Wine, beer, and spirits ranking service the Beverage Testing Institute has ranked water for the first time.

By Mike Pomranz
August 20, 2019
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Different waters taste different. If you've ever drunk tap water in both Arizona and Ohio, you know this. If you've ever tried both Dasani and Aquafina, you know this. If you've ever refused to drink out of a hose, you know this. And yet, the idea of rating waters — whether it's by a water sommelier or whoever — can seem a bit ridiculous. But the Beverage Testing Institute (BTI) is over this stigma. For the first time ever, the nearly four-decade-old wine, beer, and spirits rating company has added water to its portfolio, releasing the results of its "2019 World Water Championships."

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Okay, these "World" Championships weren't particularly extensive: BTI has added reviews of 19 waters across five categories to its website, Tastings.com. However, if you are interested in getting some professional opinions on brands like Smartwater, La Croix, and Canada Dry, they've not got you covered.

So how did they finish? Schweppes beat out Canada Dry and Q to easily take home the top club soda spot, hauling in 95 points (the system is the same as with wine), a full 8 points more than its Canadian counterpart and the highest score of any water tasted in any category. "A super clean club soda that offers a mousse of tight, energetic bubbles; that will become your next go-to bubbly," the review states.

With a score of 92, Evian took down The Mountain Valley in the "still spring water" category. With 94 points, Simply Balanced beat out Essentia, Dasani, and Smartwater as the best "purified water." At 93 points, Perrier was the only gold medal awarded in a "sparkling water" group that also included Topo Chico and Cedea. And in the most stacked category — "flavored sparkling water" — La Croix Passionfruit scored 94 points to take the top spot, though Perrier Peach, Simply Balanced Ginger Peach, San Pellegrino Essenza Lemon & Lemon Zest, Perrier L'Orange, and Voss Strawberry Ginger all received gold medal recognition as well, with only Voss Raspberry Rose dropping into silver territory.

Interestingly enough, however, BTI also has an "expert panel of influential bartenders and on-premise buyers" rank the Best Club Soda for a Highball. There, Schweppes came in fourth, while Topo Chico took first place as the best whiskey mixer. It just goes to show you that different occasions call for different waters. Like, if you're looking to fill an above ground pool, well, there's one of the few times where hose water takes the top spot. It all just depends!

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