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For many, there comes a point in life where drinking alcohol stops being a collegiate sport and becomes an exploration of nuance and refinement. Maybe you’re an at-home mixologist just trying to create perfect renditions of your old favorites to enjoy with friends. Maybe you relish sipping bourbon and branch after a long day of work. Either way, you make the effort to buy the best ingredients and you treat each one with care.
From top-shelf spirits to the freshest fruits, sweeteners, and spices — even your mixing tools and serving glasses — you have it all figured out. So of course you’ve already thought about the water and ice you add to your cocktails … right?
Sadly, water is usually the last cocktail ingredient anyone thinks of, even though it's one of the biggest determinants of your drink experience. The ice melt can be up to 40% of what’s in your glass, so water is a major ingredient in your drink recipes. The best cocktails for filtered water, though, are drinks served on the rocks or mixed with water instead of juice.
Did you know the difference between a great vodka and one that leaves you breathing fire is mainly the filtration process? The impurities in the vodka mean everything to your enjoyment. Water is no different. If you’re using water that tastes like chlorine and plumbing, don’t expect to cry out in joy when you take that first sip.
The top mixologists in the world pay attention to not just the amount of ice, but also what is in the ice they use for a reason. Pure, filtered water with the right mineral makeup is the best mixer for your cocktails and it makes the best ice, too.
In the United States, the water that enters your home through municipal sources is usually safe to drink but that doesn’t mean it's pure. Most of the water that comes in through your tap starts as groundwater, which is treated by your water company with cleaning agents and disinfectants.
These additives may alter the taste and smell of the water. Plus, even with this treatment, the resulting water still may contain a number of bacteria, PFAS, medications, or even viruses. To further complicate matters, 90% of the households in the U.S. have over-mineralized hard water.
Once the water is treated and leaves the plant, it travels through miles of water lines, where it picks up sediment and metals before reaching your tap.
Our modern water systems are a societal miracle, to say the least, but they’re by no means perfect. The taste is passable and it won’t make you immediately sick to drink straight from the tap in most of the country, but that doesn’t mean you’re having the best possible experience with your water.
Properly filtering and softening your water can improve your life in so many ways, including:
While any mixed drink is better with top-shelf water and ice, here are three of the best cocktails for filtered water.
Bourbon and Branch
Bourbon and branch is a drink that perfectly emphasizes the need for the right water. This cocktail consists of only two components: bourbon whiskey and water. With so few ingredients, this is one of the best cocktails for filtered water.
Bourbon is also a key ingredient in this drink, obviously. Bourbon is a type of whiskey made mainly in Kentucky. Part of the reason for that is what they call the branch. The branch refers to limestone-filtered rivers nearby the distilleries, which feed them the water they need to create their barrel-aged masterpieces. The branch is really the reason you can’t make true bourbon anywhere else in the world.
In case you’re wondering, scotch has a similar rule. The Scottish rivers where the distilleries sit are a big part of what makes scotch, scotch. You can’t distill scotch in Cleveland, and you can’t make bourbon in Scotland.
For bourbon and branch, you want to start with a good-quality bourbon. But once you have your top-shelf whiskey, why would you add water to it?
Adding just a few drops of water in your bourbon helps to open up the complex flavors by dulling that famous alcohol burn. If the concentration of alcohol in a whiskey is very high it will rise to the surface, overpowering the subtle complexities in the whiskey.
Water softens the burn on your nose and palate, so you can experience your expensive whiskey as intended by the distiller. Adding water to whiskey is a controversial topic, though. Many people believe adding anything to bourbon or scotch is sacrilege.
Others, like Calum Fraser, master blender at Bowmore Distillery, say it depends on the age of the scotch. In a recent Food & Wine article he says that a 12-year-old Bowmore scotch does well with a bit of water, but a 52-year-old vintage doesn’t need it. The barrel-aging over so much time already masks the alcohol. In this case, he feels water would diminish the product that took so long to create.
What’s Fraser say about what type of water you should put in your whiskey to get the best results? From his experience working in one of the finest tasting rooms in the world, he says: "From a human perception, it is essential to use water free from any contaminants prior to dilution so as not to impair the characters developed during the processes taking place at the distillery, maturation warehouse, or the blending room."
