New Hampshire’s Tamworth Distilling is no stranger to unusual spirit releases. Just look to past bottles, like The Deerslayer Whiskey and Eau De Musc, two limited-edition releases made with venison and beaver castoreum, respectively. Then there was Bird of Courage, a roasted turkey-flavored whiskey that made Thanksgiving tables more festive.
Now, the enterprising distiller is back at it with Crab Trapper, a new whiskey that’s flavored with green crabs, an invasive species that is wreaking ecological and economic havoc along the New England coast by ravaging shellfisheries, destroying coastal seagrass beds, and disrupting ecosystems.
Tamworth enlisted the team behind The University of New Hampshire’s NH Green Crab Project, whose researchers wanted to mitigate the crustaceans’ damage to local fisheries while helping to educate the public about green crabs, climate change, and sustainability.
Crab Trapper is made with a bourbon that’s aged just shy of four years, and then steeped with a custom crab stock, corn, and spice blend mixture that’s reminiscent of a low-country boil. The crab is lightly present on the nose, accompanied by coriander and bay spice. The body carries hints of maple and vanilla oak, and the spirit finishes with warm notes of clove, cinnamon, and allspice. Tamworth founder Steven Grasse describes the result as a “briny and better Fireball.”
Grasse and his team are outdoor enthusiasts, often inspire by the natural flora and fauna around them. But even he was surprised that this experiment worked.
“Totally unexpectedly, crab and whiskey do in fact go together,” he says. “But who knew the unique flavor combination would create an all-natural and sustainable riff on Fireball? We certainly didn’t.”
Tamworth distiller Will Robinson explains that, as ocean temperatures increase, the green crab population continues to explode in the area. “There is no strategy in place to control the populations of green crabs, and there is no real commercial market or fishery for these invaders.” He says that green crabs are edible, but notoriously low yield, so it’s difficult to use them in traditional culinary preparations. Enter Crab Trapper, a unique means of addressing the problem, while giving Tamworth’s loyal fans another fun, off-the-wall creation.
Crab Trapper costs $65 and is available in 200 mL bottles, presumably because it’s a very limited release–but maybe no one needs a full-size bottle of crab-infused whiskey. If you want to try it for yourself, you’ll need to trek to Tamworth’s distillery in New Hampshire or Art in the Age in Philadelphia, or just purchase it online via Seelbach’s. Then pour yourself a glass and feel good about your efforts to help contain the invasive green crab population.