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  • Writer's pictureCarol Berger

Adding water to whiskey

If you are like me, you like your whiskey neat. Ice is preferred in a cocktail. Occasionally, though, the flavor profile might be a bit much for my taste, hence adding water.

What's the best way to have your whiskey? Any way YOU want! Of course, it is always a personal preference of whether or not you prefer your spirit neat or on the rocks, I never judge, and neither should anyone else. When adding water to whiskey, there are always pros and cons. It depends on your personal tastes and what it is you are looking to get out of this experience.

A few of the benefits are to dilute it if the profile is too strong for you. While this can help reduce the alcohol content, it can make it more approachable if you are not a fan of high-proof spirits and can potentially reduce the burn. It also allows the whiskey's flavors to be released and enhance the overall aroma and taste making it more enjoyable. However, the downside to that is in opening up the profile more, it can also have an opposite effect for some making the flavors much more prominent, uplifting the spicier notes.

Believe it or not, there is a whole chemistry around it to as to what type of water and in fact, the temperature of the water! When hosting tasting experiences, it's always fun to see guests reactions when they learn they can add drops of water to open things up a bit, and often times, tone things down a bit. Typically I will have a limestone water with me because Kentucky is famous for their limestone in bourbon production. If you line up three glasses, pour the same whiskey in each and add drops of three different types of water (such as tap, spring water and limestone water), I can almost guarantee you will have three completely different tasting experiences.

My suggestion is to experiment. Of course if you are sampling a spirit for the first time, smell, take a sip and savor the initial craft behind the spirit. If you find it to be too much burn, too strong, etc, add a drop or two then smell, sip and savor again. Whether you add tap water, room temperature water, water with ice, mineral water, spring, water, etc. you will experience a much different aroma and taste!

Whenever someone tells me that they don't like whiskey I'm always curious as to why. If they say it's too strong for them, either they are trying something too intense, or they just aren't

sure yet how they can best enjoy it. If you're curious about the impact of water on a particular whiskey, you might want to try it both ways and see what you prefer!


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