Growing up in the ’90s made me a sucker for a well-marketed beverage. In my later years of high school, there were so many empty Sobe bottles in my backseat it sounded like an alcoholic trucker had taken up residence in my Ford Taurus. I experimented with a wide variety of Nantucket Nectars. Don’t even get me started on the Coolatta.
In my adult years, most of the beverages that have separated me from my money with the promise of improved health and mental clarity have been sold in cardboard boxes. I tried unflavored coconut water, but since I’m not a fan of coconut-flavored things, I loathed the flavor, even when cut with flavors I do like.
I’d read about the maple water product craze. If it’s good enough for triathletes with a fetish for unprocessed foods, surely it would make me feel better after a workout? Like all good New Englanders, I was raised on real maple syrup. I love maple-flavored things, from pancakes to ice cream to this amazing milkshake I used to drink at the Hopkinton State Fair in New Hampshire. After a particularly strenuous recent workout, I spied a tiny container of maple water at my gym. $2.83 later, I was walking down the street, sipping and waiting for… something.
While the maple water has a light maple flavor to it, it was almost too faint. I wanted more in my initial few sips. Where was the sweetness? That syrupy cling to the tongue and lips that indicates you’ve partaken in the glory that is real, sweet, delicious maple syrup? Not in my water.
Alas, much like chugging an actual glass of straight maple syrup, the flavor became overpowering while still being unsatisfying as I reached the end of the container. I felt like my breath was turning sour as I drank it. Once I’d finished the package, I was still parched and felt none of the effects of the well-advertised nutritional benefits. Disheartened, I tossed the empty container into the trash and headed home to enjoy what is perhaps my favorite and most effective post-workout drink: a tall glass of cool tap water.