A Guide to Pairing Your Cigar with the Perfect Cocktail
With such a diverse range of and liquor available, it can be quite difficult for even the best cigar aficionado or liquor connoisseur to pair the two beyond the traditional drinks such as a fine whisky or dark rum. The simple fix for this dilemma is the same as when we first began smoking cigars; taste, time and patience.
In the following feature, we go beyond the traditional single spirit drinks and dispense some ideas for what we think makes a perfect cigar and cocktail combination.
You utilize your taste buds on a daily basis, from deciphering what the secret spices your partner put in that spectacular meal one evening, to deciding which wine you would like at a dinner party and, of course, which cigar you will enjoy.
Just as a sommelier refines their palette for dissecting a great wine or, an expert cigar maker chooses the perfect leaf, with time and practice you will improve yours.
A sommelier can “nose” a drop of wine and separate the aroma into a multitude of complex flavors. And, as we all know, a cigar aficionado could pick out a single tobacco leaf by just smelling and smoking it, and then identify its country of origin, how long it has been fermented for and how old it is.
As mentioned beforehand, we are well acquainted with the joy of pairing a cigar with an excellent spirit; Cognac, Single Malt, Rum, Bourbon and Rye, but having the ability to match exquisite luxuries together is where the true magic happens! When it comes to cocktails, you want to learn the rich world of mixology, the drinks that are steeped in history and tradition, and of course, the contemporary prize winners. However, this is a long road to embark on, so we have devised a list of cocktails that we think make a great pair for your favorite cigar, and how you can make them for yourself.
Cocktails to Enjoy with Mild Cigars
Nothing quite suits a mellow cigar more than flavors from the coffee bean or Irish cream, because of the rich intensity of these balance out a smooth cigar.
Flat White Martini: Put 50ml of Irish cream, 25ml vodka, 25ml espresso and ice cubes into a cocktail shaker, then shake until everything is blended. Strain into a martini glass and garnish with a few whole coffee beans.
Traditional Black Russian: A thinner drink than the Flat White Martini. This choice is made up of simply vodka and coffee liqueur. Start by pouring 50ml of vodka and 25ml coffee liqueur over ice in a New Orleans glass, then stir. The next step is to simply enjoy it with your stogie! If vodka isn’t your thing, then you can try replacing it with a blended whisky or Amaretto for an equally delicious drink.
Cocktails to Enjoy with Medium-Bodied Cigars
With medium bodied cigars, an excellent palette cleanser and a refreshing drink are what we recommend.
Classic Mojito: Grab a small Collins glass and muddle half a fresh lime with a teaspoon of fine sugar. Take a handful of mint leaves in one hand and then clap. This is a trick that prevents the mint turning sour when combined with the rest of the ingredients but still allows for a release of that fresh and minty scent. Fill the glass two-thirds with crushed ice and pour in a good amount of rum, followed by topping it up with club soda. Finally, stir with a spoon and garnish with the lime shell, or a sprig of mint.
Stinger: Take a Cognac glass and fill half way with ice cubes. Next, you need to add 50ml of brandy and 25ml of Crème de Menthe liqueur and stir. Easy!
Cocktails to Enjoy with Full-Bodied Cigars
The Old Fashioned: First, muddle sugar, bitters and a twist of citrus rind into a short tumbler glass. Next, add ice and your choice of liquor – we find a good whiskey works best. A more contemporary version of the drink involves replacing the sugar and bitters with a ginger ale, but ultimately that’s up to you and what you feel works best with your stogie.
Bumbo: Select a long glass and proceed to muddle nutmeg or cinnamon with sugar and a drop of water. Half fill with ice, then pour over a finely selected dark rum. Finally, top with water or soda for carbonation, depending on your preference.
So, whether you are hosting a dinner party or just fancy an evening to indulge yourself trying something new with your favorite stogie, have a go at creating your own cocktails and let us know how it goes.