The Whiskey and Water Myth
The whiskey and water myth now. The whiskey myth of not adding water to whiskey has been around for a long time. Seasoned drinkers will say to omit the water; however, seasoned whiskey drinkers are wrong.
The mature drinkers have probably told you that water will ruin the flavor. However, you may discover no truth to that rumor; sure, water may open the whiskey’s bouquet.
In addition, the water added shocks to new whisky drinkers. Water added during the bottling stage reduces alcohol content. The water reduces the whiskey’s alcohol content by bringing the “alcohol by volume ” by 30% to 40%. The water and whiskey myth opens eyes to possibilities to experiment with other whiskies.
The Whiskey and water mixing.
Adding water to whisk(e)y should be based on your taste. The whiskey and water myth is solved during the tasting. If you are new to whisk(e)y, you can add or mix whatever you like to develop a liking for any of the world’s whiskies.
I recommend first tasting the whisk(e)y neat and then determining if you must dilute it with water. Many higher-quality aged whiskies will probably be smooth enough for your taste buds and not require dilution.
The cough test gauges water needed during whisky tasting. The cough test occurs on that initial sip of whisk(e)y when the whisk(e)y hits the back of your throat, and you may or may not start coughing.
You will need a glass of water to quench the coughing and soothe your throat. Water and whiskey disperse the myth of why water is necessary in whiskey.
The Whiskey in the cask or barrel
Whiskey maturing in casks or barrels. The whisk(e)y maturation process starts once the distillery fills the equal cask or barrel with whisk(e)y. The whiskey is heated to the point between 160-190 proof. The alcohol by volume (ABV) equates to 80-95%.
Sometimes, the whiskey is strong enough to put hair on your chest. Or, the whiskey is strong enough to put hair on your chest.
The whisk(e)y matures during the period, and the alcohol evaporates slowly through the cask or barrel walls. The lost alcohol amounts to approximately .5% to 1% per year. The alcohol lost is called the angel’s share. The water and whiskey restore the balance lost during maturation.
The whisk(e)y is bottled as cask-strength or barrel-proof whisk(e)y once the ABV equals 50-60 percent (+/- 5 percent). Regarding dilution, with barrel-proof or cask-strength whisk(e)y, the whiskey goes from barrel to bottle.
Furthermore, if you want to add water to cask-strength or barrel-proof whisk(e)y, it’s your choice to add water to meet your specific taste. The whiskey and water myth creates an interest in pairing whiskey and water.
A rule of thumb is to dilute as necessary to suit “your taste.” If you are a drinker of different whiskies from different countries, I suggest the following:
Tasting Scottish, Japanese, Canadian, Taiwanese, or Irish whiskies
Before adding water, most whiskey drinkers should taste Scottish, Japanese, Canadian, Taiwanese, or Irish whiskies. If needed, the whisk(e)y drinker adds two to three drops of Highland Spring water to the whiskey glassHighland Spring water to the whiskey glass if required.
The drops of water will open up the Scotch whisky. The whiskey and water myth creates interest in more whiskies.
If you don’t have Highland Spring water available, try some of these suggested bottled water brands with your whiskey.
- Icelandic Glacial
If you have a reverse osmosis water system on your kitchen sink, experiment with how the water affects the whisky taste. Also, I would suggest not using regular tap water due to possible sediments in the water.
The best practice is to taste American whiskey before diluting it with water. I suggest using Old Limestone Mixing Water before regular tap water when drinking bourbon whiskey.
The water dispensed from your kitchen tap may have additional minerals that can affect the whiskey’s flavor—the bottled water recommendation under the bottled water category for experimentation with American whisk(e)y.
Hard or soft water properties affect how water affects the different whiskies’ tastes. Lastly, you could use distilled water if the above recommendations are unavailable.
Finally, remember that not everyone has the right to tell you how to drink your whisk(e)y and how much water to add. Just drink and enjoy it however the heck you want to!! The whiskey and water myth is buried with other untested beliefs.