Pairing Cigars & Alcohol – Jose Cuervo

Pairing Cigars & Alcohol – Jose Cuervo
Date: June 2023
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.

Jose Cuervo

Jose Cuervo is the best-selling brand of tequila, selling a fifth of the tequila consumed worldwide, and a third of all tequila sold in the United States. And also quite unique is the fact that the brand is still family owned and not part of a big conglomerate such as Diageo (who tried to buy the brand but failed) or Pernod Ricard.

In 1758, Don José Antonio de Cuervo was issued a land grant by King Ferdinand VI of Spain in the town of Tequila, Jalisco. Here his family founded the Taberna de Cuervo, the farm where they would cultivate and harvest the flowering blue agave plant, a water-retaining plant found in central Mexico that is distilled to create tequila. The first Vino Mezcal de Tequila de Jose Cuervo was made in 1795,[6]after Don José Antonio de Cuervo’s son José María Guadalupe de Cuervo was granted a permit from King Carlos IV of Spain to produce tequila commercially, following a time of prohibition under King Carlos III. This was the birth of the tequila industry.
By 1880, the Cuervo family had begun individually bottling tequila for commercial distribution. Cuervo was the first distiller to bottle tequila, at a time when other distillers were still using barrels. Tequila was known as “mezcal de tequila” until 1893, when tequila makers and the Mexican government dropped “mezcal” from the name. Cuervo’s first bottled tequila was sold in 1906.
The Jose Cuervo Silver is made with blue agave and has an abv of 38%. The website of Cuervo claims that this tequila is the epitome of smooth, balanced with tones of agave, caramel and fresh herbs in the flavour profile.

Neat

I must admit, I am scared. My last experience with tequila was at InterTabac many years ago. Up until I think 2017, the Mexican cigar producers hosted a Mexican Party at InterTabac. These parties were legendary with free flow tequila. For me it led to the mother of all hangovers and fear for tequila. I have not had tequila since, only in a very limited number of cocktails, but never neat and never as the main spirit in cocktails.

I poured a little bit in Glencairn glass. The nose gives the heritage away immediately, that recognizable agave aroma that puts the fear of hell in everybody who ever had a bad experience with tequila. Besides the agave, there is also some caramel sweetness, pepper, and herbs. There agave is also present in the flavour, with some wood and spice such as black pepper. But it’s surprisingly smooth. Maybe I’ve been too scared all these years. The hint of sweetness in the finish makes this enjoyable. Pair this with a medium bodied Habano wrapped cigar and you have a good pairing. Yet I still suggest making a cocktail with tequila.

Peach & Sage Smash

I think I saw the recipe on the YouTube channel of Anders Erickson but I can’t recall. But I do know that the recipe intrigued me because of the combination of sage and peach. I happen to grow herbs at home, and I had sage. After a run to the supermarket, I had some peaches too. Making this cocktail is quite some work with all the muddling, and pouring this cocktail is a drag due to all the pulp. Before I took one sip, I knew it had to be extremely spectacular for me to make this cocktail again.

The nose has the sweetness of peach with agave. The cocktail is not spectacular, so I won’t make it ever again. The lemon and the sourness of the peach are too strong, the sweetness of the peach and the agave are not enough to balance it out. The sage isn’t much more than an herbal flavour all the way in the back of the drink, together with the agave. The peach flavour is nice though. I can only think of the usual strong, earthy suspects to pair with this cocktail. Pledge Prequel, Montecristo #2 or the Nicaraguan Montecristo Aniversário 1935.

And now for the Peach and Sage Smash recipe:
½ lemon
1 ripe peach, chopped to pieces
½ ounce or 15ml of light agave nectar
10 sage leaves
2 oz or 60 ml of tequila
Put the chopped lemon and peach in a cocktail shaker. Add the agave nectar and muddle. Add 10 sage leaves and the tequila. Add ice and shake. Strain into a rocks glass over a big ice cube

Long Island Ice Tea

I made this cocktail before for cigarinspector.com but with a different gin, different rum, different vodka and different tequila. So, let’s make it again. Unfortunately, I’m out of the Y Bet Premium Welsh Vodka but I have the Y Bet Rose Vodka that I’m using now. The El Rumba Cuban rum will be replaced with Captain Morgan White, the Foragers Black Label Gin is being replaced with Beefeater and the tequila is Jose Cuervo Silver Tequila this time. With the amount of alcohol in this cocktail, two or three will get you very drunk.

The nose is lemony because of the garnish. I added some ice and that mutes the other aromas. The vanilla, caramel and carbonation of the coca cola are mixes well with the lemon juice. All the alcohol makes it confusing; do I taste the gin or is it the vodka, the bite, is that the tequila or the white rum? The only thing that’s not confusing is the mild orange flavour, that comes from the triple sec. This is a cocktail I like a lot. Complex, balanced, sweet and tart, and it goes great with a medium bodied cigar. Flor de Las Antillas, Cimmaron Connecticut, Arturo Fuente Hemingway, Tatuaje Tattoo, Epic Habano, you can go so many ways with this cocktail, pick what you like.

And now for the Long Island Ice Tea recipe:
3/4 ounce or 22½ml of Y Bét Rose Vodka
3/4 ounce or 22½ml of White Rum
3/4 ounce or 22½ml of silver tequila
3/4 ounce or 22½ml of Gin
3/4 ounce or 22½ml of triple sec
3/4 ounce or 22½ml of simple syrup
3/4 ounce or 22½ml of lemon juice, freshly squeezed
Cola, to top
Garnish: lemon wedge
Add the vodka, rum, tequila, gin, triple sec, simple syrup and lemon juice to a Collins glass filled with ice. Top with a splash of the cola and stir briefly. Garnish with a lemon wedge. Serve with a straw.

Tequila Sunrise

The Tequila Sunrise was created in the early 1970s by Bobby Lozoff and Billy Rice at the Trident bar in Sausalito, California. The cocktail achieved notoriety after a member of the Rolling Stones—in some tellings it was Mick Jagger, while others have it as Keith Richards—tasted it at a party to kick off The Rolling Stones’ 1972 tour. The band began ordering it at stops across the country and even dubbed the tour “the cocaine and Tequila Sunrise tour,” which helped to propel the drink’s popularity.
In 1973, Jose Cuervo put the recipe on the back of its tequila bottles, and that same year, the Eagles released a song called “Tequila Sunrise” on their “Desperado” album. These infusions into popular culture resulted in the drink going mainstream, and it has been a part of the cocktail canon ever since. And since Jose Cuervo helped to make this cocktail so famous, it’s only fair to make a Tequila Sunrise with this spirit.

The nose is muted due to the ice so there is only a little bit of orange smell. The agave and sweetness of the tequila mixes well with the orange juice and this is a nice, simple tropical drink. Plus is looks cool with the colour differences. The balance is good, the flavours work together. I paired this with a strong Kristoff Vengeance Toro, and that was a bliss. A stronger cigar, with some sweetness or earthy notes would be the best bet in my humble opinion. The further you get in the cocktail, the sweeter it becomes because of the grenadine, but my recommendation for a cigar doesn’t change.

And now for the Long Island Ice Tea recipe:
2 ounces or 60ml of Tequila
ounces or 120ml of Orange Juice, freshly squeezed
¼ ounce or 7½ml of Grenadine
Garnish: cherry and orange wheel
Add the tequila and then the orange juice to a chilled highball glass filled with ice. Top with the grenadine, which will sink to the bottom of the glass, creating a layered effect. Garnish with an orange slice and a cherry.

Inspector X

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