Pairing Cigars & Alcohol – Gordon’s London Dry

Pairing Cigars & Alcohol – Gordon’s London Dry
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.

Gordon’s London Dry

The best-selling London Dry Gin in the world, that’s Gordon’s London Dry. It’s easy to be snobbish and say that it is so mainstream that you don’t want to drink it as there are so many small craft gins available, but it would not be fair to ignore this gin. Now honestly, this is my first time tasting the Gordon’s London Dry as I was never much of a gin drinker until about two years ago. Plus I’m in the luxury position to have a few gin connoisseurs in my cigar crew that help me with my gin purchases. In return, I introduced them to Foragers Gin, which is my favourite gin so far. But anyway, back to Gordon’s London Dry, they won’t be so popular for so long without a reason, right?

I have the international version, with an ABV of 37½%, not the version for the American market with a slightly higher alcohol percentage. The Gordon brand was founded in 1769 in London and soon the gin was very popular with the British Navy. The distillery remained family-owned until 1899, when Charles Gordon passed away. Before his death, Gordon merged with Tanqueray to form Tanqueray Gordon & Co. Nowadays Gordon’s is owned by Diageo, one of the world’s largest spirit companies.

Neat

This spirit has a lemon zest nose with juniper and some ethanol. Not a lot of ethanol compared to some other gins, but that’s because the ABV is slightly lower than most others that I tried so far. The drink itself does have a bit of a bite, with plenty of juniper that shines through some citrus like lemon and orange. The citrus aroma is stronger than the flavour, which for pairing reasons is good as citrus is a hard flavour to pair with. Since this isn’t the most outspoken gin there is, most to all medium bodied cigars or stronger will go well, but even a flavourful mild to medium Connecticut Shade cigar can stand up to the Gordon’s London Dry Gin. A friendly gin, without much depth, without much character but therefore easy to pair.

Gin & Tonic

There is a mild citrus aroma to this cocktail, with a hint of juniper. The taste is very refreshing and the citrus shines way more than in the neat version of this gin. This is a summer drink for sure and the addition of the tonic does change a lot. There is a slight bitter aftertaste that will go very well with a woody cigar The botanicals in the gin play a part on the background, but it’s the citrus that takes centre stage without becoming too strong to negatively affect pairing with cigars.

And now for the gin tonic recipe:
2 ounces of 60ml of Gordon’s London Dry 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.

Fog Cutter

I found this recipe while browsing for gin cocktails, but gin only plays a minor part in the recipe. Still, I want to try it. And the recipe has me slightly confused as well. So many ingredients that shouldn’t work together. Due to the crushed ice there is not a lot of aroma. The cocktail is tard and bitter, very confusing and immediately it’s clear that the gin is way overpowered by the rum and the lemon juice. The mild bitterness comes from the orange juice. There is a little bit of the cognac noticeable as well. The almonds from the orgeat is completely lost, just like the juniper and botanicals from the gin. This is an odd cocktail and I knew that when I found the recipe. But where I hoped that the odd recipe would blow my mind, it doesn’t. The lemon forward flavour makes this hard to pair with a cigar. As said before, maybe an earthy and strong cigar can cut through the citrus but anything less I would not recommend. And to be honest, I rather go for a cigar instead of ever making this cocktail ever again.

And now for the Fog Cutter recipe:
1 ½ ounce or 45ml of El Rumba white rum
½ ounce or 15ml of Gordon’s London Dry gin
2 ounces or 60ml of lemon juice, freshly squeezed
1 ounce or 30ml of orange juice, freshly squeezed
1 ounce or 30ml of Cognac
½ ounce or 15ml of Orgeat
½ ounce or 15ml of sherry
Garnish: mint sprig
Add all the ingredients minus the sherry in a shaker with ice and shake well. Strain into a chilled Collins glass with crushed ice. Float the sherry on top and garnish with a mint sprig.

Inspector X

Leave a Reply