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Cigar & Spirits Pairings: A Helpful Guide
Finding a libation to complement your cigar is not as difficult as it seems. What your palate prefers should lead you to the right pairing. But some cigars and spirits pair better than others. Let's have a look.
You already use your sense of taste when deciding on which wine to drink with your dinner or selecting a sauce to complement your dish. Your palate tells you what is right for you, what flavor complements another. Developing your palate and experimenting with different pairings will guide you to your perfect match.
Some classic pairings with cigars are scotch, bourbon, rye, rum, brandy, and cognac. Most white spirits, such as vodka and gin, do not pair as well due to the cigar dominating over the liquor. There are, however, some exceptions (such as tequila). Red wine, beer, and even coffee can make a great pairing as well. The main principle is to not let the drink overpower the cigar or vice versa.
Here are two important guidelines you should keep in mind:
- Keep in mind to match the body of the cigar with the beverage. Cigars and spirits alike can be described as light-bodied, medium-bodied, and full-bodied. The concept is the weight of each on the tongue. For example, a light-bodied cigar will pair well with a young red wine, mixed cocktail, or flavored pale ale. For a medium-bodied cigar, you may opt for an aged rum or cognac. Full-bodied cigars are an excellent match with peaty single malt scotch, bourbon, or spiced rum.
- Knowing the flavor profiles of your cigar and drink of choice will help you decide on your pairing. Cigars are often described as having flavor profiles of wood, spice, chocolate, coffee and other characteristics such as sweetness. Spirits can also be spicy, woodsy, fruity and have a tobacco flavor. Combining these qualities will lead you in the right direction. (Read El Cigar Shop's Beginner's Guide to Flavors, Herbs, & Spices Found in Cigars here)
El Cigar Shop's 4 Favorite Cigar & Spirits Pairings
My Father # 3 and a California Zinfandel – True red Zinfandels have a mix of berry flavors and subtle hints of spice and cedar. The My Father #3 is a full-bodied Nicaraguan blend with bold notes of pepper and spice. The cigar and wine go extremely well together.
Padrón Damaso and Rum - The woodsy, spicy, medium-bodied Padrón Damaso and a good rum (such as the spicy Flor de Cana 12) make a delicious pairing.
Perla del Mar "G" and beer - Mild to medium bodied, the cigar is a great match with a Mexican beer such as Corona or Dos Equis.
Java and Coffee – Java is an infused cigar with flavors of mocha, coffee, & a hint of vanilla. This makes them the perfect companion with a cup of rich coffee (black or flavored).
I hope these tips help. Happy pairing!
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El Cigar Shop is an online cigar store and walk-in humidor in Glenside PA. We have a huge selection of premium and rare cigars, only matched by our incredible, can't-be-be prices. Visit El Cigar Shop now to learn how to get 30% off and free shipping on every online cigars purchase. Be sure to use our Cigar Wizard to find the perfect smoking companion for your favorite spirit or other beverage. And call us at 215-576-5300 to talk with a cigar aficionado personally for more tips. Read more cigar-related articles and news Here.