Choosing the Perfect Drink to Enjoy With Your Favorite Cigar
It is an iconic visual in so many films: in the hero’s left hand, a cut crystal glass with two fingers of a golden amber liquid, in his right, a smoldering cigar. It is a scene you have repeated yourself, but you are never sure which cigars best complement your chosen libation. In the same way that sommeliers advise pairing red wine with a juicy T-bone and a nice sauvignon blanc with trout almandine, cigars and spirits have their own ideal pairings.
People pair red with beef and white with fish. As with all complementary pairings, it is important that neither flavor overpower the other. When choosing the perfect drink to enjoy with your favorite cigar, your best bet is one of the brown spirits, as the taste of the cigar often overpowers lighter-colored liquors. Note that these suggestions are all straight up, neat, or on the rocks. If you must add a mixer, choose water. If your chosen potable is more along the lines of a margarita or a martini, you want one of the sweet, mild cigars, such as a Drew Estate Natural.
If tequila is your favorite poison, your choice between the barrel-aged and silver varieties depends on the type of cigar you prefer. Barrel-aged choices such as Añejo and Corazon have a smooth finish and pair best with a mild cigar. Try a CLE Tatascan. Silver tequilas such as Patron, though, can handle a mild to medium cigar, such as the Romeo y Julieta Reserva Real.
If you are looking for a cigar pairing, avoid clear rums, as there is virtually no cigar pairing that works well with clear rum. Dark rum’s spicy, bittersweet flavors, however, go well with a full-bodied cigar. Consider the Padron 1964, Punch Bareknuckle, or maybe a Casa Magna with its chocolaty undertones.
Brandy and Cognac
In the same way not all sparkling white wines are Champagne, not all brandy is Cognac. They are both drinks named for their location, the region in France that gave birth to them. Both brandy and Cognac boast strong, complex flavors and they call out for a strong, complex cigar. Consider Cain by Oliva, Arturo Fuente Opus X, or a Padron Aniversario as the perfect complement to your snifter of cognac.
Milder brandies, such as those distilled from apples, pair better with milder smokes, such as Avo Classic or an Oliva Connecticut.
Many whiskey lovers prefer Irish whiskey for its ultra-smooth, mild flavor. This means you need a more mellow smoke while enjoying your Jameson straight up. Try a Nat Sherman Host Selection or a Montecristo Classic, as neither will overpower the taste of your favorite drink.
Whether it is from Tennessee or Kentucky, American whiskey packs a full-bodied punch. Your cigar should, too. Look for a Montecristo Media Noche or a spicy Padron to enjoy while sipping your favorite bourbon or rye.
The granddaddy of all cigar/liquor pairings is scotch whisky. These two just seem to go together, and the right pairing is almost a religious experience. Drinking complex single malt like Dalmore or Macallan calls for a cigar with gusto, such as the Rocky Patel Prodigy. Blended scotch whisky has a lighter, smoother taste. Consider a Drew Estate Smoking Monk as the perfect accompaniment.
Like everything else to do with taste, the perfect pairing is whatever tastes best to you. Try these ideas, but have fun mixing and matching your own taste sensations. Try out a variety of liquors and cigars until you find the perfect combination. Sounds like the best homework assignment ever to us!