Arts & Entertainment

Brewing wild: Green ants make their way to award-winning gin

By Rocío Otoya

Adelaide, Australia, Apr 10 (EFE).- The traditional knowledge of the Australian aborigines, whose culture is one of the world’s oldest, has made a splash in the world of spirits through an award-winning gin made of green ants.

Green ants, rich in protein and medicinal properties, are collected by the family of former rugby player Daniel Motlop from the land of the Larrakia people in the Northern Territory to manufacture the gin.

Daniel Motlop, the founder of the Green Ant gin brand, sold in Australian liquor stores, recently told the Foreign Correspondents Association of Australia in Adelaide that his company was the first to start marketing green ants.

Green ants, which sell at about AU$ 650 ($494) a kg, impart a citrus and coriander flavor to the gin, awarded the gold medal at the 2018 San Francisco World Spirits Competition.

The fame of the Australian insects has reached the haute cuisine of Danish chef Rene Redzepi of the two-Michelin star restaurant, Noma.

The ants at Noma are used to garnish mango ice cream sandwiches to give them that spicy citrus flavor.

Demand for green ants has not led the family of Motlop, an owner of the food and beverage company Something Wild that specializes in Indigenous food products, to put commercial interests ahead of the need to protect traditional practices and the environment.

The anthills collected from the northern forests are kept in a refrigerator to numb them, and then force the worker ants out with a blast of heat.

However, the company does not catch the larvae or the queen, Motlop explained at his stall at the Adelaide Central Market.

The owner said his company had not only generated work for his community, but also respected nature, a source of food and medicine for the country’s Indigenous people for 60,000 years.

But the harmony of the Aboriginal people, which was ruptured with colonization, has been lost in several Indigenous communities, where the Australian government has banned the sale and consumption of alcoholic drinks and where the Green Ant gin is inaccessible.

The authorities justify this “dry law” in some indigenous territories to prevent domestic violence and alcoholism even as some activists describe the measure as paternalistic and say it feeds negative stereotypes. EFE

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