Pairing Cigars & Alcohol – Ancho Reyes Verde

Pairing Cigars & Alcohol – Ancho Reyes Verde
Date: May 2024
Author: Inspector X

Cigars and alcohol. Two luxury products that go hand in hand, and sometimes even meet on business level. Aging tobacco in whisky, rum, or cognac barrels is a practice several brands do to achieve extra flavour to the wrapper for certain lines. The famous bourbon brand Maker’s Mark has their own cigar, sold in tubes with the signature wax coating. Drew Estate works with Pappy van Winkle and used to make Kahlua cigars. Mombacho used to have the Diplomatico series but Mombacho no longer exists. General Cigars works with Sazerac, which resulted in Fireball cigars, Weller by Cohiba and collaborations with Buffalo Trace. And there is the Diesel Whisky Row, a collaboration with Rabbit Hole Distilleries. Fratello Cigars also sells craft beer. Most famous are probably the Cuban collaboration between Martell Cognac and Cohiba. Dominique London, the European retailer with more than 20 shops in the UK, Belgium, Switzerland and the Canary Islands takes it one step further. They bought a distillery in Wales and produce whisky, gin, rum, vodka and liquors.

Ancho Reyes Verde

Ancho Reyes is a brand of chili liqueur produced in Puebla City, Mexico, based on a 1927 recipe from the same city. The liqueur is made from and named after Puebla’s renowned ancho chiles, a dried form of ripe poblano peppers.

The company produces two types of chili liqueur: the original, red Ancho Reyes liqueur and the newer, green Ancho Reyes Verde liqueur. The liqueur is produced using late harvest chiles that have sun-dried for 2 to 3 weeks. For the Verde version of the drink, early harvested fire-roasted poblano chiles are used in addition to the sun-dried chiles. Both liqueurs have an ABV of 40%. Just reading about this made me curious, so I purchased a bottle.

Neat

The nose is peppery, green peppers, it almost made me sneeze. There is also a little vinegar smell. The first sip makes clear that this is a chili-based spirit as the green poblano flavour is quite strong. It is unlike anything I drank before. Herbal, spicy with a little sweetness trying to balance the strong green chili flavour. This needs a strong cigar, preferably earthy. I would pair this with the Inch Nicaragua or a RoMa Craft Cromagnon.

Ancho Reyes Cucumber Cocktail

While browsing for Ancho Reyes cocktails, I found this amazing website with vegan and vegetarian Mexican recipes, and with an eye on the future for my children and (possible) grandchildren I do like to eat less meat, but that is a sidestep. On that website, I found a cocktail with Ancho Reyes that I just needed to try, the Ancho Reyes Cucumber Cocktail.

The nose is a mixture of cucumber and pepper. The first hit of heat comes from the rim of the glass. The recipe looked so nice, but after the first sip I knew I would never make this cocktail again. Too watery with a mild cucumber flavour and a strong pepper. Unbalanced, unmatching flavours, not very nice. I would pair this with a cigar from the Square Line or a Machetero from The Selection, a Guantanamera Cristales or any other cheap bundle cigar to make the experience extra unpleasant because smoking a good cigar with this cocktail is a waste of good tobacco.

And now for the Ancho Reyes Cucumber Cocktail recipe:
cup or 85 grams of cucumber
1 cup or 236ml of water

1¾ ounce of 52½ml of Ancho Reyes

1 ounce or 30ml of lime juice

Garnish: lime wheel & Cucumber slice

Blend the cucumber with the water and then sieve through a cloth to get a green, clean cucumber juice. Rim a rocks glass with ground chili and fill with ice. Pour in the Ancho Reyes, then the lime juice and top it with
half the cucumber juice. Stir gently to combine and garnish with the lime wheel and the cucumber slice.

Bee Sting

The Bees Knees is a famous Gin cocktail, and the Bee Sting is a riff on the Bees Knees, with a sting because of the chili liqueur. The Bees Knees is one of my favourite cocktails, but due to the strong citrus I don’t think it’s great with cigars.

The nose is gentle, lemon, botanicals from the gin and spice from the Ancho Reyes. From the start I know that this is the best of the three drinks I tried with Ancho Reyes. The lemon and honey balance the pepper while the botanicals of the gin form the perfect backdrop for the other flavours. Because of the added Ancho Reyes Verde, this is a much better cocktail for a cigar than the original Bees Knees. It will have to be a stronger cigar, for example a Bolivar from the beautiful island of Cuba, a Joya de Nicaragua Antaño Dark Corojo, Asylum Straight Jacket or a La Flor Dominicana Double Ligero.

And now for the Bee Sting recipe:
2 ounces or 60ml of Gin
¾ ounce or 22½ml of Lemon Juice, freshly squeezed
¾
ounce or 22½ml of Honey syrup
½ ounce or 15ml of
Ancho Reyes
Pour all the ingredients into a cocktail shaker with ice. Shake vigorously and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. You can garnish the cocktail with a lemon wheel.

The Getaway Car

Maeghan Dorman of the famous The Raines Law Room in New York City created this cocktail as an easy way to introduce people to Ancho Reyes. Her recipe calls for Appleton Estate rum, but any aged rum will do.

The nose is muted due to all the ice, so the garnish of the lime and the dusting of the chili powder are the strongest smells. The cocktail is Tiki style due to the pineapple and rum. It is well balanced, sweet with a spicy aftertaste. The lime juice gives it freshness while the aged rum, I used Angostura 7, gives the cocktail depth. In contrary to the other Ancho Reyes Verde cocktails, this could pair well with a medium bodied cigar. A Maestranza by Meerapfel’s The Selection could work, a nice Montecristo Wide Edmundo or the H. Upmann No.2 but a stronger cigar like the Drew Estate & Metallica collaboration Blackened will be a good pairing too.

And now for The Getaway Car recipe:
1 ounce or 30ml of Aged Rum
1
ounce or 30ml of Ancho Reyes Verde
1 ½ ounce or 45ml of Pineapple Juice
½ ounce or 15ml of Simple syrup (but pineapple syrup would be better)
½ ounce or 15ml of
Lime Juice, freshly squeezed
Pour all the ingredients into a cocktail shaker with ice. Shake vigorously and strain into a Collins glass or Tiki glass filled with crushed ice. Garnish with a lime wheel and a dusting of ancho chili powder.

Inspector X

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