Does Water Quality Matter in Cocktails?

Nov 30, 2022

When discussing water at the bar, it’s usually a debate over whether it’s morally right to mix it with whiskey, or how much ice you’d like in your cocktail. But what if we told you that water was actually the most important ingredient in your drink? For the price you paid, you might be a little upset. But in reality, cocktails are nearly ⅓ water! And for a drink served with ice, there is even more water to consider. 


If your cocktails at home seem to be missing a little something, don’t be so hard on yourself. Both the local water supply and your water treatment system will have an impact on the way your cocktail tastes, although the distinction may not be obvious. If you want to improve the quality of your cocktails at home, try using only softened, filtered water—and that includes any ice you use, too. 


The best drinking water is tasteless, but in a good cocktail, you will be able to taste the difference. Water quality matters! 

Choose a great-tasting water

Both coffee and cocktails are sensitive beverages, and the range in flavor is heavily dependent on the amount of total dissolved solids and pH in and of the water used in them. Stephen Kurpinsky, an industry expert dedicated to filtration, stresses how crucial water quality is to the final product. His number one tip to a great drink? “Start with water as clean as possible, meaning no odor, TDS in the range of 75-200 mg per liter, and a pH as close to 7.0 as possible.”


So, how can we assess the amount of total dissolved solids, or TDS, in our drinking water? Well, water that has been heavily treated or water that has not been softened often contains a large number of dissolved solids. Kurpinsky says total dissolved solids aren’t always a bad thing, and that more mineral content can contribute to flavor. Some minerals in tap water can even be good for our health, but like most things, balance is key! Too many minerals can be overpowering and even off-putting. 


When building a sophisticated cocktail, flavors should be subtle. For a cleaner canvas for your masterpiece, opt for water that you know has been softened or filtered. 

Consider your local water quality

Most breweries and bars in the US use filtered water, with reverse osmosis becoming a favorite filtration method for its keen ability to manipulate taste. But if you’re not sure what kind of water you have at home, it’s a good idea to find out before you start batching holiday cocktails. The EPA publishes water quality monitoring data for those that want to learn more about the quality of their local water supply. But since nearly 85% of the US lives with hard water, there’s a good chance that your water would benefit from treatment– before it hits your shaker, of course.

Consult a water quality expert

The recent interest in water quality gives a whole new meaning to the phrase, “I know a guy.” Mixologists and bar managers that are serious about their cocktail menu are even more serious about water quality. While some swear by their water store, others encourage investing in whole-home drinking water systems or reverse osmosis systems with alkaline filtration. The specialists at RWI Water Systems can help you come up with a water quality solution that fits your lifestyle. (And your drinking habits!)

Cut off your poor Brita filter

Your Brita filter may have served you well in times of need, but be glad your college years are behind you. It may be an emotional farewell, but it’s time to retire the Brita filter. While it’s a great introduction to water purification, the process doesn’t do much to eliminate total dissolved solids, nor does it have any effect on pH or hardness. If you have a water softener at home, you will have fewer minerals like chlorine and sodium, but you may want to adjust the pH levels with a reverse osmosis filtration system.


Invest in a reverse osmosis filtration system today! Even long after last call, a reverse osmosis membrane system works to filter sediment, contaminants, and metals from water and deliver the best-tasting drinking water straight to your tap. Talk to one of our water quality experts about how together, a water softener and RO filtration system deliver the freshest results for that high-quality taste that’s hard to put a finger on. Your friends and family will be praising you for your attention to detail. Is that the most refined Manhattan they’ve ever tasted, or does it happen to be made with the purest drinking water? 


When it comes to cocktails, the quality of your water can make all the difference.

Ready to talk to one of our experts about improving YOUR water?

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