’t know what ant distillate tastes like, Pedersen compares the flavor to those of lemon and lime, and “a bit of lemongrass as well.” To balance the citrusy taste, the gin also contains “herby notes from wood avens, nettles, alexander seeds and of course, juniper.” The base alcohol is made with wheat.

To produce the first batch of 99 bottles, Forager, the appropriately named team in Kent, UK, found and preserved more than 6000 Formica rufa in alcohol. When the alcohol is distilled, the different parts of the liquid separate through evaporation and condensation. Each 700 milliliter bottle contains the essence of about 62 ants and comes with a 50 ml bottle of pure wood ant distillate.

If insects aren’t normally included in your personal food pyramid, the idea of ant gin may not strike your fancy. However, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations reported that “insects form part of the traditional diets of at least 2 billion people,” and “more than 1900 species have reportedly been used as food” [PDF]. And ants, along with bees and wasps, make up 14 percent of the “most commonly consumed insects.”

A bottle of Anty Gin costs £210, or about $321, plus shipping. Unfortunately, it’s not available in the United States, so you’ll have to try it the next time you travel to Europe.

7 Surprising Uses for Tequila

Happy National Margarita Day! While you could celebrate by having a few drinks, you could also skip the hangover by unlocking one of tequila's amazing abilities outside of the glass. Many spirits are useful for activities beyond sipping (vodka, for example, is a great stain and odor remover), but tequila holds some particularly magical powers. Here are just a few of them.


In 2008, a team of scientists in Mexico discovered that when the heated vapor from an 80-proof tequila blanco was combined with a silicon or stainless steel substrate, it resulted in the formation of diamond films. These films can be used in commercial applications, such as electrical insulators, or to create one big fake diamond. Who knew that spending $50 on a bottle of Don Julio was such a wise investment?


Keeping with the science theme: In 2011, researchers at England’s University of Oxford suggested that we may one day be gassing up our cars with tequila. They identified agave, the plant from which tequila is produced, as a potential biofuel source—and a particularly attractive one, as the plant itself is not consumed by humans and can thrive in desert climates.


Scientists have long promoted the potential benefits of the agave plant for its ability to help dissolve fats and lower cholesterol. The bad news? These properties get a bit diluted when the plant is distilled into alcohol. Even more so when it's whipped into a sugary margarita.


Take three or more shots of tequila and you’re bound to pass out. A single shot can have the same effect—just not in that drunken stupor kind of way. Relaxation is one of the positive side effects of tequila drinking; a small amount (1 to 1.5 ounces) before bedtime can reportedly help you fall asleep faster and sleep more soundly.


Too much of a good thing may not bring a welcome turn of events for your liver … but your colon will thank you! Researchers at Mexico’s University of Guadalajara have identified the blue agave as a potentially helpful source for delivering drugs to the colon in order to treat colitis, IBS, Crohn’s disease and even cancer.


If Ernest Hemingway had known about the healing properties of tequila, his signature drink might have been a margarita instead of a daiquiri. In 2010, experiments conducted at Mexico’s Polytechnic Institute of Guanajuato revealed that the agave plant (which is high in fructans, a fructose polymer) could stimulate the GLP-1 hormone, aiding in increased insulin production.


“Plenty of liquids” is a well-known remedy for getting oneself out from under the weather. But expanding that definition to include a kicked-up shot of tequila makes a day laid out on the couch sound much more appealing. In the 1930s, doctors in Mexico recommended the following concoction to fight off a cold.

.5 ounce of tequila blanco
.5 ounce of agave nectar (to eliminate bacteria and soothe sore throats)
.5 ounce of fresh lime juice (for Vitamin C)

Though some people (including tequila companies) swear by its healing powers, others say it's hogwash.

Smart Shopping
16 Geeky Coasters to Keep Your Coffee Table Safe

Avoid unsightly ring stains on your coffee table with this delightful selection of coasters:

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1. FLOPPY DISKS; $22.79

Floppy disks are not obsolete—at least in your living room area.

Buy on Amazon.

2. MARIO; $20

Mario Question Mark Block Coaster Set

Unfortunately, no coins will be coming out of these coasters, but they will keep your table dry.

Buy on Etsy.

3. GAME OF THRONES; $12.99

Game of Thrones coasters
HBO Shop

Avoid a royal mess with house sigils of houses Targaryen, Stark, Baratheon, and Lannister.

Buy at the HBO Shop.

4. PACMAN; $20.95

Use these on a black table to recreate the retro video game.

Buy on Epic Giftables.

5. AGATE; $35

Rock on: These fancy agate coasters will look solid resting under your glass.

Buy on Amazon.

6. ELEMENTS; $56.99

These glowing coasters are perfect for chemists, Breaking Bad fans, and anyone who forgot to pay their electric bill.

Buy on Amazon.


Build your own coaster with this LEGO-esque design.

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8. STAR TREK; $16.63

Star Trek ship coasters

This ceramic set celebrates all the best ships from Star Trek.

Buy on Amazon.

9. DR. WHO; $22.99

Just make sure you don’t accidentally send your glass into a different time period when you set it down.

Buy on Amazon.

10. RILAKKUMA; $1.95

Rilakkuma coaster

Cover your counter space with the cute face of Rilakkuma.

Buy on Bonanza.


Set of wood burned coasters featuring the crest of each Harry Potter house

All the houses are present in this set of wood coasters.

Buy on Etsy.

12. FALLOUT; $25

fallout coasters

Just because it’s the end of the world doesn’t mean all manners go out the door: Never forget to use a coaster!

Buy on Etsy.

13. BRAIN; $19.99

This set comes with 10 coasters, each with a slice of brain specimen. When you’re not using them, you can stack them together to create a full brain.

Buy on Amazon.


Aang and his entourage face off on these wooden coasters.

Buy on Etsy.

15. BUFFY AND CO; $20

Getting totally wigged by the idea of a stained table? All your favorite characters from Buffy the Vampire Slayer can give you an assist.

Buy on Etsy.


Studio Ghibli Stone Tile Coasters

These coasters feature scenes from the classics My Neighbor Totoro, Princess Mononoke, Spirited Away, and Howl's Moving Castle.

Buy on Etsy.


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