Tasting is a scientific process where those blessed with a developed palate elevate their dining or drinking experience by savouring all the elements in the product. Pairing also forms an important aspect to tasting as the right selection of wine or beer can really open up the flavours in a dish while the wrong selection can leave you with a bad taste in your mouth.
We are well used to wine and beer connoisseurs extrapolating about the different qualities of their beverages but the new kid on the tasting block is water. Yes, water.
The Merchant Hotel in Belfast hit headlines recently as they launched their Water Menu, a selection of mineral waters from around the world, all chosen for their different mineral content and flavours. The reaction of the general public was one of frugal indignation but where else would you find it but the one time home of the world’s most expensive cocktail.
The Water Menu is an exclusive range of thirteen bottled waters, still and sparkling, some of them the purest water in the world taken from glaciers, tropical islands and mountains. Prices on the menu start from £4.95 and go right up to £26.45 per bottle and a description of the water and its mineral content is displayed, just like a standard wine list.
The Merchant has also appointed two water butlers that will act as sommeliers and help guide guests through the list and choose the water that is right for their palate and complements their food selection.
Gavin Carroll, general manager of The Merchant Hotel explained that the water menu was a reaction to requests from diners: “Just like wine, the location where water is produced will impact on its taste and flavour. Whilst experts can differentiate between the mineral content and PH balance of different types of water, discerning consumers are also increasingly demanding a wider choice of waters.
The ethos behind the new water menu is to allow our guests to have the chance and choice to curate their own bespoke food and beverage experience. Our water butlers can help customers decide on the type water that will best complement the food and wine they choose, to enable them to experience the perfect taste journey.”
The hotel understands that not every diner will be interested in the luxury waters and are quite happy to offer customers a good old glass of Belfast’s finest, free of charge.
See the full Water Menu here
Alison has been writing since she could hold a pen, which came in handy for her degree in English, Media and Cultural Studies. She has been working in media since graduating and is the latest features writer for TheTaste.
Writing for TheTaste allows her to combine her passion for the written word with her love of food and drink. Find her on Twitter @AliDalyo