New England’s Tamworth Distilling is known for pushing the flavor boundaries with whiskey. Their newest innovation is actually a pushback against an invasive marine species that will put the surf and turf into their spirits.
What’s the new ingredient they’re working with? The green crab, an invasive species of crab that is wreaking ecological and economic havoc along the New England coast. And that’s the basis of the House of Tamworth Crab Trapper – Green Crab Flavored Whiskey, which is available now for pre-order.
In a statement from the distiller, the team noted that this latest expression from the New Hampshire distillery aims to create new avenues for culling the invasive species of green crab responsible for ravaging the New England corridor of shellfisheries, destroying coastal seagrass beds, and shifting entire ecosystems.
Tamworth Distilling recruited the team behind University of New Hampshire’s NH Green Crab Project to develop this whiskey as a way of exploring new ways to weaken the crustaceans’ grip and bolster the local fishing industry at the same time.
“Green crabs are incredibly invasive, so one of my goals as a researcher is to try and help create viable fisheries and markets as a solution to help mitigate the problem,” said Gabriela Bradt, fisheries specialist with the University of New Hampshire Cooperative Extension & NH Sea Grant. “This collaboration is a really unique and exciting opportunity to do that as well as help educate the public about green crabs, climate change and sustainability.”
Green crabs can be a real pain for those who count on fishing for a livelihood, burrowing up to 8 inches in the sand and eating up to 50 clams, oysters, or mussels a day. Not only a nuisance and destructive to the ecosystem, it’s getting worse with the increase in water temperature thanks to climate change.
The green crabs have no natural predators and currently, there is no strategy in place to control their population. There is no real commercial market or fishery for these invaders.
Enter the whiskey. Tamworth Crab Trapper – Green Crab Flavored Whiskey is made from a bourbon aged four years that’s been distilled using a modified sour mash approach and the same grain bill as the distillery’s Old Man of the Mountain Bourbon (82.4% organic corn, 11% organic Maine rye, 6.6% malted barley).
More than 90 lbs. (thousands) of green crabs were harvested from the Seabrook, New Hampshire region by a local trapper and delivered to the distillery to be cleaned and cooked down to a crab stock. When cooled, it was then fortified with Tamworth-made neutral grain spirit and distilled on Tamworth’s large rotary vacuum still until the ideal crab essence was achieved.
The crustacean concoction was then blended with the bourbon base and steeped with a custom spice blend mixture consisting of paprika, bay, mustard seed, coriander seed, dill seed, cinnamon, clove, and allspice – reminiscent of a low-country boil.
As a result, the distiller’s notes show that the spirit presents strong aromas of maple, vanilla, and caramel on the nose, with the more dominant flavors like cinnamon, clove, and all-spice giving off an unexpected heat likened to what Distillery Founder Steven Grasse describes as a “briny and better Fireball.”
Grasse said that the entire team at Tamworth are passionate outdoor enthusiasts, and thus sustainability and the wilderness surrounding their facility in Tamworth, New Hampshire, is a major source of inspiration for all new products.
“The unexpected results of these wild experiments are why we love using local flora and fauna as ingredients in our spirits,” Grasse explained. “Totally, unexpectedly, crab and whiskey do in fact go together – but who knew the unique flavor combination would create an all-natural and sustainable riff on Fireball? We certainly didn’t.”
Crab Trapper (92 proof, 200 ml, suggested retail price of $65) is available in limited quantities while supplies last online through www.seelbachs.com and at Tamworth Distilling in New Hampshire and Philadelphia’s Art in the Age.
For more information, check out www.tamworthdistilling.com.
Gary Carter has been at the helm of metro newspapers, magazines, and television news programs as well as a radio host and marketing manager. He is a writer/editor/photographer/designer by trade, with more than 30 years experience in the publishing and marketing field. Gary enjoys working to build something great, whether...