The hottest new products to hit the crowded sports-drink market are oxygen-enriched waters. These airy liquids claim to pack as much as 10 times the oxygen of regular HO and to boost energy levels, among other benefits. Hot air? Maybe. The more basic question: How do they taste? We asked Harriet Lembeck, director of the Wine and Spirits Program at The New School for Social Research in New York City, to conduct a blind tasting of four oxygen-enriched waters—and one mystery beverage.
Water: SerVen Rich ($1.19 per 1-liter bottle)
O claim: Eight times more oxygen than regular water:
Promo line: "Water without that bitter aftertaste."
Lembeck's take: "The bouquet brought to mind a sea breeze, a fresh-air smell, which was encouraging. But the taste was very flat and slightly soapy. It reminded me of medicine stirred into water, like Epsom salts or baking soda."
Water: Aqua Rush ($1.50 per 1-liter bottle)
O claim: Nine to 10 times more oxygen than regular water
Promo line: "Applying oxy-ion water immediately to a wound stops the bleeding within seconds and accelerates healing."
Lembeck's take: "Very bitter, very mineral. Boring bouquet. Wouldn't you prefer to drink water with some taste in it?"
Water: Clearly Canadian O+2 ($1.19 per half-liter bottle).