Photo — Tamworth Distilling/Facebook
NH Distillery Wants You to Enjoy the Taste of ... Beaver?
Next time you want to substitute a vanilla, strawberry or raspberry flavor, try secretions from a beaver's castor sacs.
OK, don't really do that, but it might surprise you that the secretion — called castoreum — is used in foods and beverages.
That's why a New Hampshire distillery decided to use it to make bourbon.
Tamworth Distilling used castoreum to flavor it's Eau De Musc (that's odor of musk if you need help translating). It's a completely appropriate name for liquor containing castoreum, which with a mix of anal gland secretions and urine, is used as a musk to mark territory.
"The sac excretion exhibits bright and fruit qualities (raspberry) and rich leathery notes along with creamy vanilla aroma. These notes are also very common among barrel aged spirits, so a natural progression took place," the distillery wrote on its website. "From that structure came the addition of woodsy aroma: Birch oil, wild ginger, and fir needles. They are a great way to link the oak barrel components (vanilla, caramel, spice) to the beaver’s contribution."
The FDA recognizes castoreum extract as generally safe.
As we mentioned above, Tamworth Distilling isn't the first place to use castoreum but you'll have a hard time finding anyone who admits it unless you're in Sweeden.
The Swedes use it to make Bäverhojt, a popular schnapps, which even has its own hashtag on Instagram.
If you want to try making the drink yourself, like many Swedes do, you can find a recipe here.