Pairing Cigars & Alcohol – Beefeater London Dry Gin

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 has 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 gin, rum, vodka and liquors, and bottle whisky. They were kind enough to sponsor Cigar Inspector with samples so we can write about pairings.

Beefeater London Dry

Although Beefeater was born in 1876, the history is even older and starts more than 50 years earlier in 1820 when a distillery was opened on Cale Street, in the Chelsea neighbourhood of London. The name refers to the Yeomen of the Guard who are a bodyguard of the British Monarch. According to the Beefeater website, Beefeater Gin contains nine different botanicals: juniper, angelica root, angelica seeds, coriander seeds, liquorice, almonds, orris root, Seville oranges, and lemon peel. It comes in at 40% abv, or 80 proof for our American friends. The Beefeater you find in the USA is a little higher in proof, 94 or 88 instead of 80.


This neutral coloured spirit is strong on the nose. Ethanol with juniper and some floral notes. There’s also some coriander in the nose with citrus. I taste citrus and pine, with a bite and a bit of a burn. There are woody and citrusy notes balanced out by floral flavours. The gin is savoury and that savoury feeling remains in the citrus and pine finish. I would not drink this neat, but if I would, I would pair it with a Montecristo Edmundo or a strong and earthy non Cuban.

Gin & Tonic

The gin & tonic has a little bit of a juniper aroma, but it’s muted by the ice and the tonic. The botanicals are clearly noticeable with a well-balanced dose of citrus. Very refreshing with the sparkling properties and bitterness of the tonic water. A medium bodied cigar will be nice. To stay in the Montecristo range, this calls for a Wide Edmundo, one of the newer Cuban offerings. Or a Maestranza Marquis by Meerapfel cigars.

And now for the gin tonic recipe:
2 ounces of 60ml of gin
4 ounces or 120ml of Tonic water
Fill a highball or Collins glass with ice. Add the gin, then the tonic and stir gently.

Green Ghost

The Green Ghost first appears in print in 1937, in the Cafe Royal Cocktail Book, where it’s attributed to a J. B. Hurrell. It is a simple, spirit forward, cocktail that uses London Dry Gin and the French Liqueur Chartreuse, the green version as you get from the name.

On the nose I get some lime and a lot of the spices and herbs from the green chartreuse. The juniper and botanicals of the gin are hidden behind the herbal aromas. I’m happily surprised, as that little bit of green Chartreuse and lime juice transform the gin into a nice, smooth, herbal, interesting and delicious concoction. The gin gives the cocktail body, the lime provides the tardiness that cuts binds the herbs of the liqueur and the botanicals of the gin together. This is a nice Cameroon cigar, something like the Arturo Fuente Don Carlos, New World Cameroon by A.J. Fernandez or the non-Cuban H. Upmann Cameroon.

And now for the Green Ghost recipe:

2 ounces or 60ml of Gin
½ ounce or 15ml of Green Chartreuse
½ ounce or 15ml of Lime Juice, freshly squeezed
Add the spirits in a cocktail shaker with ice, shake and strain into a chilled cocktail glass

Gin Sling

A simple cocktail, a twist on the Gin & Tonic. Four simple ingredients. But shaken instead of built in a glass like its famous brother. The cocktail has no aroma at all due to the ice. It tastes like a watered down version of a gin & tonic, a great cocktail for when you want some of the Gin & Tonic flavour but less of a boozy feeling. There is some bitterness and the lemon is clearly present. The rich simple syrup does not provide much sweetness. The botanicals of the Beefeater gin are muted. And because of this all this cocktail is a let-down, it tastes like medium sparkling water with some lemon and some bitterness. Because of that, literally any cigar will go with it. Will this cocktail get you drunk when you drink a few? Yes! But can you say that you had a nice cocktail on the way to a drunken haze? No!

And now for the Gin Sling recipe:
2 ounces or 60ml of gin
½ ounce or 15ml of lemon juice, freshly squeezed
¼ ounce or 7½ml of rich simple syrup (two to one sugar vs water)
Soda water
Add the gin, lemon juice and rich simple syrup with ice in a shaker and shake. Strain in a Collins glass over fresh ice and top op with soda water.

Inspector X

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