Over the years, we’ve come across spirits flavoured with just about every possible fruit, herb and spice, so we weren’t surprised to see a Japanese spirit flavoured with Mulberries. But before you flick to the next website, it was the second ingredient, the droppings from silkworms, that gave us pause.
This eau de vie, called “Sansha”, is a collaboration between The Mitosaya Botanical Distillery and Antcicicada, an experimental kitchen exploring edible insects.
Antcicada claims that silkworm droppings have been traditionally used in Chinese medicine since ancient times. Regarded as a holistic health booster, the droppings are believed to improve blood flow and relieve pain in joints and the abdomen.
According to the distiller, the spirit boasts a light green colour and the aroma of mulberry leaves. Tasting notes also describe, “deep fruitiness, an elegant fragrance like mulberry leaf tea with a slightly earthy flavour, beautiful green like gyokuro is the colour of silkworm.”
Using mulberries and silkworm droppings as the two major ingredients, the product starts with the fermentation of organic mulberries with rice spirit to form a ‘brandy’, followed by the addition of dried silkworms droppings before proceeding to distillation. The final ABV of the product is 42%.
As the droppings contain undigested mulberry leaves, which the silkworms feed on, the droppings do, in fact, contribute a refined aroma reminiscent of the plant.
According to the producers, the product shows fresh scents of gyokuro green tea, prune and seaweed, blended with the elegant aroma of mulberry and a subtle sourness. The refreshing palate makes it a good pairing with desserts.
The sale of the product on the online shop of The Mitosaya Botanical Distillery began on 26 July and the response has reportedly been so overwhelming that it is currently out of stock.
Antcicada is a group of adventurous young people who are keen on inventing insect cuisine. In June 2020, they opened a restaurant in Tokyo serving the ‘Cricket Ramen’ as the signature dish. Previously, they have also created a craft gin made with giant water bugs and beer brewed with crickets.
For more information on Sansha, go to mitosaya.com