Whether it’s cigar and scotch pairing, cigar and beer pairing or any cigar and liquor pairing, even experienced cigar smokers and spirit connoisseurs can find themselves at a loss when pairing cigars and drinks. In fact, figuring out which drinks to pair with cigars strikes many as a mystery. But it’s a mystery that can be solved using the tip of your tongue.
You already use your natural tasting abilities when you choose what salad dressing to use, or which wine you want to drink with dinner. The more you use your sense of taste, the better your palate becomes, which is exactly how cigar makers and whiskey distillers refine their expertise.
For example, a cigar master can smell and smoke one single tobacco leaf and tell you what type of tobacco it is, its country of origin, and how long it has fermented or aged.
Likewise, a master distiller can smell and taste a sample of whiskey and explain the aroma, flavors and proof. It takes years of practice to become a master at either skill, but fortunately, these skills can be learned.
Tips for pairing cigars and drinks
Few things are more satisfying to the palate than pairing your favorite cigar with an equally enjoyable drink. Generally, the best spirits to pair with cigars are cognac, single malt whiskey, bourbon, rum, rye, and port. While tequila makes for a nice partner, you’ll want to stay away from most white spirits, like vodka and gin, as the cigar will overpower the drink. Some red wines and certain beers can also make a great match with cigars.
"Ultimately, balance is the key to pairing cigars and drinks. One shouldn’t outdo the other. Rather, they should enhance each other. "
When it comes to cigar pairings, simply match the body of the drink to the body of the cigar.
For example, a light-bodied cigar can go well with white wines, young reds, blended scotches, or lighter beers.
Medium-bodied cigars pair well with Speyside and some Lowland whiskeys, most Irish whiskeys, rums, bourbons, ryes, ports, or a variety of fuller-bodied beers.
Full-bodied smokes are a great match with peaty Islay, heavier Highland single malts, or dark stouts.
These cigar pairing tips are meant to get you started. Your taste is the final judge as to what works and what doesn’t. Have fun testing out different cigar and drinking pairings, from spirits and cocktails to wines and craft beer, and discover what’s right for you.
Which cigar alcohol pairings are your favorite? Tell us below or join a group to see what others think.