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A selection of surrogate alcohols from the Soviet Union / Image: Disgusting Food Museum/Andreas Ahrens

The Disgusting Food Museum – situated in the southern Swedish city of Malmö, just a quick whizz over the Øresundsbron bridge from Copenhagen – is as it sounds: a collection of weird, wonderful and plain stomach-churning edibles from around the globe. But a new exhibition looks to dive into a headier array of problematic potables. Namely, disgusting alcohols.

A beer-filled taxidermy squirrel isn't even the oddest thing on show here / Image: Disgusting Food Museum/Andreas Ahrens

Blunt nomenclature aside, the museum is actually an inclusive celebration of the fact that one person’s disgusting is another’s utterly delicious – and that by embracing these differences we could help counter skyrocketing problems of sustainability and welfare in the global food chain.

French escargot sit alongside representations of fruit bat soup from Guam; tins of Surströmming – seriously punchy fermented herring from Sweden – alongside Sicily’s maggot-infested casa marzu cheese. There are frog smoothies from Peru, and putrefying bean curds from China. The famously heady durian fruit gets a look in too, obviously. 

A bottle of herring-cask single malt Scotch / Image: Disgusting Food Museum/Andreas Ahrens

But much of the booze on show is objectively less outré, if still challenging. There’s a 55% ABV beer that comes in a taxidermy squirrel (made by Scottish craft beer pioneers BrewDog). Soviet-era surrogate alcohols. The intensely bitter but rather innocuous Italian aperitif Fernet Branca (beloved with cola by Argentinean students), Nordic ant-infused gin and herring-cask Scotch. Things do get a little more esoteric, though, with an Icelandic sheep-dung smoked whale testicle beer, spit-fermented corn meal ale from Peru and an archaic (and incredibly rare) South Korean wine containing fermented faeces all on display. Bottoms up, eh?

Ant-infused gin from the Cambridge Distillery and Nordic Food Lab / Image: Disgusting Food Museum/Andreas Ahrens

“Our different drinking habits vary by country just like our food habits do,” explains museum director Andreas Ahrens of the show. “We have found the strangest, most interesting, and challenging alcohol types from the world.” In any case, each and every tipple on display is a tribute to the great ingenuity people have shown to get tipsy throughout history. Surely it’s worth drinking to that?

The Disgusting Food Museum’s disgusting alcohol exhibition will run until the start of December. Find the museum at Caroli city, Östergatan 12.

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