Pairing Cigars & Alcohol – Disaronno

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.

Disaronno Originale

Most of the drinks I pair with cigars for cigarinspector.com are the more manly drinks such as rum, whisky and gin. Not that there aren’t plenty of ladies enjoying these drinks, but still, these are considered more manly drinks. Only very occasionally I pair a liqueur with a cigar, but today I do. I am dipping into the stash of Amaretto from my wife. Since I introduced her to this Italian liqueur, she loves it. And before she empties the last bottle we have; I am confiscating the bottle for some cocktails. Not that she minds, as she’s the Guinea pig to all the cocktails I make anyway.

Amaretto is an Italian liqueur with an almond taste although there aren’t any almonds in there. The almond flavour comes from apricot kernels, burnt sugar, the essence of seventeen herbs and spices and absolute alcohol. According to the legend, a young widowed innkeeper gave the artist Bernardino Luini a bottle of brandy with apricot kernels in it as a thank you for using her as a model for a painting, and Amaretto was born. The ABV is 28%.

Neat

 

In a Glencairn glass this smells strong and pleasant. Full fledge marzipan, a sweet almond paste and a certain type of almond cookies I liked when I was younger. Ironic as I know it does not contain any almonds at all. There is also sweetness from dried fruits in the nose. The almond flavour is strong, sweet and balanced. There is a hint of white pepper, sweet and fruity with that strong almond flavour that leaves a pleasant bitterness which binds it all together. This is very pleasant to drink, but maybe a little too sweet to pair with a cigar. Unless it’s something earthy or peppery to balance out the sweetness.

 

Godfather

This is bourbon with a hint of almond on the nose. But with this recipe that’s not a real surprise. The almond flavour and dried fruits are surprisingly strong in this cocktail, stronger than expected. I was expecting a straight forward, almost neat, glass of bourbon. The Jack Daniels does have a bit of a bite, but it is being smoothed out by the amaretto. Any medium to full bodied cigar would pair well as this is a pretty all round cocktail to pair cigars with.

 

And now for the godfather recipe:

2 ounces or 60ml of Bourbon or blended scotch (I used Jack Daniels)

¼ ounce or 7½ml of Disaronne Originale
Fill a mixing glass with a lot of ice. Add the liquids and stir until well-chilled. Strain into a highball over fresh ice.

Toasted Almond Cocktail

On the nose this is very close to a glass of amaretto neat, but a little more muted with a hint of a latte. This looks like a very creamy cocktail. The mouthfeel is thick, creamy and rich. Almonds, coffee, cream, chocolate all with the perfect amount of sweetness. This would be a perfect after dinner cocktail, and cigars are also a great after dinner treat. The almond and cream are meant to go together like Romeo and Juliet, but without the suicide at the end.

 

And now for the Toasted Almond Cocktail recipe:
1½ ounce or 45ml of Disaronno Originale
1½ ounce or 45ml of Marsette Monsoon coffee liqueur
2 ounces or 60ml of cream or milk (I used half thickened cream, half whipping cream)
Fill a cocktail shaker with ice and add the liquids. Shake well to make sure the cream emulsifies. Strain into a highball over fresh ice.

 

French Connection

There isn’t a lot happening on the nose, except a bit of almond. With all these cocktails I notice that the almond is the main aroma. Sweet and herbal, nutty due to the almond flavour. Complex and interesting. Not too strong although this is a spirit only cocktail. The mouthfeel is thick and creamy even though there is not a single drop of cream. This is very nice and I would have never expected that these two spirits would work together so well. A sweet cigar would be a bad pairing, but a medium bodied cigar with plenty of pepper could work. Something like a Don Pepin Garcia Black. A El Gueguense by Foundation would work as well, or a La Furia from DH Boutique Cigars.

And now for the French Connection recipe:

1 ounce or 30ml of Disaronno Originale

1½ ounce or 45ml of cognac
Fill a highball with ice and add the booze. Stir briefly to combine.

Godmother

What would a godfather be without a godmother? Behind every strong man there is a strong woman. And judging from the recipe, this is going to a strong woman, a woman you don’t want to fight with as she will kick your ass. The nose is almonds and ethanol, sweet and strong. Almond with a bite, slightly bitter but also sweet at the same time, exactly like most grandmothers. And somehow, I think of grandmothers when I hear godmother. I’m not the biggest vodka fan but in this cocktail it’s nice. It is a strong cocktail though, don’t let the sweetness and the almond fool you. And it needs a strong earthy or peppery cigar to stand up to it. Something not sweet, no maduro for sure. Cameroon or Habano, and I am thinking about one of my favourite cigars: Oliva Serie V Torpedo.

And now for the Godmother recipe:

1½ ounce or 45ml of Ybet premium Welsh vodka
½ ounce or15ml of Disaronno Originale
Fill a highball glass with ice and pour the drinks in. Stir well.

Inspector X

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