There is no hard and fast rule when you’re looking to choose the best drink to have with a cigar. Just like you would when opening a humidor to grab a cigar, trust in your own palate to guide you. Do that and you’ll get it right most times. But if your sole objective is to pair a drink with your cigar of choice, then take it as an opportunity for you to enhance and amplify the entire cigar smoking experience you are about to embark on.
When it comes to matching drinks with cigars, personal preferences play a huge part in making the right decision. So deciding on what drink best pairs with your chosen cigar depends greatly on what you actually like to drink. Whether that’s whisky, wine, beer, champagne, cocktails or coffee, it can be made to work. However, cigars are delicate and complex. Because different cigars produce an array of different aromas and flavours, these things need to be considered when you go looking for a drink to match well with your stogie of choice.
In this article we’ll share insights on both flavour and weight or body of a cigar and accompanying drinks, and how they tie together to help guide your selection. Then, we will look at drinks to pair with a cigar; Cuban Cigars, Non-Cuban Cigars, Cohiba Cigars, Tatuaje Cigars and others, before finishing off with a number of pairing recommendations.
Should your palate start firing off signals to your brain when you start reading, at least you are at the very best place to buy cigars online Australia.
Weight & Flavour
While Alcohol By Volume tends to be the main factor influencing the weight of a drink, everyone’s palate is different, so weight can be attributed based on the fullness of flavour when consumed. Think of it as the mouthfeel you experience when having a drink of a certain tipple.
Those big, powerful, bold drinks with substance or ‘grunt’ are called full bodied, while drinks that are more delicate and usually lighter in colour, or hue, are what we refer to as light-bodied. In between are the medium bodied drinks, often positioned midway along the weight spectrum.
When I hear the term ‘full-bodied cigars’, my first thoughts fly to Tatuaje Cigars and their Black range. When you get one of them like a Tatuaje Black Corona Gorda or even a CAIN F 660 it demands a drink of similar weight characteristics, so it complements the stogie well. If you are smoking a cigar, like an Oliva Connecticut Reserve Robusto or Arturo Fuente Chateau Fuente, which both sit at the lower end of the strength range, it might pair up nicely with a lighter, more delicate beverage, like a Prosecco or Champagne.
Classic Drink & Cigar Pairings
So you now know when pairing the ideal drink to go with your cigar, typically you want to aim to tie it in with flavours and weights that compliment your cigar. For a full-bodied cigar your ‘go-to’ drink might be a full-bodied spirit that will not be overpowered by the stogie itself. The trick with pairing a drink to cigar, is to have them work together in harmony, while allowing the subtle contrasts between them to enhance the other’s aroma or taste.
A light bodied drink to match with a mild cigar could be a white wine, light red or blended scotch.
Drinks of medium weight pair nicely with cigars of medium strength. That means Irish Whisky, Rums, and Bourbon would complement the Oliva Serie V Cigars and the crowd favourite, My Father Le Bijou 1922.
When you’re smoking a big, bold, full-bodied cigar, then it’s time to call on the heavy-weight single malts.
Let's start with a few classic drink-cigar pairings that complement the flavours of cigars really well and will more often than not, leave a smile on your face; single malt whisky, cognac, rum, rye, bourbon and port.
Rum is harnessed from the same parts of the world where tobacco leaves prosper, so these pair up nicely with cigars.
Cognac is the perfect after-dinner drink to have with an after-dinner cigar, and probably the most famous of drinks to have been paired with cigars over time. The flavours can make a classic pairing.
Whisky and cigars are a match made in heaven. There is a cigar to pair with every whisky as there is a whisky to pair with just about any cigar. Whether it’s a Scotch Whisky, Irish Whiskey, Bourbon Whiskey or Rye whiskey, their smell and aroma can be beautifully enhanced by the smoke of a quality cigar.
Beer can work with cigars, but with so many varieties to choose from, tread carefully. A wrong choice might bring our bitterness from the cigar.
Aged, lighter and smoother varieties of wine can pair nicely with cigars. Stay away from younger reds or others with rich tannins. White wines, on the other hand, are worth experimenting with. Rieslings can help bring out aromas of a cigar, while a well-balanced Chardonnay (not too buttery and not too acidic) can work with medium bodied stogies. Champagne’s bubbly texture makes them a great fit for lighter bodies cigars while fortified wines and ports match pretty well with full-bodied cigars.
White Spirits like Vodka, Gin and white Rum tend not be a great match for cigars as they get overpowered by a cigar. An exception to that rule is tequila. It’s a spirit bigger in weight and that can allow it to pair up nicely with some cigars.
With Full-bodied Cigars
Tatuaje Fausto FT127 Robusto - Bookers Bourbon (Bold)
Cain F550 – Ardbeg, Bruichladdich (Peaty Scotch Whisky)
Tatuaje Black Corona Gorda – Guinness (Heavier Beer)
Tattoo Bonito – Sangiovese or Malbec (Red Wine)
With Medium-bodied Cigars
With Light Bodied Cigars
Oliva Connecticut Reserve Robusto – Riesling, Champagne or Light Red
My Father Connecticut Corona Gorda – Gamay, Beaujolais (Light Red Wine)
Arturo Fuente Magnum Rosado R44 – Session Ale or Corona (Beer)
There you have it. You now have the ammunition to create amazing drink pairings with your cigars. Yes, there are certain beverages that work really well with cigars. Use the information above to guide your selection. Ultimately, it comes down to drinking and smoking what you love!
Do that, and you can’t go wrong!
Joe Box - Your Brother of the Leaf
PS: To explore all the phenomenal Cigars mentioned above, that pair up beautifully with your 'tipple' of choice Click Here