Beer has probably been around since neolithic (New Stone Age) times, having been invented something on the order of 11,000 years ago. Wine came along three or four thousand years later, but still before the beginning of recorded history. By that time, people had pretty much figured out that anything that had starch or sugar in it could be converted into a drink that would make you feel pleasantly dopey.
Distilled spirits, in which alcohol was concentrated to much higher levels than was possible with fermentation alone, date to sometime around the twelfth century, although the technology for producing them had already been around for over a millennium. With distillation, you could make firewater out of pretty much anything that would ferment. Grains (barley, wheat, oats, corn, rice), sweet or starchy vegetables (beets, potatoes, sugar cane), fruits (grapes, cherries, plums, pears, peaches, et alia) were all fair game.
But now the game has changed.
Enter James Gilpin, UK-based designer, art director, and researcher, who has figured out how to take advantage of an as-yet-untapped raw material for whisky production. His brainchild, Gilpin Family Whisky, is the first Spirituous Liquor produced from the urine of human diabetics.
|Mmmmm... whizky. (Photo ©2012 James Gilpin)|
If you think about it, it makes perfect sense. People who suffer from diabetes mellitus (literally, sugar diabetes) - particularly if it is not treated - exhibit symptoms of polyuria and glycosuria. In simple terms, you piss a lot... and that piss is sweet, full of the excess glucose that builds up in your bloodstream. In ancient days, you knew you had a problem if your honey-like urine attracted hordes of flies.
Now, it’s not clear whether Mr. Gilpin is actually taking the urine of diabetics, fermenting it, and distilling the resulting Pish-Mash to make whisky, whether he is merely adding a little Sweet Pee to an existing whisky base, or whether he is just talking about it as an exercise in thought-experimental Performance Art: I cannot say. You can go to his website and form your own conclusions. But it’s an intriguing idea, nonetheless.
Finally, a whisky I would have no desire to taste. Not even a wee dram. And yet, what better product with which to get Piss-Drunk?
Update: Leave it to my friend Kevin Kim to take it to the next level. Yeef!