Michter's Master Distiller Says This Is The Best Water To Cleanse Your Palate When Tasting Whiskey - Exclusive

whiskey glencairn water
whiskey glencairn water - Barmalini/Getty Images

Although it may not look like it at first glance, a whiskey tasting is different than a group of friends knocking back shots at the bar. With each whiskey, you want to dive deep into the subtle nuances that each bottle has to offer. To keep the previous whiskey from coating your tongue, and throwing off your sense of taste in the process, many whiskey lovers will use a glass of water to cleanse their palate. To help us understand what water makes the best palate cleanser we sat down with Dan Mckee, Master Distiller at Michter's Distillery.

"I prefer a room temperature, neutral water," Mckee told us. "One that doesn't have a lot of minerals or carbonation, sparkling, things like that. I just want plain tap water actually." While plain tap water won't be winning any Michelin stars anytime soon, its lack of character is exactly what you need in a palate cleanser. "Just like anything, your ice cubes, any outside environments can affect your palate, everything," Mckee said. It's the attention to detail that will elevate your whiskey status from amateur to connoisseur.

Although Switzerland's tap water may be the best in the world, Mckee didn't think Louisville was very far behind. "We're very lucky in Louisville, Kentucky. The Louisville Water Company is consistently ranked in the top five of North America for water quality, and we get a very high-quality, neutral water. It makes a huge difference," he shared.

Read more: The 27 Best Bourbon Brands, Ranked

The Nice Ice

whiskey on the rocks
whiskey on the rocks - Fermate/Getty Images

Mckee's advice isn't just useful when you're tasting whiskeys side by side, either. If you want to drink whiskey on the rocks the right way, you want to make sure you're using the correct ice. When we asked Mckee if he suggested using a specific water to make ice cubes, he said, "Ideally, yes, a distilled water or something like that. It does [matter]." Distilled water does have an unexpected taste, but it's actually the lack of minerals that we are tasting when we compare it to undistilled water -- as opposed to something in the water itself changing the flavor. Distilled water is as pure as water can get which means there's nothing in it that can react with the whiskey and change its flavor in unexpected ways. "If it's got a high mineral content, it's going to shine through and actually could make your experience a bad one," Mckee noted.

While putting in the extra effort for your glass of whiskey can go a long way, there are limits to your return. It's not the end of the world if you only have regular ice on hand or the bartender isn't using distilled water for their ice. "I'm not saying rush out and [get distilled water]," Mckee went on. "But definitely check the water that you have in your house if you're using your own ice cubes."

Read the original article on Tasting Table.