When you think of enjoying your favorite smoke, images of pairing it with a fine whiskey or brandy may come to mind. Whether you enjoy scotch, beer or the occasional glass of wine, even the most seasoned of cigar enthusiasts may find themselves at a loss when choosing the best cocktail to pair with their smoke. While many people may view cigar pairing as a mystery, the cigar experts at Black Cat Cigar Company are sharing some tricks to ensure you find the perfect harmony between your cigar and favorite drink!
Whiskey, Brandy and Scotch
Chances are if you drink whiskey, brandy or scotch you know these spirits have the deep, complex flavors to stand up to almost any cigar. The key with any pairing is to find balance between your drink and your smoke. Since these spirits are typically bold in taste, a medium- to full-bodied cigar like a La Gloria Cubana Serie R Esteli or Abe Flores 1975 Serie Privada will make a perfect pairing. These cigars are rich, dark and full of spicy flavor that goes great with any of these spirits.
With notes of creamy vanilla and caramel, bourbon tastes amazing on its own, as does your cigar. The trick here is perfectly pairing your bourbon with an Plasencia Alma del Campo or a Padron 1964 Anniversary so the flavors complement each other beautifully and you’ll enjoy a rich, creamy taste while sipping your bourbon.
Port, or port wine, is fortified wine that has been distilled with grape spirits. Typically rich, sweet and heavy, this libation is best paired with a strong, spicy, full-bodied smoke like a Camacho Triple Maduro or a Alec & Bradley Gatekeeper. Because port ages for a long span of time in a wooden barrel, it generally complements a cigar nicely because of the woody flavors acquired during the aging process.
Cracking a cold one and pairing it with a cigar isn’t as difficult as one might think thanks to the hundreds of craft beers that are available today. Depending on your preference of beer, (dark vs. light, pilsner vs. stout) the pairing possibilities are truly endless. If you prefer a stout, like Guinness, try pairing it with a Nat Sherman Timeless Supreme. The deep, bitter maltiness of the Guinness will taste great with the rich, creamy flavor of your Ashton. If you prefer a popular pilsner, try pairing it with any Montecristo cigar. The mild yet sweet taste of the Montecristo will perfectly complement the hops in the pilsner. While there are four distinct variations of IPA’s, there is one special cigar that will perfectly match up with each of them and that is the Arturo Fuente Anejo. The rich, buttery, sweetness of this cigar paired with the crisp maltiness of an IPA blends perfectly together.
While red wine is most associated with cigars, you can pair white wines and even champagne with your smoke. If you’re a red wine aficionado, try pairing with an Arturo Fuente Hemingway or an PDR 1878 Cubana Especial. Both cigars are earthy and spicy, perfectly complimenting a bold glass of red wine. If you enjoy white wines, try pairing your chardonnay with an La Galera Habano. This cigar has a touch of sweetness and blends effortlessly with a creamy glass of chardonnay. Chardonnay is the easiest white wine to pair with your cigar because of its extended aging time in oak barrels. If a glass of bubbly is more your style, try pairing it with a Montecristo White Label. This cigar delivers a rich, creamy and flavorful well-rounded smoke that goes great with the effervescence of your champagne.
Pairings to Avoid
While most spirits make perfect companions for your smoke, there are a few you should avoid at all costs. Pairing any cigar with a white spirit—such as vodka or gin—is usually frowned upon as the taste of the cigar often overpowers the drink.