Known for riding off the front of group rides only to be caught in the first mile, CJ got back on a road bike and realized he must win the Donut Derby at least once in his life. Regularly pledging he's "not a climber," he can be found as a regular attendee of Trexlertown's Thursday Night Training Criterium or sitting on the couch watching Paris-Roubaix reruns. CJ has been a constant rider of the Hell of Hunterdon in New Jersey and races the Tour of the Battenkill before going into seasonal hiding on cross-country ski trails.

Review: Untapped Ginger Mapleaid Mix ($30 USD)

Review: Untapped Ginger Mapleaid Mix ($30 USD)

In the snack food industry it is referred to as ‘mouth feel.’ On top of having a satisfying taste that leaves one wanting more than provided, snack food needs to have a suitable feeling while consuming. Chips, cheese curls, and popcorn all have a satisfying crunch to work through. There are no soggy snacks in vending machines, nor will one find hard tack to shatter teeth. The snack food industry spends untold amounts of money to find that perfect balance to keep consumers wanting more.

 

Conversely, Untapped Slopeside Syrup does not make snacks for vending machines. Their concoctions are for on-the-go consumption during bike rides and races, peak bagging, or up the chair lift in the winter. Untapped emerged on the scene a few years ago with single serving Vermont maple syrup packets for athletic consumption. Since that time they introduced several flavors of stroopwafels. Recently they released two drink mixes. With our strong love of a drink called switchel, we excitedly ordered up a one-pound bag of their Ginger Mapleaid mix. We’re even sipping on it as we write.

 

We have written about switchel before. It is a beverage with no known origin, only speculation. It also lacks a known recipe. As stated in our other article, New England may be the origins (Untapped country) and the main ingredient is maple syrup (Untapped specialty). Throw in a healthy amount of ginger, sugar, apple cider vinegar, and another sweetener – we use cherry juice concentrated  – and mix it with water. You have yourself what has been dubbed America’s first thirst quencher. Rumor has it New England farmers consumed switchel daily in the pre-tractor eras.

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What better way to test Untapped Ginger Mapleaid drink mix than with a scorcher of a day? The summer cycling season has officially started at our offices, so after a stretch of supremely pleasant weather the mercury climbed into the nineties. We loaded up the bike with two bottles and went looking for some of the hottest places around.

 

Before we begin, there are some things to know about Untapped Ginger Mapleaid. When scooping it out of the package, hold your breath. The powdered ginger is heavily present and heavily mobile. That means it is easy to inhale causing slight coughing fits. Also of note, one must love ginger. Luckily we do. It gives one a mouth feel of unexpected enjoyment.

 

We plodded down roads with little shade. It was the middle of the day. The radiant temperature was cooking us from below while the sunshine baked from above. Typically I am reluctant to sip from water bottles because I cannot find a quenching carrier. Today, though, I squeezed the bottle to try Untapped’s attempt at drink mix. There was the mouth feel of ginger. It had the spiciness of the root as well as the sweetness of maple syrup. It was thirty minutes into the hot ride and suddenly I found myself going back to the water bottle regularly. For the first time in a long time I was encouraged by hydration. 

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Though the liquid was hot, it had immense flavor. The zing of ginger created a new experience while riding. The lingering spiciness reminded me more could happen with another squeeze of the bottle. I was more than obliged to keep going back. Oftentimes on hot days a drink mix will taste diluted and unappetizing or too sweet and difficult to return to. Ginger Mapleaid was exactly what I wanted on a hot day. It even had a slight foamy viscosity lingering post shake. It was just the beverage to have while riding past farm fields recently prepped for the next round of crops. 

 

In a sort of curiousness we mixed up some Untapped Ginger Mapleaid post ride with cold water and ice. Would the same properties exist under colder – and more satisfying – conditions? Happily the tingling of ginger was still present and the foamy head of dehydrated maple topped the glass. If we’re not careful, we could consume all nineteen servings in one day. 

 

If mouth feel is an important aspect to consumption, then Untapped Ginger Mapleaid has done it right by adding copious amounts of ginger to make its switchel spicy and satisfying. With the crispness comes the desire to revisit it during and after the ride. I have a feeling the days of returning home with water bottle ballast is over when carrying Untapped. As summer heats up staying hydrated is key. Now there is a drink mix to consider adding to the water-bottle-per-hour consumption rate. Make sure you hold your breath when scooping the powder into the bottle.

Events: South Mountain Cycle & Café Criterium

Events: South Mountain Cycle & Café Criterium

Essay: On the Ode to Liveries

Essay: On the Ode to Liveries