Yes, you read that correctly. Alcoholic drinks made from wood are the real deal.
 
Japanese researchers have produced the wood-based alcohol beverages in the lab - and they even taste like wood.
 
"We thought it would be interesting to think that alcohol could be made from something around here like trees," researcher Kengo Magara told AFP news.
 
By pulverizing wood into a creamy paste and adding yeast and an enzyme, researchers at Japan's Forestry and Forest Products Research Institute have produced the bark-based alcoholic beverages without applying heat - preserving the specific flavor of each tree's wood. 
 
Typically, the wood distillation process requires boiling a mixture of wood pulp and water which creates methanol, a dangerous ingredient that can cause blindness in humans. But by avoiding using heat, ethanol is produced instead, making it drinkable.
 
"Our method can make it drinkable, and with a wood flavor, because it does not require high heat or sulphuric acid to decompose the wood," Magara said.
 
The research institute plans to commercialize the drinks by venturing with a private-sector partner. The goal is to have the wood alcohol on store shelves within three years. 
 
"Japan has plenty of trees across the nation and we hope people can enjoy wood alcohols that are specialized from each region," continued Magara. 
 
So far, researchers have produced beverages from cedar, birch, and cherry. Around nine pounds of cedar wood produced eight pints of liquid, with an alcohol content of around 15 percent. Both brewed and distilled versions were experimented with, but Magara said: "we think distilled alcohol appears better."
 
Magara acknowledged that while scientists have already produced biofuel by fermenting wood, that fuel contained toxins and was flavorless, making it unsuitable for cocktails.
 
 
 

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