Adding Water To Whisky
Should you add water to whisky?
There is no right or wrong answer to this. Adding water to whisky is a personal choice, and down to your personal tastes. But as a general rule: it depends on the percentage of alcohol in your whisky.
For a whisky bottled at 40-46%, you are unlikely to need water. If it is a well-produced whisky, it should have little burn.
For a whisky bottled at 46-54%, you may like to add a little water. Try the whisky first, and if any burn feels too harsh, add a few drops of water.
For a whisky bottled at 55% or higher, you may well want to add some water. Try the whisky first, and if it doesn't need any that's fine. But at these higher, often cask, strengths you may enjoy a drop of water.
Is it wrong to add water to whiskies?
No, it is not wrong to add water to whisky. In fact, the majority of whiskies on the market have already had some water added. Controlling the strength of the whisky helps maximise flavour and enjoyment.
Why do distilleries or bottles sometimes dilute their whiskies?
Distilleries and bottlers add water for a range of reasons. They may reduce the strength of the alcohol as they feel that will make the whisky more enjoyable. They may want to price the whisky at a certain level, and reducing the strength also reduces the alcohol tax. Or they may want to produce more bottles of whisky per cask, or batch of casks. Think of it like squash: adding water dilutes the squash but results in more drink.
The technical term for adding water to whisky is 'cutting'. One 'cuts' a whisky down to the desired alcohol strength by adding water.
How much water should you add to your whisky?
If you don't know what your preferred ABV is, then the simple way is to try your whisky neat with no water, add a drop or two of water and try it again. Repeat this gradual process until your dram is the perfect strength.
If you know what your ideal strength, then you can use our Whisky Dilution Calculator below to calculate the exact amount of water you need to add. You can use the calculator for any alcohol or spirit, it's the same logic.
What is the best water to add to whisky?
You can use the same water that you drink every day. Tap water, filtered water, bottled water. Using the same water you drink every day means you are familiar with its flavours. This will help you mind ignore those flavours, and instead concentrate on the whisky.
If you want to use the very best water, then the best is spring water local to the distillery. Spring water from the same region as the distillery will share the same mineral profile. It will be a chemical match. So when you add the spring water to the whisky, you will preserve as much of the character as possible.
Uisge Source, the drop that makes the dram
Uisge Source has a range of Scottish spring waters designed for whiskies. They draw pure, clear spring waters from private springs in the key whisky regions of Scotland. We think it's the best water for adding to whisky. They have waters for Highland whisky, Speyside whisky, and Islay whisky. Each bottle comes with a pipette so you can add the water drop by drop. And Uisge Source have a presentation set of all three waters; perfect for you, or great as a gift.