What is "branch water"?

Dear Cecil:

I watch Dallas like some people go to church. J.R. is my favorite villain. He drinks "branch water," though, and for the life of me I can't find out what "branch water" is. Bartenders look at me like I'm nuts when I ask for it. Liquor stores don't have any idea what J.R.'s favorite drink is either. What is "branch water" and where can I get some?

Cecil replies:

Cecil replies:

You’re looking in the wrong place, bro. Get your nose out of the saloons and find yourself a babbling brook. Branch water is nothing more than water from a stream (often called a branch in the South) rather than a well. I gather such water is highly prized in some parts. Of course, you also hear people ask for a "bourbon and branch," meaning whiskey and plain water rather than soda water. So what J.R. is really supposed to be sipping is anybody’s guess.

Send questions to Cecil via cecil@straightdope.com.

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