Cigars & Cocktails

Cigars & Cocktails
Date: October 2023
Author: Inspector X

During the covid pandemic I started watching old episodes of Bar Rescue, the TV show where Jon Taffer rescues failing bars. For those that are unaware of the show, it follows the same principle as Gordon Ramsey’ Kitchen Nightmares. Taffer, who calls himself the Gordon Ramsay of the bar industry, visits failing bars all over the United States. He follows the staff and owners for a few days with security cameras, then comes in and screams at people. Then he goes to work, brings in a chef and a mixologist to train the staff, implements a new concept and a few days later the bar opens under another name, often with long lasting success. Seeing all the cocktails being made inspired me to buy a cocktail shaker, different styles of glassware, different molds for ice cubes and a whole range of different alcohols. And ever since, I am making cocktails at home a few times a week. I’m watching cocktail channels on YouTube (my favorites are how to drink, Anders Erickson & Steve the Bartender, but there are plenty of others worth watching too).

Often I enjoy the cocktail I make with a cigar. That inspired me to this article, do cocktails and cigars go together? And the answer isn’t going to be yes or no. The variety of cocktails is so immense that yes or no is an impossible answer. Some cocktails are fantastic to pair with cigars, others aren’t. For example, I would not pair a cigar with an overly sweet or overly acidic cocktail. These kinds of cocktails don’t pair well with cigars in general. But other cocktails are a match made in heaven with cigars.

As we all know, whisky and rum often pair well with your cigar. So going with a cocktail that is built on these types of liquor is often a safe bet. Although I personally am not the biggest fan of pairing a tiki style cocktail with a cigar due to the sweetness of the fruit syrups even though tiki style cocktails are rum based. One of my favorite rum cocktails is the daiquiri, a refreshing yet quite acidic cocktail that I will only pair with a cigar with a very earthy flavor profile and some strength otherwise it will be overpowered. Very bitter cocktails, such as the Negroni, aren’t a good match with cigars either in my humble opinion although I have friends who disagree with me on this.

The safest choice for a cigar and cocktail pairing would be the O.G. of cocktails, the mighty Old Fashioned. A simple yet elegant cocktail, most likely the first cocktail ever invented. And it’s now more popular than ever. Maybe because it’s so versatile, you can make an old fashioned with almost any hard liquor whether its Bourbon, Scotch, Brandy, or Rum to mention just a few options. I like to make my Old Fashioned with a smooth Irish whiskey although I have been known to use Nikka from the barrel as well. Just put a sugar cube in a whisky glass, add a few dashes of Angostura bitters and a few dashes of water. Then muddle the cube, add a big ice cube or ice ball to the glass. Pour in 45ml or 1.5oz of your liquor of choice and stir. Light up your cigar and enjoy.

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