Pairing Cigars & Alcohol – Oslo Gin

Pairing Cigars & Alcohol – Oslo Gin
Date: May 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 has 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 gin, rum, vodka and liquors, and bottle whisky. They were kind enough to sponsor Cigar Inspector with samples so we can write about pairings.

Oslo Gin

Norway is very restricted when it comes to alcohol, much like its Nordic neighbours Finland and Sweden. For example, drinking outside is illegal even on your own balcony. And any alcohol higher that 4.75% ABV can only be purchased at state-run shops (plus bars and restaurants). The tax on alcohol is high as well. So it is kind of ironic to find a gin that pays tribute to Oslo. Or, as the makers of the gin say “Oslo Gin is a tribute to the world’s smallest metropolis. A place where trams hammer through the cityscape and pigeons rush around in parks and squares. Oslo mixes peace and harmony with fishing boats gliding into the harbour every morning.”

The gin came highly recommended, so I decided to give it a try. The ABV is 45.8% and is made with  juniper, birch leaves, coriander, elderflower and angelica root. It won the golden award at the 2020 IWSC, the international wine & spirits competition.


The nose is clean, crisp and very juniper forward with pine. I have never been to Norway but I can imagine that these are aromas you will also find in the pine forests of Norway. Juniper and pine are also on the forefront of the flavour profile with a light hint of vanilla and a bit of sweetness. This is a pretty good gin. Not the best, but still a good one. I mean, it’s no Foragers Yellow but a good substitute and easier to find. The Oslo gin will go well with a stronger Connecticut Shade cigar, Perdomo Champagne for example or the Leaf by Oscar Connecticut Toro.

Gin & Tonic

There is a mild juniper aroma on the nose. The ice and the tonic mute a lot of the aroma. Citrus with the bitter of the tonic, juniper and other botanical shine through. I think the best way to describe this is ‘forest’, a bit mossy, earthy, woody but in a pleasant way. A medium bodied cigar would be nice. Nothing too fancy, too complicated as this cocktail isn’t complicated either. Maybe a budget friendly Condega, cigars with a great price quality comparison or a La Sagrada Familia. The Undercrown Shade Robusto from Drew Estate would be a great pairing too.

And now for the gin tonic recipe:
2 ounces of 60ml of 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.

Gin Fizz

The fizz is a school of cocktail that features a spirit alongside citrus, sugar and sparkling water. If that sounds like a sour, plus soda, that’s because it is. Both drinks often contain egg white, too. The first printed recipe for a Gin Fizz appeared in the 1876 edition of “The Bar-tenders Guide” by Jerry Thomas. It’s basically the frothy, bubbly, protein-packed cousin to the Tom Collins, which combines gin, lemon, sugar and soda.

As expected, this is a cocktail that has a lot of lemon on the nose. But surprisingly, the flavour of the lemon isn’t that strong. The club soda gives it a nice sparkling sensation, the egg white creates a creamy mouthfeel while the sugar syrup balances the lemon and the gin gives this cocktail body and a bit of juniper flavour. This is an amazing cocktail and even with the lemon it is very well to pair with a cigar. A medium bodied cigar, possibly with a Habano wrapper. Take a Flor de Las Antillas toro, take a Casa Magna Colorado, take a Montecristo wide Edmundo or a Romeo y Julieta Wide Churchill and you’re in for a treat.

And now for the gin fizz recipe:

2 ounces or 60ml of gin
1 ounce or 30ml of Lemon juice, freshly squeezed
¾ ounce or 22½ml of simple syrup
1 egg white
Club soda to top up
Add the gin, lemon juice, simple syrup and egg white to a shaker and vigorously dry-shake (without ice) for about 15 seconds. Add 3 or 4 ice cubes and shake vigorously until well-chilled. Double-strain into a chilled Collins glass and top with club soda.

Inspector X

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