For cigar enthusiasts who love to celebrate the finer things in life, smoking is a hobby and not a habit. Exploring the ‘unexplored’ can inject a bit of surprise into established experienciences in terms of taste, feel, and impact. It goes without saying that creating innovative spirit and cigar pairings is a way to continue that discovery into what has kept cigar enthusiasts enchanted with endless possibilities for years.
Pairing cocktails with cigars remains a mystery as even the most experienced cigar enthusiasts and spirit connoisseurs struggle to define and discover the perfect combos. On a positive note, this is a mystery that can be solved provided you learn to use the clue that rests on your senses of taste and smell. Bourbon, rum, port, rye, bourbon, cognac, and single malt whiskey are classic combinations, while tequila and white spirits, such as gin and vodka, fail to create the magic as the cigar can overpower the spirit. Cigars can be paired well with some red wines and craft beers. The guys at Beer Chow have produced a great read on the basics. Check it out!
One general rule to strike a near-to-perfect combination is to match the composition of the cigar with that of the drinks. White wines and fresh reds can be satisfactorily clubbed with soft-bodied cigars while the medium-bodied smokes can go well with Irish whiskeys, rye, port, bourbon, rum, and even with some Lowland whiskeys. Full-bodied smokes can be paired with Highland single malts and peaty Islay as well. But this is just a generalization and there’s no surety that a marriage will be a success or a failure.
Great pairings are created when the hidden flavors from the cigar and the spirit express themselves to create synergy. A soft cigar may suddenly generate the taste of cocoa, a whiskey may smell like an orange-peel and both may combine magically to create sort of a nuttiness which did not show up previously. Outcomes of marriages are unpredictable and perhaps it is this mystery that makes the love story of leaf and malt more interesting.
There’s no perfect equation that will predict the perfect marriage of cigar and drinks and it is your taste that has to be the ultimate judge in deciding what works and what does not. Play and discover your own pairings. Happy testing and let us know what you love!
Stay tuned as we will release a list the most popular cigar and spirit pairings in our next blog.