Whisky made from diabetics’ urine

I recently saw a post from the Did You Know blog over on Tumblr about how diabetic urine can actually be made in to whisky. Being a natural cynic, I wasn’t 100% certain and decided to investigate… and yes, it’s pretty much as grim as it sounds.

"The fact that I am associating alcohol with a severe medical condition has upset some medical professionals that I have met during the process of my project. This was a very deliberate provocation on my part as I wanted to have a dialogue with health care professionals about the real complications of living with diabetes."

“The fact that I am associating alcohol with a severe medical condition has upset some medical professionals that I have met during the process of my project. This was a very deliberate provocation on my part as I wanted to have a dialogue with health care professionals about the real complications of living with diabetes.”

 

James Gilpin graduated from Design Interactions in London a couple of years ago. He has Type 1 Diabetes, and being a somewhat deranged genius, he decided to draw on his own experience in the most bizarre of ways.

Older people with Type 2 Diabetes often have poorer control over their blood glucose levels. This can be seen by the high levels of sugar in their urine, which Gilpin realised he could put into good use, by fermenting it to make whiskey. The concentration of sugar makes it great breeding ground for mould and bacteria growth, perfect conditions to create whisky. Grim.

Urine fermenting to create whisky. Very gross, but quite interesting.

Urine fermenting to create whisky. Very gross, but quite interesting.

 

“Large amounts of sugar are excreted on a daily basis by type-two diabetic patients especially amongst the upper end of our aging population. As a result of this diabetic patients toilets often have unusual scale build up in the basin due and rapid mould growths as the sugar put into the system acts as nutrients for mould and bacteria growth. Is it plausible to suggest that we start utilizing our water purification systems in order to harvest the biological resources that our elderly already process in abundance?”

So where did he get all these samples of urine? Well, Gilpin started the project by asking his own grandmother. That was probably fairly awkward for him, but allowed him to iron out any kinks in the process before getting other elderly volunteers to join in with submitting their bodily waste.

Once the urine ferments in to a clear alcohol spirit, whisky blends are then added to give the delicious (!) drink its colour, taste and viscosity. When that’s all out of the way, the whisky is bottled with the name and age of the ‘contributor’. If you prefer your weekend tipple to have a personal touch, maybe you’d like this.

Yes, this one is made from his Nan's urine.

Yes, this one is made from his Nan’s urine.

 

Tragically, the whisky isn’t widely marketed. We’re really gutted about that, because there’s a great potential tagline: “Gilpin’s: The sweet smell of excress”.

I wonder how much urine I’d need to collect in order to make my own?

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