Pairing Cigars & Alcohol – Angostura 7 Year Old Rum

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. 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.

Angostura

The brand was founded around 1830 in the Venezuelan town of Angostura (now Ciudad Bolívar) by a German doctor, Johann Gottlieb Benjamin Siegert, Surgeon-General in Simon Bolivar’s army in Venezuela. Around 1820, he had tried to find a medicine to improve appetite and digestive well-being of the soldiers. This product is now known as Angostura bitters. In 1876 the company moved to Trinidad. For close to a hundred year, Angostura is also distilling rum in Trinidad.

Angostura 7 years is part of the premium rum range from Angostura. It is a blend of several rums, from light to heavy and anything in between. The rums are all aged in oak barrels for seven years. After blending, the rums are poured into bourbon barrels to marry before being bottled and sold.

Neat

The golden spirit is a bit thin in viscosity. The aroma of the rum has some cocoa notes with spices and smoke. There are hints of bourbon as well. The rum itself has a nice salty flavour, almost like dark liquorice candy, with caramel and the complexity of dark chocolate. This is quite creamy and much better than expected. I would pair this with a nice sweet maduro cigar. An Undercrown Maduro, Oliva Series O Maduro, Hemingway work of art Maduro, something like that.

Trinitario Mint Julep

This recipe comes from the Angostura website. And as expected, there is a lot of mind in the nose due to the garnish. The alcohol aroma is muted by the crushed ice. The cocktail itself tastes a bit like a very cold and minty old fashioned. The dark liquorice from the Angostura 7 Year is still there. The chocolate from the rum is enhanced by the cocoa bitters, but honestly, I expected more from this cocktail. I expected an elevated version of the neat rum, but instead, I would rather grab a glass of the rum with some ice to sip than to make this cocktail again. It would go well with a stronger cigar. La Preferida, A.J. Fernandez Enclave, Aging Room or the Big Papi cigars from Artista.

And now for the Trinitario Mint Julep recipe:
2 oz or 60ml of rum
2 bar spoons of fine sugar
8 mint leaves
Splash of mineral water
5 dashes of Angostura Cocoa bitters
Garnish: piece of chocolate & mint
Add all mint leaves to base of glass, then add sugar and mineral water. Muddle gently until sugar dissolves. ¾ fill glass with crushed ice. Add rum and bitters and gently mix with bar spoon. Add more ice and garnish with mint sprig and 70 % cocoa bar.

Hai Karate

There is just a mild orange aroma to this cocktail. It looks tropical with the juice and the garnish. The citrus is strong in this cocktail, with just a funky hit of rum and sweetness of the syrup. The bitters provide balance. The citrus in this cocktail demands for a stronger, earthy cigar as that’s the only way to balance out the tardiness. I paired this drink with an Oliva Master Blends 3, which was very good.

And now for the Hai Karate recipe
2 ounces or 60ml of rum
1 ounce or 30ml of lime juice, freshly squeezed
1 ounce or 30ml of orange juice, freshly squeezed
1 ounce or 30ml of pineapple juice
1 teaspoon of maple syrup
1 dash of Angostura bitters
Fill a cocktail shaker with ice and add all the ingredients. Shake for about 10 seconds and dump in your favourite tiki glass. Add more crushed ice if needed. You can garnish this drink with a lime wedge, orange slice and a cherry.

Inspector X

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