Pairing Cigars & Alcohol – Malibu

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.

Malibu

When I was a late teen, and in my early twenties, my female friends were drinking either a cherry liqueur or Malibu, a coconut flavoured rum while we, the men, drank beer. I tried both back in the day, and was never a fan. I must admit that in the last 25 years, I steered away from ever drinking Malibu again. But for another article I needed coconut rum and this was the only option available at my local liquor shop. As part of a cocktail, it is tolerable and why not write about it then?

Malibu is a Caribbean rum, made in Barbados and it is owned by the French alcohol conglomerate Pernod Ricard since 2005. Even though it’s now made in Barbados, it’s not where the roots of the drink lay.

It all began in London 1978, when a leading spirits industry entrepreneur was introduced to a light, coconut-flavoured rum drink by a friend who had brought it back from a trip to South Africa. It was called Coco Rico and they were amazed by its rich flavours and unique taste. The potential was clear – it tasted like summer in a bottle and it needed to be brought to the wider world. Coco Rico soon became Malibu, and so the sunshine story began.

Neat

This is like smelling a bounty chocolate bar, coconut with demerara sugar and spices. There is no hint of rum or alcohol. The spirit tastes like a bounty bar too, but way sweeter. And I am thrown back in time several decades. I didn’t like the overly sweet drink then; I still don’t like the sweetness now but I bet it will work amazing in certain cocktails. Coconut, sugar, fruits and even a little pineapple flavour is what I taste. The mouthfeel is a but creamy and that remains so in the finish. This is not a liqueur`1568r to drink neat, but if you do, pair it with a mild to medium bodied cigar that can stand up to the sweetness.

Malibu Bay Breeze

Malibu bay breeze is a fruity tropical mixed drink. It is a very easy cocktail to make and it looks stunning so you can impress your guests at your next barbeque or summer party.

The nose is mild, with a faint pineapple aroma with a little bit of coconut. The ice mutes a lot of the aroma. The taste is also pineapple with coconut and a bit acidity of the cranberry. Summer in a glass. But since the alcohol content isn’t very high and the flavours are fresh but not rich or intense I would not pick a full bodied, full flavoured cigar. Something milder such as a Davidoff Classic, Ashton Classic, cigars in that wheelhouse.

And now for Malibu Bay Breeze recipe:

1 ½ oz or 45ml of Malibu
4 oz or 120ml Pineapple juice
1 tablespoon of cranberry juice
Ice
Fill a tall glass with ice. Then pour, in this order, the Malibu rum, pineapple juice, and cranberry juice in the glass over the ice.

Winter Sunshine Coconut Rum Cocktail

Rum, and rum cocktails, always have a summer feeling. And coconut is also a summer flavour. But you can make a nice winter cocktail with Malibu as well. This cocktail is a twist on the Piña Colada.

Due to the amount of ice, the nose is muted but what I smell is all coconut. Coconut from the garnish, coconut from the milk, coconut from the rum. The drink itself is too coconutty for me and I think it would improve a lot with some fresh nutmeg on top. Nutmeg is a good winter spice so it won’t take away from the theme. Pair this with a medium bodied cigar, medium flavoured. Something not too outspoken, as that will overpower this cocktail. The Rocky Patel Vintage 1999 Connecticut comes to mind, of a Hoyo de Monterrey Epicure #2.

And now for the Winter Sunshine Coconut Rum Cocktail recipe
1 cup of ice
1 ounce or 30ml of Malibu Coconut rum
2 ounces or 60ml of full fat Coconut Milk
1 ounce or 30ml of Orange Juice
Garnish: shaved coconut on the rim of the glass
Add the ingredients in a blender and blend until it has the consistency of a smoothie. Pour in a chilled cocktail glass with a shaved coconut rim.

Coconut Rum Punch

A great summer drink that you can prepare in advance, and in bulk so it’s ideal for parties. Make the mix and then add the grenadine after pouring each glass. The looks will impress your party guests as the grenadine drops to the bottom, creating a beautiful red and yellow coloured drink.

The nose is a mixture of pineapple juice and orange juice. The ginger and the coconut rum are completely overpowered. The flavours are present though, the first sip is pineapple with coconut, the sweetness of the grenadine gives some extra fruity sweetness. The citrus of the orange, sweet and slightly tangy, binds all together while the ginger ale brings some spice and some refreshment. This cocktail screams tropical and is not overly sweet as I suspected it would be after reading the recipe. I’m thinking that a medium bodied cigar with a Habano wrapper would be nice with this. My Father Fonseca Belicoso for example, or the Principle Accomplice. Most Cuban cigars will go well with this cocktail too.

And now for the Coconut Rum Punch recipe:
1 ounce or 30ml of Malibu
2 ounces or 60ml of Pineapple juice
2 ounces or 60ml of Orange juice

2 ounces or 60ml of Ginger Ale
1 ounce or 30ml of Grenadine
Mix Coconut Rum, orange juice, pineapple juice and ginger ale together in a mixing glass. Pour over ice and add grenadine, which will sink to the bottom for a beautiful ombre hue. Serve with orange and lemon slices and maraschino cherries for garnish

Inspector X

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