This is a fascinating, refreshing and healthy thirst quencher that brings with it the essence of mountain air and clear lochs. Birchwater is an ancient drink, harvested sustainably from birch woodland and sold beautifully bottled for the table & whisky mixer. It is pure, refreshing and delicious. These ancient birch trees are unique to Scotland due to geographical position, climate and topography.
Highlanders believed Birchwater to have health benefits to liver and kidneys. Babies whose mothers were very poor and dietary deficient would be given birch sap to help restore their health and give them energy. Birchwater can be used as the liquid to make porridge, and for poaching fish. It is delicious as a non-alcoholic drink and also as a mixer with spirits.
Available online from Birken Tree (the ancient Scots word for birch tree) who harvest Pure Highland Birchwater and produce Birch products: ‘Rob and Gabrielle are a husband and wife team, whose combination of professional forester and herbalist, along with their friends Elspeth & Euan, have led them on a journey to revive the folk knowledge surrounding the use of Birch trees that was once widespread in the Highlands.’ They carefully select only the most venerable birch trees that range in age from 100 – 250 years old.
Harvesting only lasts for three to four weeks during early Spring when the Highland forests awake from their Winter slumber. Nutrient-rich water is drawn up through the tree’s capillary structure and converted into mineral-rich sap to enable the tree to come back into leaf again.
Like our ancestors, Birken Tree carefully hand tap the trees and collect the Birchwater, taking only 1-2% of the liquid the tree draws up on a daily basis. This process, carried out for generations, is sustainable, non-invasive and completely harmless to the tree itself. The small holes are ‘re-plugged’ with birch wood after tapping has been completed.
Birken Tree not only produces the finest Birchwater but also actively manages ancient birch woods in Highland Perthshire to ensure these woodlands are cherished and thriving for generations to come.
Most photos © Birken Tree
Birchwater is boarded on Slow Food Ark of Taste. https://www.fondazioneslowfood.com/en/ark-of-taste-slow-food/birch-water/