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Bourbon and Branch - Opinions and Variations?


Aged In Oak
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Aged In Oak

Although I usually drink my bourbon neat (caveat: I do like a good Manhattan), I'm always open to trying new ways to enjoy our favorite beverage. I've never done much experimentation with adding water, but I know that many people suggest that water can help to bring out flavors in bourbon that might be covered by the alcohol bite. With that in mind, I thought I'd give the old Bourbon and Branch thing a try. The "official" recipe I found calls for 2 oz. bourbon mixed with 4 oz. spring water served over ice. Gave that a shot, and I have to say it was pretty watery. Didn't do anything good for the flavor, at least to my palate. So, who out there likes the Bourbon and Branch thing? Less water, no ice, or another variation? Just curious how others like to enjoy when adding water.

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I enjoy bourbon and soda water - about 1:4, with some ice. I don't think it does great things for great bourbon, but as a drink unto itself, and a way to enjoy good, but not great bourbon, it is one of my favorites.

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I often order a Turkey and water while at a bar. Not being a beer drinker, Its a good accompaniment to some bar foods like hot wings.

I would guess based on the flavor and alcohol intensity that what I get at my favorite watering hole is around 1:3

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IMO, when people refer to adding water to help bringout flavors, they are talking about adding small amounts, like 1/4 to 1/2 an ounce. Adding 4oz and some ice is making a nice summertime-out-on-the-porch-afternoon "tea"

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Aged In Oak
IMO, when people refer to adding water to help bringout flavors, they are talking about adding small amounts, like 1/4 to 1/2 an ounce. Adding 4oz and some ice is making a nice summertime-out-on-the-porch-afternoon "tea"

That's sort of what my tasting of this particular concoction said to me, too. Frankly, in 1:2 bourbon to water proportions (weaker than that, really, because of the ice), I think I'd rather drink the ingredients separately!

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Bourbon Geek

I agree with earlier post ... Just a splash of water to open up the taste ... But really, I prefer to shake the bourbon over ice, and then strain out the ice ... gives it a little chill and just the right amount of water for me ... without the continuous dilution problem you get by leaving the ice in the glass ...

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At most, just few a small pour of water in. Usually I drink my bourbon neat, but I find that ORVW 10/107 becomes amazing with a really small splash of cold water.

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  • 2 weeks later...

At the Brandy Library in NYC they provide an eye dropper with your neat pour if you request water. We are talking small amounts of water.

I have one of those athletes sipper style bottles with spring water that lets me add by the drop at home.

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Virus_Of_Life

Does the term no pollution mean anything?

OK, so occasionally I'll add a very small amount of water, like <tablespoon, or drink a very high proof bourbon/rye on 1 cube.

However I will not try anything for the first time with any pollution added.

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Although I prefer to drink my whiskey neat, I do, at times, like to drink a Wild Turkey 101 with lots of ice. I also like Old Grandad and water. Sometimes it makes for a nice change.

Joe :usflag:

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When I started drinking bourbon, I always drank it on the rocks . . . eventually I feel like I graduated to drinking it neat and I rarely go back. The exception is if I'm having cheap bourbon in tandem with good beer, then I might add some ice . . . also, I rarely drink BIB bourbons without ice, but I rarely drink those as is. Sometimes I will add a small splash of cold water, typically because of a texture I may find could use some improvement -- for example, Baker's is very silky with a little splash. . . as far as bringing out the flavors? I've never really found that works much.

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  • 3 months later...

I started drinking bourbon with lots of ice in the glass, as you would normally get a drink at the bar when you ask for "on the rocks". Then slowly I started asking for less and less ice. Now I drink most of my bourbons with a single cube, but always try them for the first time neat.

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  • 4 weeks later...

99% of the time I drink my bourbon... and scotch, neat, at room temp. I don't find water to do much for bourbon at all, except water it down. Scotch, on the other hand, definitely changes with a bit of water.

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When I was 19, and the drinking age in Texas was still 18 years old, I was married to my first wife (turns out that the fourth time is the charm, NOT the third).

She poured herself a big glass of my bourbon. She didn't like the taste, so she then proceeded to mix it 50/50 with tap water. She didn't like that taste either, so she gave me this irretrievably polluted glass of bourbon that I had paid the princely sum of $8 for (1975 dollars).

I was aghast, and dumped it out. That wasn't the reason for our divorce, but it came close (grin).

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I prefer it with strong bourbons like OGD117.

I also enjoy bourbon and branch bourbon isnt the focus, say at a party or dinner.

Having excellent ice, is key.

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While not quite bourbon and branch, I read somewhere (maybe here on SB) that someone liked whiskey mixed 1:3 with wate and called it Kentucky tea and I gave it a try and it just didn't have enough flavor to enjoy the bourbon. Maybe i might enjoy a 1:1 mix but the 1:3 was a waste of whiskey.

When I find the perfect way to drink whiskey, i'll tell you all the secret...until then I must continue with the experiments.

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I'm a newbie here, but I like bourbon and water just fine. That may be partially because my esophagus isn't in really great shape, and drinking it neat sometimes gives me heartburn. Half bourbon and half water is a good starting point for me, as I don't like it too watered. Same with scotch, if I may use the s-word here. I'm still trying to find the best mix of water to bourbon for best flavor and no heartburn.

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  • 5 months later...
RamblinWreck007

I always add a good splash of spring water to anything over 100 proof.

Though a bolder bourbon, like Wild Turkey, makes an excellent Bourbon and Soda (ie. a take on a Scotch and Soda) for a tall drink.

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  • 1 month later...

Are there any suggestions from some of the experienced bourbon men as when to add water or not? Is it based on proof? Filtering? I would appreciate any of your thoughts. Thanks.

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MarkEdwards
Are there any suggestions from some of the experienced bourbon men as when to add water or not? Is it based on proof? Filtering? I would appreciate any of your thoughts. Thanks.

Personally, I think that adding water to bourbon does a horrible injustice to the bourbon. :smiley_acbt:

However, when to add water should be based on your taste preferences.

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Personally, I think that adding water to bourbon does a horrible injustice to the bourbon. :smiley_acbt:

However, when to add water should be based on your taste preferences.

I pretty much drink my bourbon neat now. Seems to work best for me as far as taste is concerned. Didn't know if water was something I should ry to expnd the taste profile.

Thanks for the input. :)

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I find that just a few drops of water can very often open up or "expand the taste profile" of Bourbon - a little. Generally works best with pours over 90 proof, in fact I don't add water to anything with less than 86 proof.

I use spring water NOT chlorinated tap water. And really, just a few drops not a big squirt.

On some barrel proof Bourbons small amounts of water seem to help the nose blossom a bit and it seems to bring some of the taste elements into better balance.

I prefer to drink the big proof stuff like Geo Stagg with enough water added to bring it close to 100 - 105 proof. So the water accomplishes two things - brings the proof low enough so that I don't scorch my taste buds for future use and helps open up the juice.

No right way or wrong way - the above is just my opinion and as always your milage may vary. I know there a plenty of people on the board that don't agree with me.

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I prefer to drink the big proof stuff like Geo Stagg with enough water added to bring it close to 100 - 105 proof. So the water accomplishes two things - brings the proof low enough so that I don't scorch my taste buds for future use and helps open up the juice.

100-105 is a bit to much water.

Remember that water was not in the barrel and that's where the majority of the flavor comes from.

Cutting it to 120-125 seems to do the trick for me

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