Johnny Cocktail has been VERY busy!

There are many more posts to come so stay tuned. This Blog is getting ready to see quite the face lift!

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Water Tasting

In a Shot: Putting an evaluative research into this whole bottled water reality. Is it tastier? Does it make a difference? Is it worth the millions of plastic bottles being recycled/wasted each year? Let's hear what you think:

There will be some arguments as to whether or not this is time well spent and if money is thrown away, but as a bartender, I LOVE water and it is the catalyst to an amazing drink. Using filtered, non-refrigerated ice (ice that sits with all of your frozen goods in your fridge I mean), in small "un-wet" segments are a truly superior form that will genuinely change the taste of a good cocktail. Crushed ice makes a highly different cocktail when using the same ingredients, one that is immensely colder, yet is guaranteed to be more diluted and watery. Lots of ice makes for a frothier and more successfully blended cocktail and in a tall drink, keeps the cocktail colder for longer and more lasting than one without. A lot of boutique bars are offering giant hand carved pieces of ice, others make shapes out of them such as tooth pics, hearts or fill them with other ingredients such as herbs, fruits or juices. In other words, ice holds a vary valuable ingredient to all drinks aesthetically, flavor, temperature and cleanliness. So for those in the un-hip I quickly must also accert the importance of avoiding at all cost: Ice that is slightly melted or "wet", ice that has been made from your house tap (unless you filter it first), ice that has been frozen and sitting next to your boxed and packaged proteins in the freezer (it will absorb all of those things eventually, leaving a perfect martini tasting like a soup stock or plastic) and if your buying ice from a store, I URGE YOU, avoid the tubey ice cubes that are hollowed out in the center. They are horrible for cocktails!

And now......

Basic information, water is a chemical substance that consists of 2 parts hydrogen and one part oxygen. It covers almost 71% of the Earth's surface and is available free in the homes across our country and many others. So the question then is WHY do people in the world spend over $85,000 million buying 174,000 million liters (as of 2010) of bottled water if you can simply flip the tap and pour a glass from your kitchen? I remember watching Penn & Teller: Bullshit! in their first season where they did an episode focusing on the bottled water industry. Check out the episode here. The facts are true, drinks, period, are heavily influenced on perception and biased opinion. But water none the less is a fascinating chemical being able to transform from liquid, to solid to gas and will take on any form depending where it travels. The human body loses about two to three quarts of water a day, a substance that oxidizes your body, lubricates your systems, fuels your blood and helps with digesting. It's the life vessel for this planet and is essential to drinks and drinking. From cleaning the glass and utensils, to the ice to cutting harder cocktails with water to using it to make syrups and purees, to keeping you rehydrated and responsible, it is the very first and possibly the most important ingredient to creating a well crafted drink. In most distilled spirits, it cuts the alcohol before you ever open the bottle in your home or at your favorite bottle.

Tap water does have impurities in it and chlorine, hydrogine sulfied, flouride (Even an occasional biological/chemical oopsie where media tells you not to drink the water) that gives it a particular after taste, phobia or frowned upon aspect. Personally, you add ice to tap water and serve it in a cold glass, I may very easily not tell the difference between that and refridgerated bottle water. This is a test to prove whether or not, I, Johnny Cocktail am capable of sensing a difference in a few different bottled waters or if I too am a mere pawn in the industries ploy to convincing me that my tap water is a grade above it and actually "L'eau du robinet". Backed with a high price, it sounds pretty enough to make a difference!

I will be looking to grade these bottled waters the way one would when tasting a beer, spirit or wine. I will look for the attributes of immediate freshness upon opening the bottle, color & clarity, the nose (If there even is one), acidity/sapidity, mouthfeel & finish (if there even is one).

Aquafina - Standard factory bottled water brought to you from our friends over at the Pepsi company and one of the first to publicly admit it's the same water they get from tap and use to make their other products. Regardless of what is and what isn't, the water is clean, crisp and easily consumed, though I genuinely believe there is a strange and almost soapy after taste in Aquafina.

Tasmanian Rain - Artisenally bottled rain water captured on the island of guess what? Claimed to be a location where the air is scientifically proven to be the purest in the world. The water is slightly duller in color than the tap water and other bottles. I noticed some minor imperfections in the water as well. A touch of acid, the most salty of the choices here with an almost sweet finish, but otherwise, water as we all know it.

Penta - Ultra-purified water goes through a 13 step, 11 hour purifying process using reverse osmosis/deionization with USP medical-grade oxygen. Lighter in body than it's predecessors, the water is crisp, clean and sharp.

Fiji - Bottled water from the islands that has been supporting the green movement, by suggesting to people to buy their imported product. It's bottle format is large and uses lots of plastic and their is controversy surrounding their bottling plant, profits and claims to giving back to the island or rain forests. It's one of the leading high end brand waters in the country. It is clean, smooth and easy drinking water.

The final verdict: Water is highly important for everyone, every day. Bottled water is safe to drink, travel friendly, clean, cold, rejuvenating and refreshing. It is however, a golden egg/world destructive industry which requires critical re-evaluation by everyone who purchases their products. I must admit, almost all bottled water holds the same notes to say, filtering or boiling your own water and keeping a reusable water bottle at your disposal. If you are going to purchase bottled water, get larger/reusable containers from companies you've researched previously closest to your homes. It's not a solution, it's just a seed for growing ideas. All it needs now to grow, strangely enough, is water! In slogan quoting from Catoctin Creek Distilleries, "Think globally, drink locally"


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