Pairing Cigars & Alcohol – Ron El Rumbo Superior Cuban Coconut Rum

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 until Mombacho dissolved. 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. They were kind enough to sponsor Cigar Inspector with samples so we can write about pairings.

Ron El Rumbo Superior Cuban Coconut Rum

Ron “El Rumbo” is distilled in Cuba and the base is Cuban sugar cane from the sun-drenched sugar cane fields of Cuba. Add fresh coconuts from Madagascar and you know where its character comes from. The alcohol is distilled in one of the Islands oldest distilleries, before it’s being shipped to Wales. It gets further aging at the Snowdonia distillery. It is bottled at 37% ABV.

Neat

Of course I grab my trusted Glencairn to try this as I do with all spirits, I try for the first time. The nose is a bit odd, ethanol with coconut husks but there are also some sweet fruity aromas, vanilla and sugar cane. I admit, I was recovering from flu and my nose wasn’t working hundred percent. The rum is quite creamy and thick in mouthfeel, with a natural fresh coconut flavour. I was fearing this was a Malibu clone, but it is way better. Less sweet, not artificial. There is a nuttiness with a nice fresh coconut flesh flavour. The rum coats the palate and it’s actually good enough to drink on its own. Pair this with a nice creamy cigar and you’ll have a great pairing.

Mojito

The world’s best known white rum cocktail must be the mojito. It’s Cuba’s most iconic drink so it feels right to make this cocktail with the Cuban Welsh spirit just like I did with the El Rumbo Cuban White Rum. This is one of the cocktails mentioned on the website from Snowdonia, and it will be fun to see how the coconut changes the cocktail.

On the nose there is mint, which is not surprising. The aromas of the rum are completely covered by the mint. The coconut really shines through, but it does not work really well with the lime though. The lime and the coconut clash. The sugar does it’s best to balance it out but fails. The only kind of cigars I see this work with is something with deep earthy or vegetal notes. EPC Pledge Prequel, Montecristo #2 or cigars in that flavour wheel.

And now for the Mojito recipe:
2 tablespoons of sugar
10 mint leaves
1 lime cut into 3 wedges
1 ½ oz or 45 ml of white rum
Club Soda
Ice
Place mint leaves and 1 lime wedge into a sturdy glass. Use a muddler and crush to release mint oils and lime juice. Add remaining lime wedges and 2 tablespoons sugar, and muddle again to release the lime juice. Do not strain the mixture. Fill the glass almost to the top with ice. Pour in rum and fill the glass with club soda. Stir, taste, and add more sugar if desired.

Daiquiri

I cannot believe I never made a classic Daiquiri for this series of articles, as it is one of my favourite cocktails. On the other hand, it is very citrus forward which makes it harder to pair with a cigar so that might be the reason. Well, time for a classic Daiquiri.

The nose is a mixture of the rum and lime. Lime from the garnish and lime that is in the cocktail. Again and just like in the Mojito, the lime clashes with the lime although the clash is less strong than with the mojito. The cocktail is quite balanced but I would go for the exact same recommendations as with the El Rumba Coconut Mojito, a cigar with an earthy or vegetal flavour profile.

and now for the Daiquiri recipe:
2 ounces or 60 ml of light rum
1 ounce or 30ml or 2 oz of lime juice, freshly squeezed
¾ ounce of 22½ml of demerara syrup
Garnish: lime twist
Add all the ingredients in a cocktail shaker with ice. Shake until well chilled. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass and garnish with a lime twist.

Inspector X

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