If you prefer your whiskey neat instead of “on the rocks,” a study published in the journal Scientific Reports may convince you to take it otherwise.
The team behind the study used computer simulations to reason why the dilution provided by ice can make your booze taste better.
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Per the report, whiskey’s unique flavor mainly derives from guaiacol, a molecule that can respond well to water in the right dosage.
The team simulated how different concentrations of water affected guaiacol in an effort to find the sweet spot between the two.
Simulations showed that guaiacol is likely to be floating to the top of your glass when your whiskey is between 40 and 45 percent alcohol, which is approximately the alcohol by volume of Jack Daniels.
Its presence can intensify smell and taste, but you can also give that taste a boost by adding just a tiny amount of water to your glass, as it’ll push more guaiacol to the top of the drink rather than spread it throughout.
If the ABV is higher than 59 percent, you’ll definitely want to dilute it. Without any water at this percentage, the guaiacol is dispersing throughout the drink, causing you to miss out on that precious flavor.
Of course, regardless of what the experiment concluded, it seems that the best way to figure out your whiskey would be to experiment with dilution yourself—in moderation, of course.
Had researchers gone that route instead of using computer simulations, the report may have come out illegible and incoherent, but also a lot more entertaining, right?
Words by Gavin Evans