Pairing Cigars & Alcohol – Four Pillars Olive Leaf

Pairing Cigars & Alcohol – Four Pillars Olive Leaf
Date: May 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 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.

Four Pillars Olive Leaf

In 2013 three Australian friends bought a copper still and started Four Pillars as a small batch distillery. The gin was popular that within a few years six more still were added and in 2019 and 2020 Four Pillars was named the world’s leading gin producer by the IWSC in London. The distillery offers a wide variety of gins, from zero alcohol versions to Yuzu flavoured, gin with cumquat, shiraz grapes, bergamot and many more exotic ingredients. I chose the Olive Leaf, which contains olive leaf tea and three different olive oils. Add some Mediterranean herbs and spices such as bay leaf and rosemary and this should transport you to the Mediterranean with every sip. The Four Pillars website claims that this gin is perfect for a Gin Tonic, let’s see about that. The ABV is 43.8%

Neat

On the nose this is a very pleasant gin. A very crisp aroma, from a very clear drink. There is some mango in the aroma, rosemary, pines, bay leaf but also spicier notes such as barbecue and ocean breeze. Lampe Berger could bottle this aroma for their oil burners and I might get a bottle then. My wife says its exactly as Davidoff cool water. The flavour of the drink is spicy, crisp, with plenty of white pepper, Mediterranean herbs. There is a light brightness of lemon and grapefruit but mostly this is a savoury gin with the Mediterranean herbs, lavender and the richness of olive oil. A medium to full bodied cigar would be a nice pairing. Since the gin is savoury but smooth, a nicely aged Maduro with some typical maduro sweetness would be nice. Something with a Brazilian wrapper, known for its sweetness, could work as well.

Gin & Tonic

On the nose there is something herbal, bay leaves and rosemary with some olive. But the ice and tonic mute much of the aroma as is always the case in a gin tonic, especially in a Collins glass. The grapefruit citrus flavour is noticeable, maybe even clearer than in the neat version. There is sweetness too, mild but it’s there with vegetal flavours of olive, Mediterranean herbs and spices. It’s still a savoury gin, but the tonic does take away a lot of the flavour. It makes it easier to drink, but on the other hand it does make the gin lose some character. Because of the lost character, almost any cigar would be nice to smoke with this cocktail.

And now for the gin tonic recipe:
2 ounces of 60ml of Four Pillars Olive Leave  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.

Ginger Rogers

Named after the famous actress and dancer Ginger Rogers, who was Fred Astaire’s dance partner in nine musical movies in the 1930s. But why this cocktail is named after her, I don’t know and I could not find any explanation online either. It must have something to do with the addition of ginger syrup and ginger ale and not because she loved this cocktail that they named it after her, unlike the Churchill size that was named after Winston Churchill. On the nose there isn’t much due to the ice, but there is some ginger and mint in the aroma. The ginger is very strong, as expected, and gives this drink character. Sweetness and spice, in combination with the vegetal flavours of the Four Pillars gin and freshness from the mind. Ginger is definitely the main player in this cocktail and it will go well with a nice earthy cigar. The EPC La Historia, Ashton VSG, La Flor Dominicana Oro Chisel, that kind of work.

And now for the Ginger Rogers recipe:
2 ounces or 60ml of Four Pillars Olive Leaf gin
1 ounce or 30ml of lemon juice, freshly squeezed
¾ ounce or 22½ml of Ginger Syrup
2 ounces or 60ml of Ginger Ale
8 to10 mint leaves
garnish: Mint Sprig
Add the mint leaves and ginger syrup in a Collins glass and gently muddle. Add the gin, lemon juice and ice. Top with ginger ale and stir to combine. Garnish with a mint sprig.

I also read a recipe with gin, vermouth, apricot brandy and lemon juice that was called Ginger Rogers on graftginclub.co.uk but the majority of the recipes I found were like the one I made as well

Inspector X

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