By now, the world has heard of Martin Riese, the in-house "water sommelier" for Ray's & Stark Bar at LACMA. The entire globe actually pitched, for a moment, as countless millions rolled their eyes in unison and thought "of course there would be a water sommelier in Los Angeles." Riese's highly curated, 45-page water menu has been the source of chuckles, confused glances and even outright derision since it debuted early last month. Just ask Conan O'Brien.
The L.A.-based late night talk show host rolled all three reactions into one segment two days ago, when he had Riese himself on the show to discuss the ins and outs of water minerality, saltiness and TDS levels. You know, "total dissolved solids." There's also the question of a water's origin source and its ability to pair with other elements of your meal, in the same way that wine does. It's a lot to think about for just a bottle of water.
Click through for the video.
If you're already swimming a bit in the comparisons between water -- water, people -- and different varietals of wine, don't worry. The humorous segment on Conan's late night show is actually pretty straightforward in its assessment of the waters they try, from a $20 bottle of glacier water from Greenland to Riese's own 9OH20 brand, which is refined from Northern California mountain springs.
"I think my parents noticed [my fascination with water] at first," says Riese in the interview. "When I would go on vacation with my parents, the first thing I did was drink tap water. And my parents said 'what's going on, why is our son so thirsty'? For me, it was the taste."
Ultimately, Conan doesn't seem to get the whole concept of a "water sommelier," but plays along with Riese rather nicely anyway.
Have you tried the $12 water tasting at Ray's & Stark Bar? If so, are you a converted water snob, or is it all just H's and O's to you?