Has this couple launched a liquid gold rush?

This is better for you than a glass of milk, says Cranberry Bistro owner James Smith, holding up a small bottle of colourful liquid.

This is better for you than a glass of milk, says Cranberry Bistro owner James Smith, holding up a small bottle of colourful liquid.

The mysterious elixir doesn’t promise long life, nor a return to youth. But, for a little while, it may give you the energy of one.

Bold Rush is a fruit-based protein drink that promises an energy boost without the slump afterwards.

The squat, plastic containers of the drink have been flying off of store shelves in Whitehorse since January.

“We don’t know how good (sales) could be because we haven’t been making as much as we should be,” said Smith, who is also the operation’s chef. “Every time we make it, it sells out.”

Now, Smith and his partner Lawrie Crawford are preparing to ramp up production and prepare their drink for export.

Brewed inside the Wood Street restaurant, the duo say they believe they have a winning combination: a healthful energy drink (without caffeine or extreme doses of sugar) that tastes good.

“This is a beverage that can benefit anybody who wants to be respectful to their body,” said Crawford.

“It’s tasty, it’s got food value, it’s got protein.”

The recipe is part alchemy part culinary flare.

“A lot of these drinks are formulated from a scientific point of view, whereas I’m going from the other way around,” said Smith.

“I’m using the science to get it to work, but it’s about taste, taste, taste.”

Pumping the drink with protein, while maintaining flavour and texture, is the technique — and the trade secret.

“The protein itself is finicky,” said Smith.

“It’ll take off on you and gel and do weird things,” added Crawford.

The years of blender experiments have yielded at least four winners, added Smith.

El Dorado Orange, Klondike Cranberry Lemonade, Skookum Strawberry and Berry Bonanza will soon be market-ready.

Notice a theme?

Marketing the drink is as important as developing it, the pair said from a sunny table inside the bistro Thursday.

And the Yukon sells.

“We’re very unique in the fact that we’re in the Yukon and we’re making it in the Yukon,” said Smith.

“That’s going to be one of our major marketing tools.”

That was the advice Smith and Crawford got from the pros as well.

Last week two marketing specialists flew to Whitehorse from L.A. and from Toronto, and helped the pair hash out everything from recipes to labeling to the nature of beverage markets.

Armed with their colourful bottles and professional advice, Smith will head to Manitoba to market test Bold Rush.

With a grant from the Yukon Agricultural Association, Bold Rush will undergo a series of trials — from shelf-life, to nutritional analysis, to the viability of large-scale production.

This will bring the drink one step closer to southern sales counters.

What of the drink itself?

Diaphanous and purple in its 240-millilitre bottle, Bonanza Berry has a light berry taste. While the liquid is smooth — no pulp of any kind — it does have a thick and viscous texture, sticking to the back of the throat and to the tongue.

The cranberry lemonade is light pink, heavy on citrus, light on sugar.

Both drinks are packed with protein, carbohydrates and nutrients from whole fruits.

With seven grams of protein, the drink matches a medium-sized egg.

One bottle of the drink contains 32 grams of carbohydrates, a few more than that found in two slices of whole wheat bread.

With 150 calories, Bold Rush has the same number of calories as the average can of pop.

Bolstered by liquid Bold Rush, Smith and Crawford are also developing an energy bar.

Smith said he often has the bar and the drink for breakfast, though he admitted to downing a cup of coffee as well.

People have been devouring the bar. The bistro’s other chef recently admitted to chewing one down every day and the L.A. agent ate Smith’s entire supply.

While cases of the bottles and bars may one day rattle down the coast to California, that dream is a ways off yet, said Crawford.

You have to start where you are, she added.

“Geographically we’re starting with Whitehorse and we’ll be expanding from there,” said Smith.

Anyone looking for a boost can purchase the drink at Waterstone Products, Better Bodies Crosstraining Centre, Riverside Grocery and Creekside Grocery.