When Whole Foods Market tried to sneak three stalks of asparagus into bottled water and sell it for $6, we–along with seemingly everyone on Twitter—were outraged. But the incident got us thinking about the old adage “if it ain’t broke, don’t try to fix it.” And while nothing is “broken” about pure water, sometimes it’s fun to dabble in new aquatic offerings. From beverages extracted from trees such as maple and birch to caffeine-infused concoctions, getting your eight glasses per day has never been this interesting. Whether you’re adding a splash to your smoothie or taking it to-go on a long hike, when plain ol’ H20 just won’t do, here are 10 exciting waters to keep you hydrated this summer.
Liquid from a maple tree that’s not syrup? You betcha! DRINKmaple collects its water from Vermont maple trees in the spring when the sap begins to run. The liquid contains 46 nutrients including calcium, manganese, malic acid, electrolytes, and polyphenols, all of which are rumored to contribute to bone health and reduction in muscle fatigue. While pouring it on your morning pancakes will have disastrous results, taking a few swigs before an intense workout is a great idea.
Maple’s svelte tree cousin, birch trees are also tapped for sap in the spring. Birch water is a popular drink among Eastern Europeans (especially in Baltic regions where many papery-barked birch trees grow) who tout the water as a forest-flavored springtime elixir that supports liver and kidney function. Birch water company Säpp’s organic beverage—which has a delicate sweetness with a sour note and is available in flavors such as rosehip and nettle—delivers a drink with half the sugar of coconuts and five times the manganese per serving than kale.
Summer’s quintessential hydrating fruit can now be found bottled whole thanks to WTRMLN WTR, which takes the entire melon (including the rind) and cold presses it into a drinkable beverage loaded with watermelon flavor (not to mention nutrients such as lycopene, vitamins A and C, and amino acids). Plus, there are no pesky seeds to spit out.
Taste Nirvana does coconut water differently. A multi-generational family business that has been sourcing its coconuts from local Thai farms since 2003, this water goes from coconut to bottle in one day in order to preserve freshness. The result is a crisp, slightly sweet coconut water that serves as the perfect smoothie base.
Sticking a straw into cactus is dangerous, but lucky for us several companies have extracted the plant’s liquid so we don’t have to. True Nopal and CALIWATER create their cactus water with the help of prickly pears—the fuchsia-hued fruit that grow atop mature nopal (or paddle) cacti. The water contains 24 skin replenishing betalain antioxidants and electrolytes, which means you can cancel your appointment to the day spa.
We were apprehensive before trying Black MP Living Water’s black-colored water, but if you close your eyes, it tastes just like the clear stuff and comes with myriad benefits. First, the fluid is highly alkaline (ph 10), which counters free radicals and lubricates joints. Sourced from the Rocky Mountains, the water is also loaded with humic and fulvic minerals, which decreases oxidative stress, boosts enzyme production, and helps regulate hormones.
7. Aloe vera
Turns out, aloe vera isn’t just for applying topically when you’ve had too much sun. Case in point: aloe vera water, which keep your skin smooth, as it contains 200 bioactive components that boosts cardiovascular health. We like ours with pulp-pieces of the inner aloe plant leaf—but it’s available strained of plant particles as well.
8. Water Joe
Water Joe combines caffeine and water in a way that won’t leave you parched. This miracle drink was created by a college student in 1996 who added tasteless caffeine to pure water to create a beverage with an energizing kick—to the tune of 70 milligrams of caffeine per 20-ounce bottle (a little less than a cup of coffee)—but without the long ingredient list typically found in energy drinks. Does it taste or smell like coffee? Nope. Just clean, fresh water.
Defunct brand Arty Water—which made artichoke-based water that’s much tastier than it sounds—will soon be reincarnated as one of the three flavors (including Rose and Ginger waters) by new company Botanic Waters. While it doesn’t taste quite like spinach artichoke dip, it does have a distinct vegetal flavor with the same nutrient-density (folic acid galore!) as the vegetable from which it’s derived.
Upon popping open a bottle of Elmhurst Naturals’ Banana Water, we were expecting to taste a creamy smoothie heavy on the banana flavor. What we tasted was a subtly flavored water perfumed with the essence of banana. Each bottle retains the fruit’s high potassium content in flavors such as Original, Mango, and Passion Fruit. Banana daiquiris, here we come!
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