And that’s when adding just a few drops of water. Imagine what a full ice cube or two from your hard tap water will do to your carefully aged whiskey.
There's nothing like a crisp, refreshing glass of lemonade to sip on in the summer. That's why vodka lemonade is one of the best cocktails for filtered water. Honestly, with the right ingredients, you'll want to enjoy this drink all year long.
When it comes to the best lemonade, some people are focused on the type and origin of their lemons, or using syrup vs. sugar. And if you're adding vodka to create the perfect summer cocktail, you can add to your considerations by trying to find the best vodka possible. But you can make or break this cocktail with your choice of water and ice.
The difference between a top-shelf vodka and the kinds that could pass as paint thinner is mainly in the filtration process. Removing the contaminants allows for the smooth and light taste you want from a great vodka. So when you’re making your lemonade and adding ice, it's important not to introduce new contaminants by using adulterated, unfiltered water from your tap.
Filtered water and ice made from it will keep your vodka lemonade light and fresh in every sip. The mineral content of unfiltered tap water, on the other hand, can add an unpleasant taste to your lemonade. Instead of the delightfully tart bite of homemade lemonade, you might end up with bitterness or strong-smelling sulfates in your drink.
The taste of filtered water on its own is clean and refreshing, so it's the perfect ingredient for lemonade that’ll give you that summery sweetness. That's why filtered water is the secret ingredient in Chick-fil-A's hugely popular lemonade. Across the nation, the chain uses filtered water to prevent unpleasant flavors from popping up in different locations.
So when life gives you lemons, make sure you reach for the best-filtered water to make lemonade.
Infused Water Mocktails
Some of the best cocktails for filtered water are non-alcoholic treats. Whether you're making sure you stay hydrated or enjoying a Dry January, these mocktails can make the process easier and more fun. Colorful and refreshing infused water brings excitement to your H2O, and minimal added sugar ensures that you get the benefits of hydration without the unnecessary sweeteners.
General recommendations for water intake advise getting about half of your body weight in ounces per day. While caffeinated drinks, like coffee and tea, and even watery foods, like fresh fruit and vegetables, can contribute to your hydration levels, experts still encourage drinking water to stay hydrated.
But just because we know something is good for us doesn't make it easy to do, and drinking enough water is often more challenging than we think it will be. Making yourself a festive, lightly flavored glass of infused water can help you get your ounces in.
Infused water consists of a combination of fresh fruits, vegetables, and herbs to give your water a creative twist. The flavors of these mocktails tend to be delicate since there's no juice or syrup to dominate the drink. So the quality of your water is key.
Unfiltered hard water might overpower the light flavors of muddled strawberries or sliced cucumbers in your glass. And the bacteria that catches a ride through your tap can thrive on the tasty snacks you mix into your water.
Pure, filtered water is your best bet for a refreshing infused-water mocktail. Additions like blackberries and orange slices or watermelon and lime can make a cold glass of water feel like a fancy drink. You can put together recipes from whatever fresh ingredients are in season.
op-shelf liquor and the freshest ingredients can step up your at-home cocktail game, but if you want a truly unforgettable drink, you need the highest-quality water and ice you can get. The impurities included in your tap water can interfere with the flavors of your cocktails and cancel out fine spirits. The best cocktails for filtered water have only a few ingredients, so the flavors are enhanced by the water and ice you use. Filtered water minimizes the presence of minerals, bacteria, and metals that your tap water contains, ensuring the crispest flavors in your water and ice.
To get filtered water straight from your taps, install a system like the HomeWater 4-Stage Whole Home Filter. The system is rated for one million gallons of use and it removes chlorine, rust, heavy metals, and more from the water entering your home. Our 4-stage system has been shown to reduce chlorine by 97% and dissolved heavy metals by 98%, making the water from your sinks, showers, and bathtubs cleaner and purer.
For homes with hard water, the All-In-One Whole Home & Water Softener Combo will filter and soften the water coming through your pipes, reducing sediment and chlorine with carbon filtration. The filter is self-cleaning as well, so you can enjoy fresher, cleaner water without having to replace costly filters.
Start enjoying better-tasting water, ice, and cocktails today — with HomeWater.
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