If you’ve spent all summer asking yourself: Does tequila go with cigars? Don’t waste another summer evening without a tequila drink sure to make you end the season with a smile. You may associate tequila with shots and crazy college nights, but really the spectrum of tequila offerings brings something to the table for every cigar lover.
So pour up a Paloma and spark a stogie; it’s time for a quick walk-through on pairing tequila and cigars.
A (Quick) Tequila Guide
Before we go into our favorite cigar and tequila pairings, let’s take a second to quickly go over the different types of tequila. Like any liquor, you can dive into the tequila world as deeply as you please, but this will be a brief overview of tequila offerings to help guide you to the ultimate tequila and cigar pairing.
As grain is to whisk(e)y, agave is to tequila.
Technically, for it to be tequila, it must be made with at least 50% Blue Weber Agave, cooked, crushed and fermented. How long that tequila is fermented turns it one of the following:
- Blanco Tequila: Sometimes referred to as silver tequila, this is probably the most well-known version that is taken as a shot or mixed into a lot of popular cocktails like margaritas.
If you’re smoking a cigar with straight Blanco tequila, we’d recommend a full-bodied and earthy cigar to pair with the salt likely consumed with your shots.
- Reposado Tequila: Meaning “rested,” Reposado is the same tequila as Blanco, aged for two to eleven months in oak barrels to give it a golden hue and slightly smoother drinking experience. Reposado tequila is great in some classic tequila cocktails like the Paloma.
We’ll get more into specific cocktail-cigar pairings below, but as a general rule of thumb, aim for a medium-bodied cigar to pair with Reposado tequilas.
- Añejo Tequila: Translating to “aged,” Añejo tequila has rested in oak barrels for at least a year, giving it an ultra smooth finish and vanilla notes. Añejo is typically sipped straight like a fine whiskey or scotch.
If you’re sipping Añejo straight, you’ll find happiness on both ends of the cigar flavor profile. A mellow cigar will balance out the flavors of your drink, allowing the Añejo to shine, while a full-bodied cigar will match the tequila’s intensity and provide you with an abundance of flavor.
So what cigars go well with tequila?
Good question. Let’s break down some of our favorite cigar and tequila pairings. Below, you’ll find a few of our favorite cocktails made with (mostly) Blanco and Reposado tequilas. We always have to note that pairings are very subjective; these are our favorites, but they don’t have to be yours.
You can’t write a cigar and tequila blog without mentioning a margarita. A delicious summer cocktail very popular here in the US, the margarita is the quintessential tequila cocktail. We’d recommend a full-bodied and peppery cigar like Trinidad Espiritu to balance out the salty citrus flavors in your cocktail.
Another sweet and simple cocktail, the Paloma makes the most out of that “rested” Reposado tequila for a refreshing and citrusy result. When pairing with a Paloma, we really enjoy the CAO Zócalo because the sweet and spicy flavors of the cigar pair well with the grapefruit soda in the drink.
If you’re from Texas, you can attest to the greatness mixed up in a Ranch Water cocktail. Made with Topo Chico (Mineral water), Blanco tequila and lime, this fizzy and refreshing drink pairs great with a lighter, more medium-bodied cigar that is packed with a lot of flavor and a little spice-like Inspirado Orange.
If you aren’t familiar with a Tequila Sunrise, it’s basically the quintessential: fruity-drink-I-got-on-vacation. Citrusy and colorful, take out that umbrella and find an easy-going Connecticut Shade cigar like a Montecristo to enjoy while you lay on the beach.
A Bloody Mary - but make it tequila! For this cocktail, you need a cigar that isn’t too strong because you’re likely enjoying it in the late morning or early afternoon. With a Bloody Maria, we like to pair a Punch Rare Corojo - if they’re in season - because it is medium-bodied with earthy yet slightly sweet flavors that go well with whatever salty toppings you’ve probably put on your drink.
So Mezcal is not tequila - a differentiation that basically boils down to what type of agave is used and how that agave is cooked. While Mezcal is Mexico’s agave liquor of choice, by definition, it does not have a spot in a tequila blog. But here at Cigar World HQ, we’ve got a pairing we haven’t been able to put down all summer and had to share it with you - Mezcal Mule + CAO Zócalo.
If you’re a fan of flavorful spice, the ginger and smokiness of a Mezcal Mule takes the sweetness and spicy notes of the CAO Zócalo to a whole new level.
Not familiar with a Mezcal Mule? You can make it fancy, but it’s basically a Moscow Mule with Mezcal substituted for Vodka.
Find your perfect cigar and tequila pairing
Still don’t know where to begin in finding your ultimate tequila-cigar pairing? Check out our Find Your Perfect Cigar feature below.
What’s your favorite cigar and tequila pairing?
As summer comes to a close, we’re shedding a small tear that tequila season is ending. Before we go, we want to hear what cigar you’re having with a tequila drink, so let us know below.