Pairing Cigars & Alcohol – Captain Morgan White Rum

Pairing Cigars & Alcohol – Captain Morgan White Rum
Date: June 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 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 whisky, gin, rum, vodka and liquors.

Captain Morgan White

Captain Morgan is a well-known rum, but not so well respected amongst the rum connoisseurs. It is a wallet-friendly, mass market rum and best known for the spiced version of the drink. The brand has been around since 1944 but was only introduced on a large scale in 1984 when it entered the American market. The brand is owned by one of the largest alcohol companies in the world, Diageo. The name comes from the privateer Sir Henry Morgan, who sailed the Caribbean in the 17th century.

The Captain Morgan White Rum is a blend. It contains five times distilled rum that has been aged in white oak barrels. After that it’s been filtered so to remove the colour. What remains is a crisp white rum.

Neat

The nose is quite light, buttery with vanilla, citrus and molasses. There is only a hint of ethanol. The spirit itself is sweet with hints of vanilla and citrus. The sweetness is molasses and sugar and I suspect that sugar is added to the spirit. The finish is thin and doesn’t linger. This is a white rum that will also appeal to vodka drinkers, but I’m not a vodka drinker at all. I personally wont sip this spirit neat, but if you do I would pair this with a milder, creamy cigar. An Oliva Connecticut Reserve for example, Rocky Patel Vintage 99 or a Cuban Fonseca.

Mojito

The classic white rum cocktail that even the people that don’t drink know, if only it was by name. There are many ways to make it, the way I do it is not the easiest, but I like it better than a version with lime juice and simple syrup. Somehow this feels more artisan. The nose gives lime and mint, but that’s no surprise with a lime wedge and a mint sprig as garnish. The sugar gives the cocktail a nice sweetness, the club soda gives it a bit of a dry mouthfeel. The lemons are for acidity with the minty freshness. And then lingering below these flavours is mild vanilla flavour of the rum. This is a middle of the road white rum and thus a middle of the road mojito. No character so I would not waste a great, complex cigar on this version of the mojito. Get one of your budget friendly cigars out, the Alec Bradley Spirit of Cuba series, Joya de Nicaragua Classico,  Jose L Piedra or a Vegueros.

And now for the Mojito recipe:
2 tablespoons of sugar
10 mint leaves
1 lime cut into 3 wedges
1 ½ oz or 45 ml of white rum
Club Soda
Ice
Place mint leaves and 1 lime wedge into a sturdy glass. Use a muddler and crush to release mint oils and lime juice. Add remaining lime wedges and 2 tablespoons sugar, and muddle again to release the lime juice. Do not strain the mixture. Fill the glass almost to the top with ice. Pour in rum and fill the glass with club soda. Stir, taste, and add more sugar if desired.

 Tea Amour

In the summer of 2022 I was travelling and ended up in Kuala Lumpur. As you can read in our pre-covid articles about Kuala Lumpur it is a city with a lively cigar-scene but also with a lively alcohol scene. There are a lot of whisky bars and cocktail bars. One of the most famous, and one of my personal favourite, cocktails was born in Kuala Lumpur and that’s the jungle bird. But I found a new cocktail born in Kuala Lumpur. Born in The Cabinet, a fantastic speakeasy cigar bar in the Bangsar neighbourhood of Kuala Lumpur. It is the Tea Amour and after begging for several months, head bartender Jason finally gave me the recipe and permission to publish it.

The nose is mostly the sweet peach puree with a hint of the musky Captain Morgan White rum. This cocktail is perfectly balanced between peach sweetness and lemon sourness with a velvet mouthfeel from the egg white. The rum gives it a bit of a bite while the black tea flavour is a nice subtle touch. I would pair this with a nice Jas Sum Kral Fuck the FDA or a Luciano the dreamer cigar. Perfect pairings, especially since Puros Asia, the importer of these brands, is one of the founders of The Cabinet.

And now for the tea amour recipe:
1½ ounce or 45ml of White Rum
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.

Sun Kissed Captain

This cocktail comes straight from the Captain Morgan’s website. According to the website, Any swashbuckler can make this fruity rum drink; just remember it’s equal measures of every ingredient. It looks like a straight forward, very tropical drink and I happen to like those, a lot. I prefer these over the spirit forward cocktails, so I decided to give it a try. I slightly altered the measurements though, to make it easier for the American readers.

The nose is mild, there is only a slight orange aroma. The cocktail itself is tart. The flavours of the rum shine through with tartness from the orange juice and sweetness from the pineapple. This is a great summer cocktail. Not too tart to pair with a cigar, not to sweet either. The fruit juices make this a cocktail in the tiki category but it is not as sweet as most tiki-style cocktails. I would pair this with a stronger cigar, but not too strong. Maybe the Tatuaje Havana VI series for example.

And now for the Sun Kissed Captain recipe:
1½ ounce of 45ml of Captain Morgan’s white rum
1½ ounce of 45ml of Pineapple juice
1½ ounce of 45ml of Orange Juice, freshly squeezed
1½ ounce of 45ml of Soda water
Garnish: Pineapple wheel, orange wheel
Fill a tall glass (such as a hurricane, Collins or Tiki glass) with ice and pour in all the ingredients. Stir to combine and enjoy.

 Inspector X

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