Maguey Sweet Sap is a product I saw on Tasting Table, an email subscription that brings a variety of harder-to-find products to my inbox. They have some really interesting things, and I remember seeing the Maguey Sweet Sap, from Villa de Patos, but didn’t at first think about getting it. I just wasn’t necessarily “in the market” for it. I do remember, however, liking the look of the packaging.
Fast forward a few weeks, and my uncle asked me if I’d heard about the product. He’s always on the look-out for new things like this that might be better, whether in taste, nutrition, quality, whatever. He even talked to Mayra, the Sales Director of Villa de Patos, Inc., who very graciously sent me a bottle of the sap to try.
When I got it, I immediately opened it up to taste it. My first impression was that it has a bit of a molasses taste, but brighter, with a touch of maybe a creme brûlée bit to it. In other words, it’s really good!
The nutrition of the sap shows that it’s lower in calories per tablespoon than most other natural sweeteners. It also has over a gram of fiber, and contains vitamin C, almost 30 grams of calcium, lots of potassium, magnesium and a bit of iron. Compared to other sugars, this seems to contain less carbs and higher nutritional value. Remember, it tastes great! And, on top of that, it seems stronger than typical sweeteners; I use less of it than honey or other sugars.
From just tasting and reading, I wanted to try it out. I’ve been adding it to ice coffee in the morning along with cinnamon, and it adds a nice, deep sweetness, even though I only put about 1/2 teaspoon in a 24 ounce glass of ice coffee. This is somewhat addictive!
Then to take things to a different area, I made a sauce for grilled pork tenderloin of a mix of coffee and Maguey Sweet Sap, along with some ancho chile, salt and pepper and garlic. I served it at my class reunion, and the feedback was very positive. I think this stuff could sell!
To push cooking aspect of the sap, I had one more thing to try… traditional bbq! I smoked spare ribs with nothing but salt and pepper. In the final few minutes, I brushed on a combination of Maguey Sweet Sap and another great product called Chile Crunch, which is a dried chili mixture that tastes really great, too.
The verdict on the ribs was that people that don’t even like ribs were looking for more of them. Compared to the ribs I also fixed that had bbq rub and a good sauce on them, these were gone in less than half the time. It’s hard to argue that this was a winner!
Then, finally, I wanted to see how this worked in a cocktail instead of sugar. I don’t do a lot of mixed drinks, but do enjoy a whisky cocktail now and then. This is just an old-fashioned minus the lemon peel. I put a teaspoon (actually less) of the sap and 2 dashes of bitters in the glass along with an ounce of filtered water and stirred it to mix up the sap, then added ice and about 1 1/2 ounces of rye whisky. After a quick stir, I tried it out. Another real winner. This basically became my go-to whiskey cocktail from now on.
I honestly can’t find the downside to the Maguey Sweet Sap. It’s simply great stuff. It’s not as bad nutritionally as other sweeteners, it has fantastic flavor. It even uses plants grown in the dessert and is organic. The flavor is very full and rich, and is easily controlled by the amount added. I now use it sauces, coffee, tea, and to brush on ribs and make the best cocktails ever!
The company will also offer gallon-sized bottles for bars and restaurants in the future. I just need to figure out how to convince Mayra I’m a restaurant to get my gallon!
One last note: the company, Villa de Patos, is a family owned business committed to sustainable development. They support local families in arid regions of Northern Mexico. The maguey plant even helps with soil erosion, an added benefit to the desert ecosystem.