A year after being launched, the Australian Green Ant Gin has won a gold medal at the San Francisco World Spirits Competition last month. The gold medal recognises the gin as an “exceptional spirit” and “a product that sets the standard for its category”.
The gin reflects the synergy between Something Wild Beverage Company (the Indigenous-owned offshoot of native food supplier, Something Wild) and Adelaide Hills Distillery, which specialises in small-batch spirits made with native ingredients.
Green ants have traditionally been used by Indigenous Australians as medicine, but Something Wild first harvested them for René Redzepi’s Noma Australia pop-up in 2016. The demand from restaurants has since exploded, with a kilo of green ants now going for around $650.
“We have a permit system for how many we harvest, for sustainability,” explains Something Wild’s owner Daniel Motlop, a Larrakia man and former AFL player (pictured above, right). “We worked out how to remove ants from the nests and put the nests back when we’re done. The babies and the queen are left in the nest. We put them back in the bush and when we come back a few days later, they have started to regroup and make new nests.” The ants are hand-harvested by the Larrakia people in the Northern Territory.
From SBS Food