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Distiller recycles spat-out wine by strangers and turns them into a new drink

Sound disgusting but interesting... Would you like to taste?

An Australian distiller has taken the concept of recycling to a whole new level by turning the spat-out wine into brand new drink named Kissing a Stranger.

Photo via Poor Tom’s Gin Distillery

Peter Bignell was first struck by the idea at the Rootstock festival in Sydney, a gathering of winemakers from all over the world promoting sustainable practices in the winemaking industry.

He was in a group tasting wines, and as per tradition in wine-tasting, the majority of it was spat out in a bucket. This practice enables tasters to experience a lot of different wines while avoiding drunkenness.

Photo via Jean Marc Rosier

Bignell saw it as wasteful. "I hate waste, absolutely hate waste," he said. So he came up with an idea that why not took that spit bucket home and distilled it and brought it back next year for other to taste.

Bignell then arranged with the organizers of Rootstock to collect the wine dregs after the conference and he finally got 500 liters of wine. Twelve months later, he had transformed the spit bucket wine into an 80-proof clear spirit called Kissing A Stranger, with a taste comparable to unaged brandy. He brought most of the beverage to the 2017 Rootstock festival but also left some to age.

Photo via Rootstock Sydney

"People go around for tastings, they pour quite a bit in the glass, and they have a little sip, and they want to try another one, so they tip it out again," Bignell told The Guardian. "They are going to collect the buckets again this year and keep making it. It’s all about sustainability."

But is it safe to drink distilled spit?  Tom Ross, associate professor in food microbiology at the University of Tasmania, assured that it should be safe. "Mostly what you’d be worried about is transmission of microorganisms, germs," he said. "But the heat in the distillation process should get rid of most of those. The rest should be fairly harmless because they were foods before you started; [the] only thing that's been added is the saliva. I don't think there's much of a health risk from it."