Cigars and Straight Gin
Gin is a special and uniquely versatile liquor distinct from other spirits, and a lot of it is thanks to those juniper berries that bring a slight piney-flavor with touches of fruit and pepper. And while we are fans of the classic G&T, you can most certainly drink gin neat as a sipping beverage. Just be sure to pick the right, high-quality gins (remember, bottom shelf is not classy) either chilled or with a little ice--because otherwise you’ll be left with an abrasive taste sensation of having just chewed on some pine needles.
Even with that bold flavor, gin often leads to nuanced beverages which can be easily overpowered when smoking full-bodied cigars.
This is why we suggest that, in general, when drinking straight gin (or a Gin and Tonic, or most gin cocktails for that matter) you should most-often opt for a mellow or mellow-medium cigar to preserve those delicate flavor notes at the forefront of your palate.
Cigars and Gin Cocktails
The majority of people enjoying gin drinks are often fans of mixology, and that aforementioned versatility lends to some creative cocktails. Every gin fan will have strong opinions over what is the supreme sipping elixir, but here are five essential hits and what to look for in a cigar to pair with them.
Some may say that the Gimlet is the true alternative to the classic martini. It is an extremely simple two-step drink (literally gin and lime juice) that’s equally as comfortable in hand at an upscale function as it is sipping while you sizzle poolside. Its easy-breezy profile calls for something equally as elegant and there’s no better partner than the Cohiba Connecticut.
The ultimate pre-dining experience cocktail: the Negroni’s ingredients of gin, sweet vermouth, and campari are each perfect aperitifs that when mixed together will be sure to stimulate your appetite--whether for a good meal or a nice cigar. Its bold red color (owed by the Campari) makes this drink an excellent lounge accessory in hand to your smoke and its louder flavors make it one of the few gin cocktails that can get away with being partnered alongside a cigar in the medium-full territory. That’s why we suggest sipping on a Negroni while smoking a Macanudo Inspirado Orange.
Corpse Reviver #2
Don’t let the shared name fool you, this is an entirely separate drink from the brandy cocktail. What they do share is an ability to wake the dead. And with the citrus ingredients we wouldn’t argue with you if you referred to this as a breakfast. Thus, we believe the ultimate compliment to the Corpse Reviver #2 is the appropriately named Diesel Hair of the Dog.
Not to be confused with Ryan Reynold’s gin brand of the same name, the Aviation cocktail’s key ingredient is creme de violette, which is a liqueur with natural and/or artificial violet flower flavoring and coloring. This drink’s flavor profile is, quite literally, delicate as a flower. As such, we think an equally intricate flavor profile would best be served by a cigar that’s been exposed to less sunlight which has allowed more natural sugars to remain in the Macanudo Gold Label.
It’s time to break out that cigar you’ve been keeping in your humidor until a celebratory occasion because this is a drink you’ll be popping champagne for. The gin and bubbles bring this cocktail’s body into a comfortably mellow range and thus demands a mellow smoke to compliment it. For a cigar that also teases some fuller flavors while remaining in the mellow range itself, we suggest pairing with a Partagas Classic.
Find your perfect cigar and gin pairing
Still need a little direction before mixing up a gin cocktail? Check out our Find Your Perfect Cigar feature below.
What’s your favorite cigar and gin pairing?
Cigars and gin go together like black ties and swanky soirees; what’s your go-to gin and cigar pairing? Let us know in the comments below.