We didn’t rightly know what we were missing “in spirit” until now. 

You may want to take a seat for this one–Japan is ready to unleash the country’s first distilled spirit made from an insect, which is also the world’s first spirit made from tagame, a type of giant water bug.

Taiwan tagame (Latin name: Lethocerus indicus) is a species of edible giant water bug consumed in many Southeast Asian countries. You might remember their close tagame brethren from our own epic insect hotpot a few winters back. Instead of gracing the inside of a crockpot, however, this time the insects have contributed to the creation of First Essence Tagame Gin.

▼ Be on the lookout for First Essence Tagame Gin at a Japanese bar near you.

This unlikely product is a result of joint efforts between the all-in-favor-of-insect-consumption Tokyo-based Antcicada company, known for their cricket ramen and cricket beer earlier this year, and Alchemiae Tatsumi Distillery in Gujo, Gifu Prefecture. Antcicada imported the tagame from Thailand and spent considerable time developing the high-quality alcoholic beverage using Tatsumi Distillery’s ginkoro (shochu made from sake lees) and chicory shochu as base spirits. Botanicals added to the base include juniper berries and the aromatic essence of pheromones extracted from male tagame.

▼ Juniper berries and tagame

Contrary to what your eyes may be telling you, the extracted tagame essence is said to smell fruity like a pear or apple.

▼ I think I’ll stick with mulled apple cider in my kitchen, thanks.

In addition, the distillation process takes place in a rare still known as a kabutokama, which are said to have largely disappeared from Japan during the Meiji era (1868-1912).

As of now the collaborative team has produced 305 bottles of First Essence Tagame Gin. A 500-milliliter (16.9-ounce) bottle retails for 6,000 yen (US$58) at select retailers in Japan.

If all this talk of entomophagy has whetted your appetite, don’t forget to try one of the insect vending machines you can find in Japan, too.

Source: PR Times via IT Media
Images: PR Times
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