Pairing Cigars & Alcohol – Don Julio 1942

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. When Mombacho was still around, they the Diplomatico series until Mombacho dissolved. 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.

Don Julio 1942

The legend begins in 1942, when a young Don Julio González sees a once in a lifetime opportunity in tequila production. He didn’t own much, but what he did possess was a dream and the singular devotion needed to bring it to life. After sharing his vision with a local businessman, he’s granted a loan to start his first tequila distillery, La Primavera, in the Jaliscan Highlands.

For the next forty years, Don Julio González would devote his life to making the world’s finest tequila. Each day he’d wake up early to walk along the agave fields, cutting the grass around each individual plant to protect it. With a coa in hand, he’d carve flavour from every piña, expertly balancing the bitter and sweet leaves of each agave. And when it came time to harvest, he’d harvest each plant one by one, picking only the agaves at optimum maturity and health. Don Julio didn’t think of his agave as a crop, he considered them his children. And through his extraordinary devotion to making exceptional tequila, his legend lives on today.

Sitting 6500 feet above sea level, the highlands of Jalisco is where it all began. It’s in this extreme climate, surrounded by rich volcanic soil, where the legendary distillery of La Primavera was founded and Don Julio Tequila was born.

The Jaliscan Highland’s warm days, cool nights, and rich clay soil create the perfect microclimate for the cultivation of blue agave. However, its high altitudes make it difficult and physically demanding to farm and harvest crops. Don Julio González knew this but stayed in the highlands, and endured the extreme conditions so he could create the world’s finest tequila. His devotion to his craft truly knew no limits. The result? A tequila with exceptional substance and indisputable spirit.

The Don Julio 1942 is the finest offering from the brand, and it commemorates the year that the brand started. The tequila comes from the best Agave plants and has been aged for 2 ½ years. I got this bottle for my birthday recently. One of my friends showed up and said “there isn’t any cigar that I can give you that you haven’t smoked yet. I have seen your impressive collection of whiskies and rums, but I noticed you don’t have any tequila”. He noticed well, but there is a reason I don’t have tequila. Tequila is my nemesis, the worst hangovers I had in my years on this planet came from Tequila induced nights, which I have no recollection of. Tequila scares me. But I do treasure the fact that my friend went out of his way to get me something special and that it is a gift where he put a lot of thought in. That to me is worth more than the gift itself.

Neat

The nose makes it clear; this is tequila. But quite sweet with herbs, chocolate, caramel and hard wood. The tequila is smoother than any tequila I ever had, this is actually okay for sipping with a cocoa and vanilla flavour over an earthy and grassy base with toasted wood. The vanilla and chocolate, slightly creamy aftertaste make me think of a nice milkshake with both flavours. The alcohol gives a little heat and a little bite. The finish doesn’t last as long as I hoped it would. Pair this with a creamy medium bodied cigar and you’ll have a pleasant pairing. The Honduran El Rey del Mundo, or the Cuban El Rey del Mundo would be good choices.

Brave Bull

The Brave Bull is the tequila version of a Black Russian and if you enjoy that simple drink, you will find this one to be just as enjoyable. The drink is, quite simply, tequila and coffee liqueur and a fantastic sipper for happy hour or dessert. The combination of tequila and coffee liqueur is a great one as the two flavours are natural companions.

The nose still carries the agave notes, with the chocolate and oak, but now with a nice coffee aroma from the Marsette Coffee Liqueur from the Snowdonia distillery in Wales. The coffee is clearly pairing well with the coffee, caramel and herbal notes of the tequila. The vanilla and chocolate aftertaste of the tequila is still there, with a hint of coffee. It is all well balanced and very pleasant. This will go well with a medium bodied cigar, with a woody flavour palate.

And now for the Brave Bull recipe:
2 ounces of 60ml of Tequila
1 ounce or 30ml of Coffee liqueur
Pour the liquids in a rocks glass with a big ice cube, swirl to mix the drink lightly.

El Pepino

This El pepino recipe puts a fun spin on the traditional margarita. “Pepino” is Spanish for cucumber, and that is definitely the star ingredient here! This cocktail was created by Las Vegas mixologist Gaston Martinez, the recipe pours reposado tequila into a margarita while I use the Don Julio 1942. Then adds cucumber, cilantro, and egg white to give it a cool, earthy flavour topped with a luscious foam.
The agave, herbs and wood aromas from the tequila are still strong, but now with some citrus from the lime juice and a freshness from the cucumber. The tequila plays very well with the lime, syrup and triple sec, creating a well-balanced cocktail with the tequila notes upfront, then a hint of citrus with the freshness of the herbs and cucumber in the finish. It’s not overly strong in flavour and will go very well with a cigar with a spicy Cameroon wrapper such as the Arturo Fuente Hemingway series or a nice corojo wrapper like featured on many Viaje cigars.

and now for the El Pepino recipe:
¾ ounce or 22½ml simple syrup
1½ ounce or 45ml of Tequila
¾ ounce or 22½ml of Triple Sec
1 ounce or 30ml of lime juice
4 slices of cucumber
6 Cilantro leaves
1 egg white
In a cocktail shaker, add 3 cucumber slices, cilantro, and simple syrup. Muddle well. Add the tequila, triple sec, lime juice, and egg white. Shake vigorously for at least 30 seconds. Then add ice and shake until the cocktail is chilled. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass and garnish with the last cucumber slice.

Inspector X

Leave a Reply