TIP OF THE DAY: Sparkling Water & Espresso
The chaser, a time-honored custom of alcohol consumption, is glass of water or a milder beverage consumed immediately after a strong drink. The term developed around 1897 from the French chasser, to chase.
But it took some etymological evolution to create the chaser we know today. Originally, the term referred to a drink of liquor consumed to kill the aftertaste of coffee or tobacco.
Say hello to the reverse of the modern chaser: There is no term for it, so we’re calling it a “leader” (leading is the reverse of chasing). It’s a glass of sparkling water served before a coffee or liquor, to clear the palate.
We didn’t invent the idea: It came to us from Ferrarelle, Italy’s favorite naturally sparkling mineral water, which is readily available across the U.S.
Ferrarelle caught the trend from Italian baristas.
Enjoy a “leader” of sparkling water before your espresso. Espresso cup courtesy Illy. Photo by Elvira Kalviste | THE NIBBLE.
Baristas, who want to deliver a perfect espresso experience, have found that serving a small glass of sparkling water first, cleanses and enlivens the palate. The thousands of tiny bubbles help wake up the senses, and the dissolved minerals in the water can add a new taste dimension to an espresso.
The trend seems to have begun in coffee bars in Milan, Italy. Order an espresso and a small glass of sparkling water appears first.
So, be the trendsetter in your crowd. You may even teach your local barista a thing or two.
Check out our Espresso Glossary. You’ll discover the different types of espresso drinks and the history of espresso.