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Jürg Widmer Probst on how to pair your cigar with the perfect drink

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If there is one thing that is better than enjoying a high quality cigar, it is enjoying a high quality cigar with the right drink. 

And just as certain types of wine go with certain foods, the same is the case with cigars and drinks. So how do you go about matching that cigar you’ve just pulled out of the box with the perfect drink from your cabinet? 

Here are a few basic guidelines.

1. Match bold-flavoured drinks with a strong cigar

If you’re about to light up a cigar with a strong, peppery flavour profile like a 601 La Bomba, you need a drink that can handle this. 

Pick an alcoholic drink like a tequila to balance out (but not overwhelm) your powerful cigar. Remember, it is important that the two flavour profiles work together, rather than cancelling out or swamping each other.

2. Match more subtly-flavoured cigars with a smoother drink

There is a reason people smoke a mild cigar with their morning cup of coffee. It’s because they like the blend of coffee they drink, and they want to taste it properly. 

But it is also because they like all of the flavours that go into the particular cigar they’re smoking. 

They know the coffee will balance – and even enhance – that smoking taste experience. And because they’ve chosen a cigar with a subtle, complex flavour, the two elements will work perfectly together. 

3. It doesn’t always have to be an alcoholic drink

Sure, a delicious malt whisky, a brandy or a high quality tequila is a great option to go with a cigar. 

And we’ve already spoken about the joys of that coffee and a mild morning cigar. But what about other non-alcoholic options? 

Our left-field choice for this is cream soda. It’s actually a wonderful match – the vanilla flavours of a cream soda go perfectly with a cigar. There is also a bit of history here too. Apparently the original Cuban cigars were designed to give smokers a real hit of vanilla flavour, so the match up makes sense.

4. Think about the colour

Here’s a technique that actually works. Use the colour of your drinks and your cigar as an indicator of the relative richness of each. 

So, a deep brown, full-bodied cigar will probably go well with an equally full-bodied, rich coloured bourbon. 

And that light and creamy cigar you’ve just pulled out of the box will go perfectly with a light and complex single malt. Hold them both up to the light, and see how they look together.

5. Avoid white spirits

Some people might say this is a good general rule for life, but we’re just talking cigars here! 

White spirits like vodka and gin just don’t really work with cigars for some reason. Even though many of them have a strong enough flavour, it seems that cigars just overwhelm them. 

So, stick with the whisky, cognac, brandy and rum when you’re deciding which drink to go with your cigar of choice.

John Richardson
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