A Deep Dive Into the World of Pairing Wine, Whiskey, and Water

When you close your eyes and think about water, odds are you’re not thinking about its aroma and flavor profiles. Alas, like a fine wine or barrel-aged whiskey, the wide and varied world of ultra-premium water is as vast and complex as some of your favorite vintages.

“People think of water as having no taste, but if you taste different brands of water, you’ll actually discover a lot of differences between them, not just in flavor but in mouthfeel as well,” wine and spirits expert Tony Sachs tells Robb Report. “Some taste sweet, some salty, some have a soapy texture, some feel rounder on the palate than others—it’s really fascinating.”

More from Robb Report

Sachs has long believed that water can enhance the taste and flavor profiles of spirits and food. While there are no hard and fast rules when it comes to mixing or pairing the two, Sachs says enjoying ultra-premium water like Saratoga® Spring Water can often make all the difference.

“We’ve been taught to use high-end ingredients in every aspect of spirits and cocktail consumption, whether it’s fresh-squeezed juice or fancy syrup and bitters, even the garnishes have gotten more sophisticated, but water is really the final frontier,” explains Sachs. “That is certainly the case for home mixologists, and I think serious bartenders have already gotten the memo, and that’s why you’ll see Saratoga® Spring Water at so many upscale bars. It’s a beautiful bottle, but more importantly, it’s good water.”

As awareness grows around the extrinsic attributes an ultra-premium water like Saratoga® Spring Water has in terms of taste and flavor profiles, Los Angeles–based water sommelier Martin Riese is part of a small but growing contingent of advocates and educators who believe in the difference a high-quality water can make.

“For me, water was never about hydration, it has always been about the taste, and all water has a taste profile—that is what fascinates me most,” Riese tells Robb Report.

Riese, who designs water-tasing menus and curates water experiences, says he lives by the credo, “water is not just water,” and has spent the better part of his career studying the variations and subtleties found in water sourced from around the world. As he discusses water in terms of both terroir and pH levels, after a visit to Saratoga Springs in New York many years ago, he says he was struck by the water’s unique qualities and subtle minerality. “I was in Saratoga, and I saw the springs, and I was so impressed with how they really think about the importance and quality of water,” Riese says. “They are the definition of water stewards, and they’ve managed to maintain the same level of quality and consistency over the years.”

Riese attributes the smoothness found in their gentle spring water as one of the many reasons it pairs so nicely with food and wine. “I would pair Saratoga® Spring Water with my sushi and a nice salad to bring out the flavors, and I would also sip it alongside a bottle of sauvignon blanc. “I don’t treat water any differently than I do wine,” Riese says.

When it comes to mixing and pairing cocktails with water, Sachs has a few suggestions of his own. “Drinks like highballs or ranch water where the sparkling water is the primary ingredient, are a great showcase for Saratoga Sparkling Water,” says Sachs. “For still water, I’d recommend it mostly on the side to pair with cocktails, and I think it pairs best with saltier or more savory drinks like a Bloody Mary or a margarita, which amplify the water’s very light sweetness, which cuts through the heaviness of the drink and refreshes the palate,” he adds.

As awareness around water continues to grow, Riese says people will think twice next time they think about how to pair their food and beverages. “Now, more and more people are interested in what is in their water, and how water will enhance the flavors on your palate and act as a bridge to the food and wine you’re consuming,” says Riese. “It’s the most precious resource we have, and that is the secret behind what a water sommelier can do, and what we’re trying to help people understand.”

To learn more about how to pair Saratoga® Spring Water with a recipe, or learn about their ongoing campaign, The Art of Water, visit saratogawater.com.

Learn more

Sign up for Robb Report's Newsletter. For the latest news, follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

Click here to read the full article.