Water in cocktails – Wetter the Better

Sam @ Copperpot Bar

Why water’s worth it”


Hello ladies and gents, after a super hectic couple of summer months it’s time to get back on the keyboard and reunite you all with your weekly dose of bartending chat. This week we’re talking about the most important liquid you’ll ever put into a glass – water.

It makes up at least 50% of most spirits, juices, fruit and even bartenders. It’s essential to life, and equally important to great tasting, well balanced drinks – so why are we so scared of adding it to drinks in liquid form?

How many times have you made a drink that’s come up a little bit sticky on the palate or a little bit oversweet and the addition of more booze or citrus isn’t really an option due to fear of making your drink more and more syrupy. What do you do then? Add water.

It seems incredible that in 2017, if you talk to bartenders about what happens to a whisky when you add a splash of water to it, they all understand that it softens and opens up flavours, allowing the drinker to really get the most out of each drop. But talk to them about the role of water in cocktails and you’ll often get blank faces, even though its role is very similar.

I believe in part, we have guests to thank for this distaste for adding water to drinks. It’s a very British thing, when buying drinks or food to value quantity over quality when judging whether something is good value for money. I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve served someone an excellent daiquiri or some other lovely straight-up concoction only for them to complain that they can finish it in two gulps. Even I’m guilty of ordering draught over bottled beer for the simple fact that I get more of it for my money, regardless of quality.

This mind-set is even harder to shake when it comes to the addition of water into drinks people are paying crazy London prices for. Whilst I completely understand nobody wants to pay 9 quid for a glass of water, myself included, if making your drink 55% water instead of 50% makes it infinitely more refreshing, structured and all-ways-delicious, isn’t a couple of ml here and there worth it?

The crux of the issue I suppose is that recently I’ve taken to keeping a bottle of simple tap water in my speed-rail as sort of an anti-sugar syrup. It’s a really useful tool to which has helped to both improve the quality of the drinks that go over the bar, but also dramatically improved my understanding of how dilution affects so many aspects of almost every drink you make. Obviously it’s possible to get all of the dilution out of ice cubes though shaking and stirring but next time a drink needs a little drying-out, or a little push back towards refreshing, reach for the water, not the booze or citrus.

Hope your summers have been happy and successful, we’ll be back on a weekly basis from now on.

If there’s anything you want to hear us ramble about, questions, feedback or memes you want to send us, you can find us @copperpotbar across a range of social media.

Stay sexy you lot.




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