How to Handle Mineral Water?

Just like all beverages, the consumption of water also has a special serving and physiological aspects, moreover even protocol and fashion. This might come in handy for not only health conscious people but also for the gourmands.

Although there are good tips and suggestions on consuming mineral waters but one can easily realise that drinking carbonated water as fast as still water isn’t easy. Carbonic acid makes it difficult to drink carbonated water fast since it behaves as a kind of an arrester. But there are no further “rules” on how to enjoy mineral waters. Mineral water is the tastiest and the easiest to digest if taken straight from the cooler but if its temperature is lower than 5 °C it can be quite unkind to the stomach. Exceptions are the medical waters which have to be sipped at a temperature of 18 – 20 °C as a part of a medical treatment.

As Part of a Spread Table

Mineral waters are offered increasingly more often with meals lately. Water should be served with some food with which wine does not harmonize.  An example is an austere salad or a soup with which wine is not offered by traditional rules. Naturally the waiter must enquire whether the guest prefers still water, reduced or strongly carbonated type. Still water is too weak for the taste of some on the one hand but it “slides down better”, on the other hand. Others find too much carbonic acid is irritating since they find it dominates the entire drinking experience. It is a question of choice for us but according to gourmands’ advice the best is to have moderately sparkling water with meals. (Lemon slices are worth mentioning in this context. Lemon slices are dropped into mineral water by some waiters to make it look better. But lemon distorts the clean taste of water due to the oil in its skin) Water menu is offered ever more frequently in elite gastronomy. This offers a good opportunity for the host to present the guest with something different and provide the highbrow guests with the freedom of choosing this very important element of the menu according to their own taste.

At the Bar

Whiskey with soda is a staple drink of every bar. But soda is no more than carbonated drinking water. It does not have significance in a drink and any other sparkling water would do the same. On the other hand, the high salt content could negatively affect the taste. Nevertheless, the alcohol, sugar and fruit ingredients are usually so dominant that the minerals in the water play only a minor role. Carbon dioxide is much more important. It has to remain in the drink after stirring it turning it into refreshing and full of life. The most important rule is: the mineral water must be the last to be poured into the glass – this can be followed by no more than a short, brief stir. 

Only few pay attention to the water they prepare ice cubes from and use simple tap water for this purpose. But a first class drink deserves a first class ice cube which has to be prepared freezing mineral water. If we want to get crispy blocks we have to use still water or water with decreased carbonic acid content. The most important thing to be kept in mind when preparing drinks is that they have to be served cold and cannot get watered down due to melted ice. These ice cubes remain rocky in the blender they retain their form and float on the drink instead of melting too fast in just a few moments.

For Cooking and for Babies

Many bottles are labelled saying that the water is qualified for cooking. This concerns teas of mild aromas, coffee and food the use of tap water is not good enough for preparing it. Often there is a hint on the bottle that “it can be used to prepare baby food”. Since there is no such definition in the Act we can say that those mineral waters are good for this purpose which are bottled aseptic, their content equals the limit values required for drinking water and the following mineral limits are not exceeded: sodium 20 mg/l, nitrate 10 mg/l, nitrite 0,02 mg/l and fluoride 1,5 mg/l. There are no limit values regarding sulphates. Nevertheless they can have a laxative effect of little account for adults providing he or she does not consume too much from water heavy in sulphates.  But in the case of baby food the 250 mg/l sulphate content must be kept in mind. Still mineral water distributed in synthetic bottles must be boiled before using it for cooking since the number of germs might be too high for babies. The reference on a bottle that it fulfils the requirements for preparing baby food does not mean that the given water is appropriate for the elderly simply because great attention has to be paid to provide them with minerals in a sufficient amount.