Pairing Cigars & Alcohol – Angostura 1787

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.

In 1776, Trinidad, then a colony of Spain, finally opened its shores to the French planters of the Eastern Caribbean islands. It was the beginning of the transformation of Trinidad from a Spanish backwater to the newest sugar plantation frontier. The year 1787, the milestone which Angostura® 1787 rum celebrates, was a landmark period as it was then that Trinidad’s very first sugar mill was established at the Lapeyrouse Estate. This marked Trinidad’s inevitable climb to the heights of fine rum production. During the 17th and 18th centuries, planters preferred European imported drinks; by the end of the 18th century rum had become universally popular. An exquisite sipping rum, Angostura® 1787 commemorates the establishment of the country’s first sugar mill. The Angostura 1787 is 15 year old rum with an ABV of 40%.

Neat

The aroma is sweet. I smell apricots but I also get quite some ethanol. Sultanas are in the nose as well. The flavour is quite unusual, not too sweet but more of an umami and smoky flavour. Savoury and salty, like dark liquorice, charred oak. There is some sweetness, but definitely not as much as 99% of the rums I drank in my life. The finish has some leather notes and I think this will go very well with a leathery Cohiba Siglo VI or a cigar with a sweet, thick and dark Connecticut Broadleaf wrapper.

Queen’s Park Swizzle

Trinidad’s Queens Park Hotel may have closed in 1996, but its eponymous drink has endured well into the 21st century. It’s not hard to see why: The icy mix of demerara rum, mint, sugar, lime juice, and Angostura bitters has served as a delicious and eye-catching way to cool off since it debuted at the Port of Spain hotel in the early 20th century. Today, the drink is enjoyed on the island and beyond; the Trinidad-based House of Angostura has even angled to make it Trinidad and Tobago’s national drink.

On the nose it’s all Angostura bitters as they are floating on the top of the crushed ice. This is a strange cocktail. Bitter due to the aromatic bitters, sweet because of the demerara sugar, tard because of the lime and all with a strange minty undertone. Add the smoky and charred flavour of the rum and it makes it all too confusing on the palate. The tard of the lime makes it very hard to pair this cocktail with a cigar, only something strong with darker flavours could stand up to it. Enclave Broadleaf from A.J. Fernandez would be one of the options for me, as well as many other great Nicaraguan made cigars with a broadleaf wrapper.

And now for the Queen’s Park Swizzle recipe:

2 ounces or 60ml of Angostura 1787
6-8 dashes of Angostura Bitters
1 ounce or 30ml of demerara syrup
1 ounce or 30ml of lime juice, freshly squeezed
12-14 mint leaves
Garnish: mint sprig
Build in a highball glass; muddle mint leaves in lime juice and demerara syrup then fill glass with dry crushed ice. Pour rum over crushed ice and swizzle well until glass is ice-cold and frosted. Pack glass with more crushed ice and top with Angostura® aromatic bitters

Tea Amour

I know I used this cocktail before, when I paired Captain Morgan White Rum and the Plantation 3 Stars rum with a cigar. But I love this cocktail and wanted to see if a better quality rum would exponentially improve the cocktail. So I tested that with the Plantation 3 stars, a higher quality white rum. Now I’m curious what a dark rum does in this cocktail. The recipe comes from The Cabinet, a cigar & whisky bar in Kuala Lumpur.

The nose is sweet and fruity from the peach puree. Other aromas are covered by the peach. The mouthfeel is creamy and soft because of the egg white. The dark rum gives the cocktail a bit more depth. The lemon provides the perfect amount of acidity while the peach and black tea syrup balance everything out. The smoke and charred wood from the Angostura 1787 match very well with these flavours. Almost any medium to full bodied cigar will go well with this, as long as the cigar doesn’t have a sweet flavour profile.

And now for the tea amour recipe:

1½ ounce or 45ml of Angostura 1787
½ ounce or 15ml of Peach Puree
½ ounce or 15ml of Black Tea Syrup *
1 ounce of 30ml of lemon juice, freshly squeezed
1 egg white
Put all ingredients in a shaker and dry shake. Then shake again with some ice till well-chilled. Serve in a martini glass, garnish with some tea

*black tea syrup. Boil 100 grams of water with 100 grams of white sugar and 20 grams of black tea. Strain when the sugar is completely dissolved and store in the fridge up to several months just like regular simple syrup.

Last Bird

The Last Word is a world famous cocktail and so is the tiki cocktail Jungle Bird. This is a combination of both, a tribute to both classic cocktails. Now I never made the Last Word as I am unable to find maraschino liqueur where I live but the Jungle Bird is one of my favourite cocktails and for me the only way to enjoy Campari so far.

The Campari and pineapple make up the nose. The flavour is very sour, it lacks sweetness so maybe I should have used a sweeter rum for this cocktail. The bitterness of the Campari shines through as well, with the funky flavours of the Angostura 1787. The herbal flavours of the Chartreuse get lost in the bitterness. I had high hopes for this cocktail but it isn’t up my alley. The bitterness would be pairable with a strong cigar, but the tard makes it very hard to pair this with any stick. As far as the cocktail, my wife finished it for me as I couldn’t.

And now for the Last Bird recipe:

¾ ounces or 22½ml of rum
¾ ounces or 22½ml of Campari
¾ ounces or 22½ml of Pineapple juice
½ ounce or 15ml of green Chartreuse
½ ounce or 15ml of lime juice, freshly squeezed
Add all ingredients in a shaker with ice. Shake and strain into a rocks glass.

Inspector X

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