Would you drink tree sap?

vertical water maple water packageSo this is a thing, apparently, and it's a thing from New York that will be showing up in stores in this month: maple water.

You know another word for maple water? Sap. Not boiled down into syrup. Just "minimally" processed sap.

From the Cornell Cooperative Extension, which assisted in developing the product:

As temperatures warm and maple sap starts flowing, gallons of it are collected and boiled down to make syrup. But the subtly sweet watery sap also tastes great straight from the tree, said Michael Farrell, director of Cornell's Uihlein Forest in Lake Placid and author of a recently released comprehensive maple guide, "The Sugarmaker's Companion."
"I love drinking the sap - it's absolutely delicious," Farrell said. ...
If the popularity of coconut water is any indication, there could be a big market for an all-natural product that is mostly water with a bit of sweetness and minerals, Farrell said. In taste tests conducted at Cornell's sensory laboratory, participants preferred maple water to coconut water, he added.
The success of the product would be a big boon to the state's maple producers and forest owners, Farrell said. Cugnasca is now working with members of the New York Maple Producers Association near its western New York bottling plant to supply sap for the first batches of Vertical Water.

As mentioned above, the commercial product is called Vertical Water, and it comes in one of those Tetra-Pak containers with a screw top. Also, from the company website: "The ideal temperature for drinking it is the temperature when it first comes out of the tree: around 40°F."

How does it taste? Over at Slate, L.V. Anderson writes (asterisk added): "It tasted like ... slightly sweet water.* The maple flavor was so mild as to be almost impossible to discern." And a tester for Business Insider concluded: "All it needs is vodka."

Why do we get the feeling Canada is laughing at us right now.
____

* As for sweetness, Vertical Water says its maple water has 3 g of sugar per 8 fluid ounces (and 15 calories). For comparison, Coke has about 26 g of sugar per 8 oz, and orange juice has 21 g. (Different types of sugar have different apparent sweetness, so this is just a sort of rough frame of reference.)

Earlier on AOA:
+ A new way of producing maple syrup: "like a sugar-filled straw stuck in the ground"
+ The art and science of maple sugaring

photo: Vertical Water

Comments

Add some cayenne and some lemon juice and you can master cleanse on the go.

They've been doing the same thing with Birch sap: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Birch_sap

Would I drink it? Yes.
Would I pay for it? No.

So where do you buy?

I've been wanting a product like this since drinking sap right from a tree a few years back. Loved it.

My concern is how the "minimal processing" will change the flavor. It's very delicate stuff. But I'm hopeful they got it right. It's a delightful and refreshing drink, although I'm still not sure how much I would pay for the stuff.

Curious how much a bottle sells for at retail.

I'm with Daniel on this. I'm thinking back to how glorious sugar cane juice tastes when it is freshly pressed from the cane, and how putrid it can be from the cans they sell at the Asian market. They have to get it right.

Also I'm curious about the black walnut syrup.

@D -- right now on my street in Albany a lot of butternut trees are being tapped by Cornell, apparently researching the viability of butternut syrup production in NYS. I believe this is the third year a researcher has tapped those trees. Maybe butternut syrup would be similar to black walnut syrup.

I would definitely try this. This isn't the first product I've seen or consumed that used the "un-syruped" maple sap, and the other was delicious..

http://www.ratebeer.com/beer/lawsons-finest-maple-tripple/92732/

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