The direct coupling between ionic liquid-based single-drop microextraction and gas chromatography/mass spectrometry is proposed for the rapid and simple determination of benzene, toluene, ethylbenzene and xylenes isomers (BTEX) in water samples. The extraction procedure exploits not only the high affinity of the selected ionic liquid (1-methyl-3-octyl-imidazolium hexaflourophosphate) to these aromatic compounds but also its special properties like viscosity, low vapour pressure and immiscibility with water. All the variables involved in the extraction process have been studied in depth. The developed method allows the determination of these single-ring compounds in water under the reference concentration level fixed by the international legislation. In this case, limits of detection were in the range 20 ng L(-1) (obtained for benzene) and 91 ng L(-1) (for o-xylene). The repeatability of the proposed method, expressed as RSD (n=5), varied between 3.0% (o-xylene) and 5.2% (toluene).