Whiskey and Water

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WHISKEY AND WATER (Uisge agus uisge-beata). AKA and see “Wink and I'll Follow You.” Irish, Single Jig. E Dorian. Standard tuning (fiddle). AABB'. Francis O'Neill printed the jig in his Waifs and Strays of Gaelic Melody (1922) as "Wink and I'll Follow You."

Whiskey contains a chemical compound called guaiacol which lends itself to the smokiness and taste of most whiskeys. Bottled whiskey is diluted to 40% alcohol by volume (down from 70% at distilling), but other whiskey--aged cask whiskey--is stronger, about 55% to 65%. Studies have found that guaiacol is most present at the surface of diluted whiskey, which is why whiskey with added water tastes better: The taste molecules are at the top of your glass. "From a molecular perspective, water and alcohol don't completely mix...Instead, we have clusters of water molecules and clusters of alcohol molecules. When whisky is diluted, the alcohol is driven to the surface, and many of the taste molecules follow it because they like to be in a slightly less aqueous environment. The taste that we experience is therefore enhanced -- but there's a limit. If we dilute the whisky too much the concentration of the taste compounds is reduced and the drink will be meager."

In higher-alcohol whiskey, the flavor is different because the taste molecules aren't reacting to the presence of water. [Ashley Strickland, "Why whiskey tastes better with a little water", CNN, 8/18/17].

Source for notated version:

Printed sources: O'Neill (Music of Ireland: 1850 Melodies), 1903; No. 874, p. 162. O'Neill (Dance Music of Ireland: 1001 Gems), 1907; No. 377, p. 76.

Recorded sources:




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