London’s famous Selfridges department store will soon house a bar that serves many different kinds of H20. According to the Independent, London’s first water-only bar is following the lead of similar bars in the United States, and Selfridges is in talks with “water sommeliers”.
Water bars are, of course, not new. Back in 2013, Ray’s & Stark Bar, in Los Angeles, added a water menu to their offerings. The menu, curated by water sommelier Martin Riese — yes, there are sommeliers for water just like there are sommeliers for wine — lists mineral and spring water from over 10 countries, including Berg from Canada, Voss from Norway, Badoit from France and Vichy Catalan from Spain.
“Water has a significant impact on the way we taste food, just as with wine and spirits. We are already accustomed to pairing food with wine or beer, but many people don’t know that water is just as important to the entire dining experience,” said Riese, among the world’s first water sommeliers and the author of The World of Water, at the launch of the water menu.
If you talk to water sommeliers, they will tell you that the one thing that determines the taste of water is the TDS, or total dissolved solids. TDS refers to the amount of magnesium, sodium, and calcium among others in the type of water you are drinking, and the food you are eating is paired with the water that will go well with it. Just like wine, you know. (The Ferrarelle sparking water, from southern Italy, has a TDS of 1285mg, and contains a good amount of sodium, magnesium and calcium.)
While Selfridges is yet to reveal details about their water bar concept, speaking to the Daily Mail, Riese said, “Just buy different brands of water with different [mineral] levels and taste them side by side. You will suddenly see how different they actually are. Like wine, one can actually taste the region and depth from which the water comes.”
India doesn’t have a water bar yet — that would be spectacularly ironical — but there is Mulshi spring water that retails for about Rs 60 for a 750ml bottle. According to the company, Mulshi, which is sourced “from the Sahyadri mountains’ is in a different league compared to both spring and mineral water, and is “India’s only pesticide-free water”.
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