HOW ABOUT A SHOT OF CABBAGE TREE TEQUILA?
With the exception of its wines, New Zealand has little to offer in the way of indigenous beers and spirits. To counter that, food science students of Auckland University of Technology (AUT) have been researching how to create the country’s first national alcohol: cabbage tree tequila. AUT Associate Professor Owen Young and his students have been working on a way to create a Kiwi brew and have re-created a colonial-era spirit made using the starch of native cabbage trees or “ti kouka”. “First the missionaries have made a cabbage tree rum and we’re trying to recreate that, and wine and whiskey are also on the list, with toasted New Zealand woods replacing traditional oaks in the wine-making process,” said Young. Any one of these new drinks would give New Zealand the “geographical exclusivity”. One student was close to making a naturally-flavored alcohol from milk products while doing her Masters degree in applied science. Though she did not quite get the desired product, she got close to inventing tequila- and rum-flavored drinks using amino acids and lactose. Alcohol made from whey, a milk product, was already produced by the dairy industry and used for RTDs because it was cheap to ferment and sweet. Let’s hope they taste better than they sound!