People like to make fun of water sommeliers—at least people who are aware that there are water sommeliers. But even if you didn’t know such a job existed, simply wrapping your head around someone recommending different waters to go with your meal probably leaves you smirking.
However, I feel like—when pressed—everyone will admit that different waters taste different. Maybe as a kid you got used to drinking St. Louis tap water, and then on a family road trip, you found yourself disgusted trying to drink the water at a Ramada in Indiana. Sure, that example might be very personalized, but somewhere along the way, you’ve noticed that one type of water tastes different than another, even if it was just noticing that a bottle of San Pellegrino is different from a bottle of Arrowhead. So water sommeliers, like Martin Riese, are just guiding us through a reality we are already aware of, at least subconsciously.
According to the video below, Riese—who is currently based out of Ray’s & Stark bar in Los Angeles—is America’s only water sommelier, but as he points out, the position is more common over in Europe. He actually began training in Berlin a decade ago. America, it seems, is way behind the water sommelier times.
Sure, some parts of the job might take more time to accept than others. Is water pairing really that much of a thing? Still, Riese’s intentions seem to be very much in the right place. “Maybe people will start to rethink their use of water as well,” he explains. “Thinking, hey, actually water has taste; water has a value. Water is precious in our lives. Maybe we should rethink a little bit how we are using water in a better way.”
And, by the way, that will be $28.