Nestled away in the foothills of the Italian Alps, a new distillery is bringing a peculiar gin to life. Alpini Gin is made from Juniper berries that have been excreted by native marmots -- and it costs a whopping £500!
The grounds of the distillery -- which was once a monastery -- is home to a large madness of marmots (yes, that is the true collective term for marmots!) who are hand-fed juniper berries by distillery staff. Due to the long hibernation period of the marmots, the altered berries can be collected for just five months of the year.
"The berries are not destroyed by the digestion process," says Alpini Head Distiller Alberti Crespi, whose grandmother would cook with these berries when he was a child. "They come through mainly intact, where they are then painstakingly collected and washed by myself and my assistant. The natural enzymes in the digestive track of the Marmot affect the sweetness of the berry -- it adds a unique taste and smooth palate to the Alpini Gin."
Once collected and washed, the berries are put through the distillation process along with botanicals and flowers grown in the grounds, including iris and gardenia, which give this gin its glacial blue colour. Alberti describes the resulting gin as "citrusy and sweet, the earthy, resinous notes of juniper balancing beautifully with the rich botanical flavours."
Would you be up for trying this gin? It's certainly never been dung before!